Native Americans

How were they affected in the Westward Expansion? 1807-1912

Assimilation

Assimilation is the process of one group of people being "absorbed" into another ones culture. The goal of this assimilation process was to have all Native Americans live and behave exactly like the white Americans. Some actions they took in order for the assimilation process to be successful was, sending Native American children to boarding school, killing their bison (buffalo) which was a main source of life for them, and creating missionaries to introduce Christianity to them.

Wounded Knee Massacre

The members of the Sioux Tribe felt that their culture had been destroyed. They thought that they were too dependent on the U.S. government to give them what they needed to survive. The tribe was unable to support themselves by hunting buffalo. They thought though that the Ghost Dance could give them hope. They believed that if they followed the Ghost Dance rituals that their culture and power would come back and the white people would leave. The U.S. troops actually began to feel threatened by the large gatherings of the tribes men and their families. Because of this the U.S. troops ended up firing on a group of the Sioux while they were gathering for the Ghost Dance, killing dozens of men, women and children.

Involvement

Dawes Act

The goal of the Dawes Act was very similar to the goal of assimilation, to get Native Americans to live like the white Americans. The reservations they lived on were broken up into allotments that they gave out to each individual family. Families that were given an allotment were expected to farm and build homes on their allotments to support themselves. Any land left over that was not given out to a family automatically was sold by the U.S. government to white farmers. This act failed for many different reasons, some of the land that the Native Americans were given was not suitable for farming and ranching. Another reason was many Native Americans refused to change their way of life. And also some would sell their land to white settlers and others were angry that their land was being given away.
Westward Expansion Rap