Go West Reading Project

Native Americans

What does it mean to be an American as a Native American During Westward Expansion?

What it meant for Native Americans to be Americans during Westward Expansion was neglected rights and abuse to them, their families, and their land. These Natives who lived in the United States during the Westward Expansion time were treated as animals who had little to no worth. When Explorers and Pioneers were invading Native land, they thought as if these people had no worth and they should be killed. According to Sarah Winnemucca, the granddaughter of the of the chief of the Piute Indians, "Our mothers told us that the whites were killing everybody... This whole band of white people perished in the mountains, for it was too late to cross them. We could have saved them, only my people were afraid of them." Ho for California The Natives felt guilty for letting these people die even though they had been killing the Natives. This suggests that the Natives still felt for these people dying even though they were the ones killing the Natives.
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Westward Expansion was not easy on the Native Americans who lived in the places where people were moving in. For the benefit of the Explorers and Pioneers, Natives were either relocated to a completely different state and land or they were killed off. The Natives who were relocated however, many died moving the different lands, this is known as The Trail of Tears, one of the biggest parts of the Indian Removal Act enforced by President Andrew Jackson. Pioneers and Explorers didn't think that these Natives had much worth. They believed that they were savage people who would only harm them and prevent progress on their journey.


"He said white men called the Indians savages because it made it easier to hate them, and hating them made it easier to drive them off or kill them and take their land. He said that as long as folks thought of the Shawnees as savages, they didn't have to think of them as people." (41-42) Weasel

Trail Of Tears Short Documentary

The Trail of tears

During the Westward Expansion time, Native Americans were treated like they weren't people. They were made out to be savages and were neglected of their rights to be people. The Explorers and Pioneers invaded their land and forced them to move. One big part of the Indian Removal Act, which was enforced by President Andrew Jackson, was the Trail of Tears. This was a time where Natives were forced off of their land, their rights completely forgotten. Over one-fourth of the 16,000 Natives who were moved, died along the way to an Indian Reserve in Oklahoma.
Trail of Tears Documentary

works Cited:

Davidson, James West and Michael B. Stoff. America History of Our Nation. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. Print.


DeFelice, Cynthia. Weasel. New York: Avon Books, Inc., 1990. Print


“Lewis and Clark Journal Entries.” Brain Waves Instruction. 2014. Web. <www.brainwavesinstruction.blogspot.com>


Murphy, Dallas. Read Aloud Plays Pioneers. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1998. Print.


“On the Plains in 1844.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2013. Web. <www.gilderlehrman.org>


“Rural America: The Westward Movement.” The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 2013. Web. <www.gilderlehrman.org>


Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York: The New Press, 2003. Print.


Werner, Emmy E. Pioneer Children on the Journey West. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1995. Print.