After the end of the “Indian Wars” in the early 20th century, the United States government adopted policies of assimilation for Native American tribes. In order to make Native Americans assimilate, the government outlawed the practice of traditional Native American religious ceremonies, established boarding schools that Native American children were required to attend, and encouraged the adoption of Western ways of life. In these boarding schools, children were forced to speak English, study standard subjects, attend church, and leave tribal traditions behind. The goal of the U.S. government was to require Native Americans to adopt the cultural values and practices of the European settlers.
For this discussion, please watch the short video, Native Americans: Conflict, Conquest, and Assimilation During the Gilded Age ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Skunie9Nxo ) You may also want to review the Indian Country Diaries ( http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/assimilation.html ) website to assist you in this discussion.
Based on your review of these resources, please address the following points:
- In what ways were Native Americans forced to assimilate?
- What was the purpose of this forced assimilation? Who did it benefit? How did it benefit this group?
- Describe what you think it would have looked like if Native Americans were allowed to pursue cultural pluralism, rather than forced to assimilate. Use the textbook and other resources to support your arguments.