Essay, 2001, 4 Pages
Eberhard - Karls - Universität Tübingen Department of American Studies PS III Landeskunde - American Native Cultural Studies Summer term 2001
FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE(D) TO NATIVE AMERICAN PERSISTENCE, RESISTANCE AND ADAPTATION TO AMERICAN MAINSTREAM CULTURE
Ever since the first Europeans arrived in the “New World” Native Americans have been the victims of ethnocide and genocide. Liberal assimilationists, such as Richard Henry Pratt, wanted to assimilate the Native Americans into American mainstream culture, whereas more radical Europeans wanted to not only destroy the Native American culture but to also eliminate the Native American peoples altogether. Luckily, the latter aim has never been fulfilled due to Native American resistance, which enabled them to persist up to the present day. However, in certain areas of life Native Americans have, to a certain degree, adapted to mainstream society. The relationship of resistance and adaptation is one of great complexity, and it is almost impossible to clearly define where resistance ends and adaptation begins. In some cases adaptation itself can be a form of resistance. As a consequence of this strained relationship, the question suggests itself why such a heterogeneous group as the Native Americans has been able to persist as one nation and at the same time preserve various tribal identities. Resistance, “the act of striving to fend off or offset the actions, effects or force of [someone]” 1 , has actually been promoted to a great extent by the government of the
United States itself. Pratt´s boarding schools and later urbanization laid the foundation of a notion of Pan-Indianism in “Indian Country”. Forced to live together in boarding schools or urban areas, Native Americans of various tribes came to a mutual understanding and joined forces against their oppressors. Also, the education Native Americans received, unlike even most Europeans at that time,
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