For decades, the United States practiced policies of removal to gain valuable land for itself. The policies of removal, assimilation, and concentration caused the deaths of thousands of Natives. The song Indian Reservation by Paul Revere and the Midnight Raiders is a reminder of the Trail of Tears, which killed a of the Indians that marched. The government removed the Indians from Georgia to benefit the plantation owners in the south, at the expense of the Native people in the area. Even the Supreme Court of the United States agreed that removal of the Indians from that land would be illegal, but President Jackson went ahead and did it anyways.
The Indians marched over a thousand miles until they were west of the Mississippi River. It also gives a general overview of how the whites put the Indians on reservations and tried to assimilate them. “The beads we made by hand are nowadays made in Japan,” shows how the whites took over the Indian’s culture and commercialized it. Another situation in which the government practiced assimilation and concentration was with Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce.
Joseph’s tribes were cooperative and sold their land to the whites as long as they got to live in their valley, but eventually the whites wanted all their land. The Indians fled and tried to make it to Canada, but 30 miles from the border they were caught and rounded up. They were sent to live on reservations, and most died of white diseases or starvation. By the year 1890, all Indians were on reservations. The Blackhawk war, which happened over land disputes in Wisconsin and Illinois, also led to the death and relocation of numerous Indians. This disrespect towards the Indians was typical of the time period.
The US used its military superiority to benefit itself economically in regard to the Indian situation. The Sioux war was fought over gold that the U. S. government found in the mountains occupied by the Sioux Indians, and it ended with the Indians being forced to live on reservations. In 1861, settlers wanted land that Indians occupied, so that led them to move them to the Sand Creek reservation.
The local whites in the area ended up massacring 400 Indians that were under protective custody. Apparently even the Indians that were supposed to be protected by treaties were not safe from the wrath of the U. S. government. The Song “One Tin Soldier” by Coven describes the discovery of gold in the Black Hills and shows just how far the United States would go to gain wealth at the expense of the Indians.
The Natives wanted to live in peace, but the whites wanted the treasure that was buried there. “Now the valley cried in anger, mount your horses, draw your sword. And they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward. ” This describes the situation that was faced when the whites found a valuable resource on Indian territory. The whites usually bought out the Indians and when they couldn’t they killed them and got what they wanted.
Among the most famous of the men who massacred Indians for the benefit of the whites was General Custer. He had no problem with massacring women and children to help the government gain money. However, the whites were not always successful in pushing the Indians around. In the Battle of Little Bighorn, General Custer was defeated and killed.
Billy Don’t be a Hero tells of that battle, and tries to shed a positive light on the white conduct towards Indians, but it does not do much to sway opinions. President Rutherford himself had said that most of the .