American Indian Assimilation Essay - Essay Prowess

American Indian Assimilation Essay



The topic is American Indian Assimilation.
The details are as follows:-
 1. Create an argument through the use of historical evidence.
 2. Analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources.
 3. Analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on this period of United States history.  
  Minimum Requirements for the Paper
 1. Minimum of approximately 1,500 words. (I will be checking.) You will lose ten points for every 100 words below the minimum limit.
 2. Your work needs to be cited in Chicago format with footnotes. There will be no excuse for not having proper citations. There are plenty of materials on my website and the internet on how to do this. No Citations = No Grade
3. Your paper must contain at least three primary and four secondary sources. The secondary sources must come from academic journals.
 4. Using Direct Quotes – You are limited to two direct quotes. Five points will be deducted for each direct quote in excess of two.   

American Indian Assimilation

The assimilation of ethnic and racial minority groups into American society took several decades. When the European colonialists got to the shores of America, they opted for limited contact with the indigenous residents of the land. By 1700, the population of the colonialists grew and they realized that there was a need to form a mutual relationship with the natives (Questia. 2020).The whites traded with Indians and encouraged the latter to join them in fighting England and European nations. Nevertheless, the United States government had stabilized in the 1930s, and there were new demands for the residents. Moreover, the growing population required more land for settlement. Consequently, the government had all the reasons to clear the other tribes from their land. Accordingly, the public administration formulated the Indian Removal Act which led to the conveyance of the people from the Eastern tribes to the Great Plains edges (Questia. 2020). As the years went by, settlements in the American borders grew and it was difficult to sustain the Indian’s exclusive occupation and to control their lands. Consequently, Americans encroached on the farms owned by Indians and tried to govern them thereby leading to mass killing due to conflicts that resulted from the two sides.

A peace policy was enacted in the 1860s by the US president to resolve the disagreement (Questia. 2020). The leader advocated for a reservation system that required some tribes to be relocated so that the parcels of land could be demarcated. Moreover, the native ethnic groups were encouraged to join Christianity. However, the policy led to controversies since Americans were against the size of the land allocated to individual Indians. It was evident that the indigenous communities served with corruption and ensured that relocated tribes would live in poverty and with limited amenities. Moreover, some reservations required the US Army to restrict Indians from the movement since the majority of them were nomadic (Questia. 2020). There was an increase in the number of scandals related to how Indians were treated. The civil societies suggested removing the minority groups from the American population. However, the National Indian Association Boston Citizenship and the Indian Rights Association pushed for assimilation of the marginalized groups in the society. Sadly, the movement that suggested assimilation viewed Indians as backward and with different intellectual capabilities from the whites and would therefore not be able to run their matters on their own. Consequently, the American government was mandated to run Indian affairs. During the 1880s new programs were developed to oversee the tribe’s land ownership, citizenship, and education. However, Indians believed that they could manage their own legal, political, and religious systems. Therefore, such proponents allowed the tribe to remain separate from the rest of society. According to the proposers of assimilation policies, it was necessary to remove the barriers and allow Indians to integrate into the mainstream community.

Americanization of Indians required them to adopt policies that promoted education for their children in boarding schools. The goal of integration changed to encourage the transformation of the tribe to become good Christians and citizens. One of the founders of the boarding school quoted that “kill the Indian in him and save the man” (Montgomery et al., 2020). The mission was to that the tribe’s reservations and religious affiliations were outlawed. Since the majority of the law enforcement individuals believed that it was close to impossible to change adults, they focused on recruiting children in such institutions (Montgomery et al., 2020). New schools were opened for founding a new America and would enroll the kids. The institutions remained open across the country where they educated native learners. Some parents saw this as an opportunity for their children to learn English while others believed that they were not education facilities at all (Montgomery et al., 2020). While in the boarding schools, children did not have an opportunity to meet their families. Sadly, parents who failed to take their children to boarding schools faced severe punishments. The US administration undertook the assimilation policy by cutting the children’s hair and issuing them with uniforms. Moreover, they were forced to speak new languages. Besides, boys were taught how to farm while girls were engaged with sewing. Teachers were tasked with the responsibility of helping the indigenous people to adopt new cultural identities. Moreover, they were required to observe ceremonies and encourage practicing of traditional performances.

Additionally, the federal government pushed for assimilation by forbidding the natives from using their original tribes, names, and languages. Moreover, they would not practice their religious and cultural beliefs. They were given Anglo-American names, haircuts, clothes, and were forced to abandon their traditional way of life because it was inferior to the white population (Booth, Tabatha Toney) The schools marked a devastating legacy since they failed to eradicate the cultures of Native Americans. Moreover, the assimilation process was ironic to the Indians since they were allowed to speak their cultural languages when they went into war.

Global affairs such as World War 1 had an impact on Indian American assimilation. During that period, people from the tribe had not yet earned American citizenship although they were natives of the land (Boxer, Andrew. 2009). Therefore, they were registered as white so that they could volunteer to take part in the war. Moreover, the US government believed that Indians were not eligible for veteran benefits. Indians joined the military since it was the only chance to get away from boarding schools where they were treated harshly. Moreover, it was a way of showing patriotic indoctrination and seeking adventure. Majority of male learners in boarding schools took part in the military as volunteers and the mass exit cause some institutions to close down. In their homeland, they were required to offer protection to those that could not secure themselves. Therefore, they tried their best to act like men and leaders. Moreover, the media was played a great role in eliminating stereotypes against Indians by reporting their achievement when offering their services in the battle. Therefore, the natives became more recognized at national levels. After the war, Indians were recognized by the American government due to their service at the battlegrounds and were allowed to apply for citizenship (Boxer, Andrew. 2009). However, some Indians had already earned citizenship by selling their land allotment to Americans.

Disparities existed among the American Indians and most of them were living in extreme poverty. Therefore, when recruiters traveled to different places preaches on the importance of education, many parents agreed to enroll their children so that they could escape the hardships that they were facing at home. During the great depression, families were unable to provide for their kids, and parents reluctantly agreed to let them attend boarding schools (Booth, Tabatha Toney). Moreover, relatives found it difficult to take in orphaned children and would send them to education facilities where they would benefit from free food, cloth, and shelter. On the other hand, single mothers would move to the cities in search of manual jobs and many kids became homeless. Additionally, disease outbreaks were common and many destitute children would be taken to schools as the only means for survival (Booth, Tabatha Toney). Some parents specifically enrolled their kids to learn how to farm. Alternatively, some would attend assimilation boarding schools as a way to escape the racism that they faced in mainstream facilities.

Separation from families was meant to force the children to abandon their native culture and adopt the American way of life. The move took a toll on them since they could only see their parents during the summer. Suicide by hanging was common in children that could not stand loneness (Booth, Tabatha Toney). Although limited visits were allowed, poor families could not afford to see their children. Communication between students and parents was censored and mails from home would be opened to delete unfavorable information.

Social issues such as racist ideologies were still rampant and the Indian Americans were regarded as uncivilized. Upon arrival at school, teachers would shear off the children’s hair so that as a way doing away with rice and foster assimilation and learning. Such a move would lead to protests since the boys, hair was a sign of maturity and would be cut off only when mourning (Booth, Tabatha Toney). Moreover, they resisted changing their names since it meant the loss of identity. However, the school management in defense claimed that the names were hard to pronounce and were pagan. Therefore, they were given Christian names. The learners were forbidden from speaking their native languages and would only communicate in English. Therefore they were mixed with those from different languages so that they can adapt to communicating in a common dialect. School officials viewed girls as the best to enroll in Indian American assimilation because they would be taught the Victorian submission ideologies (Booth, Tabatha Toney). They were advised to adopt white life when they get married. Moreover, their training was not based on taking care of their families but to work in while families as their patrons. Such systems were supported by the belief that Indians could only do menial jobs. The training immersed children into the white culture.

Boarding schools played a great role in Indian American assimilation. After finishing up their course, they would find employment in Indian services as English interpret. Others would married or seek further American assimilation ideologies. Children who were passionate about schools adapted or converted to white culture. Currently, policies have changed and Indians receive equal treatment to their English men counterparts.


Booth, Tabatha Toney. “Cheaper Than Bullets: American Indian Boarding Schools and Assimilation Policy, 1890-1930.” In Images, Imaginations, and Beyond: Proceedings of the Eighth Native American Symposium, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. 2009.

Montgomery, Lindsay M., and Chip Colwell. 2020. “Photo Essay: Native American Children’s Historic Forced Assimilation”. SAPIENS.

Questia. 2020. “List Of Books And Articles About Assimilation and American Indians | Online Research Library: Questia”. Questia.Com.

Boxer, Andrew. 2009. “Native Americans and the Federal Government | History Today”. Historytoday.Com.

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