Indian Policy During The 1800's Essay

Length: 2 pages Subject: American History Type: Essay Paper: #22125475 Related Topics: Dance, Imperialism, Spain
Excerpt from Essay :

Dances with Wolves is a movie that clearly shows the moral and political dilemmas that existed in those times and it also represents that fairly savage policy that the United States had against Indians and those that sided with the same. It also proved that skin color alone is not enough to keep people separated, as proven by Costner's character and the white woman he eventually took as his wife. However, it also became clear to Costner's character that he was in a no-win situation and that he could not stay with the Sioux even though he wanted to and the Sioux felt the same way. While a lot has changed since the days of the Civil War, some things remain stubbornly the same.

Since the settlers from other countries including Britain, France and Spain came to the shores of what is now the United States starting in the late 1400's, there were two common reasons for those people coming over. The first was to colonize and explore the area and the other was to escape oppression. In some cases, the answer was both. However, both of those priorities ran afoul of the fact that Indians were already over here and they did not take kindly to outsiders taking or pillaging from their


To be sure, Indians were not saints themselves and sometimes commttied barbaric acts. When looking at the Pawnees and Sioux fighting in Dances with Wolves, it is clear that they even fought each other. Even so, to suggest that the United States did not do some very dastardly things over the course of its existence during that time (and the colonists before that, for that matter) would be unfair and untrue.

While much of the imperialism and outmoded ideals are basically dead and gone nowadays (at least in the United States), there are some patterns that have not changed. First, Indians were considered the enemy without exception by the United States military and they severely punished anyone who in the least way sided with them or otherwise did not follow orders or kept their post. Even war heroes, even if such status was purely accidental and a reaction to a unreasonable and unnecessary request (the leg amputation) were not immune from that as Costner befell the fate of a traitor even though he did not really betray the United States in any real or rational way. After all, the "I was just following orders" drivel can only justify so much.

If there is a salient point to take from Dances with Wolves, it would be that the United States government was blind to anything that conflicted with taking the land from the Indians and not working with them in any way, even…

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