Monday, June 15, 2015

Not Just a Bob Marley Song

Recently, in my Honors History 10 Class, we have been learning about Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans. We watched several videos and read a few primary source documents. We discussed the effect of the soldiers n the Native Americans. We also learned about all of the different ways the Natives resisted the soldiers. We discussed the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Dawes Act. Our Essential Question for this unit was: During Westward expansion, did the impact of federal policy towards the Native Americans match the intent?
An image of the different laws and
battles during this time period.
For many reasons, I believe that the answer to the question is no. Congress had some great ideas and ways to get the Native Americans to move, but they didn't think them through. For example, the Dawes Act was put in place in order to give each head of the family their own land to farm and live on. They didn't realize, however, that the Native Americans weren't used to the idea of 'cutting up' the land. They were used to sharing all of the land and having a community that lived together. They were not fond of the idea of dividing up the land and many resisted. I believe that Congress had the best intentions of trying to give each family their own land, but it ended up backfiring on them.
Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a story on the life of Native Americans and how they were affected by the Buffalo Soldiers. She highlighted the information that newspapers left out. This information was often the important details that showed the bad side of the Buffalo Soldiers. This is still very relevant today. News channels will often only show half of the story on their broadcasts. They will show the side that makes someone look the worst or is the most dramatic. This is not a good way to broadcast news, but is often the way that most audiences are attracted to.  


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