Project Proposal

Question: During the period of time when Native Americans were gaining citizenship there was a firm dismissing of their culture. This project is looking at what the indigenous were losing in order to acclimate to American Culture. What were the government’s requirements for natives to become citizens? What did it make them lose? And, today what have they gained back as a culture?

Project Description: There are many obvious things that indigenous peoples lost during the transition to be citizens. This project is going to explain in further detail the results of this intentional wiping out of the culture. For example, not only the boroughs of community that were split up over time, but the losses of language, history, tradition, and identity. There were interesting sources of pride, protection, and support from white citizens which I would like to bring into use to show how they did gain recognition eventually. Many people who were not Native were very upset by the treatment that they were receiving from the government and close-minded peoples. That there were many unfair actions, treaties, and laws with requirements that ensure the erasure of this culture. What was being said by these supporters? How did they express their support, or attempt to aid in it? What was the general public’s reaction to Indigenous were granted citizenship all together? In addition, what was the thought around when they were given the right to vote over 20 years after? And, why did there have to be protections about the indigenous being voters being actively put in place all the way up until the 1980s? What did people think about this? There are many topics that keep coming through as I research this project, and overall I will be going into government protections, but also what the government had put in place previously that lead to the Natives needing these protections. Lastly, this project will go into the recovery efforts to restore the native’s histories. To relearn language, songs, dance, and many other things that were either forgotten or kept very secretly. What efforts are there? Has the government done more actions to help regain what was lost? What do people today this about it?

Format: Historical Op-ed

Secondary sources:

  • The “Peculiar” Relationship of Indigenous Peoples to the U.S. Government- Essay
    • This essay is about the complexities of the relation between Natives who are in self-governing tribes and the government. It is very insightful as it draws from many other sources. It backs up the fact about how Natives tribes are often mistreated due to their own nations being not constitutionally guaranteed any rights as extra-constitutional entities. The freedoms they have wanted to hold onto are nonexistent giving way to prejudice. This essay expands on how the attitudes from racism, ideology, economic and political attitudes are being used to either support, diminish, or deny native’s rights. However, at the same time the treaty rights, when acknowledged, prevent states from intervening in native affairs. There’s a complex grey area of where the government helps and where it cannot if it decides to acknowledge agreements or ignore them.
  • American Indian Education and the Edward E. Ayer Collection-
    • This goes over many resources, explaining them and going into historical facts about the Natives and schooling. It draws on many sources that can be used as primary to help enhance my essay if I wanted to go deeper into the assimilation, and resistance of the natives to it. One section that interested me was about the boarding school that natives began going to with intentions of keeping them away from white children, segregating them even from African Americans. Boarding schools were popular as a way to Americanize children into the proper society from their native roots. Much of this essay is about how native children were being assimilated with traditional roles taught to them, girls learned weaving, home-keeping, and boys other things.
  • On This Day 1924: All Indians made united states Citizens act-
    • Despite some of the facts in this article being incorrect, the act itself it linked to it and is a statement on allowing Indians to be citizens. Declaring that their rights as natives will not be effects by this act, which was not entirely upheld. The article on this websit4e has some facts that need to be doubled checked because it does state that only two states had laws against Indians voting, when in fact there had been many and some held out until 1965 as mentioned.

Primary Source:

  • The Indian School Journal-
    • MLA citation: The Indian School Journal. December 1909. Chilocco, Oklahoma: Chilocco Indian Agricultural School. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American Indian Newspapers, [Accessed March 14, 2021].
    • This has the article called “Preparing the Indian for Self-Support and Citizenship.” Which was very intriguing for it is a lot of opinion and emotion mixed with facts about the relation of government’s actions and Indians. It explains the complicated relationship, and how things in the past were based on treaties that were eventually not honored. That there were mistakes on both sides, with many of the white folk in the government who were taking advantage of the natives in a way. It also states some things about being self-sufficient and relying upon the Indians.
  • Indian Citizenship- It’s as Complete as Anyone’s-
    • This article is long but informs people of native’s benefits and rights. What their opinions on the land ownership is, the reorganization act of 1934 which was handing land back to Indians that was bought on reservations by other people, and a few other interesting tidbits. It is like an overall informing thing for people who aren’t entirely aware of what was going on around the time and is rather helpful in getting facts and ideas.
  • Indian Citizenship-
    • This logs many treaties and laws that were created for the Indians, along with the details of the logs. For example, Section 6 of the Act of February 8, 1887, both before and after its amendment of May 8, 1906, provided: That every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up within said limits his residence, separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States. Which is directly from the act itself. There are many others of this kind that I can use to prove my points of intentional erasure of the Native culture and forced assimilation.

Leave a Reply