Native Americans Land

Native Indian Tribe

Native Americans Land - Their Culture

The Native Americans had never developed a system or culture of private land ownership like the European settlers. The Native American's land as not owned by individuals. It could not be sold by an Indian chief. The land belonged to the whole community.

But there were tribal boundaries. The Native American's land was recognised by the settlement of the tribes within the boundaries of each tribe's territory. The ownership of the Native American's land became the source of the bitter conflicts between the white European settlers and the Native American Indians.

The Native Americans Land had been occupied by the different tribes of Native Indians for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans. Their culture and pre-historic Stone Age lifestyle had never altered. The Native Americans had never undergone the changes of the Bronze Age or the Iron Age. Their weapons and tools were all made of stone, they had not experienced the use of metals.  Neither had they experienced the way of the Europeans especially in relation to the subject of Land Ownership. Under these circumstances a culture clash was inevitable.

Native Americans Land - Living in Harmony with the Land
The Native Americans lived in harmony with the land which was emphasized by the their religion and beliefs that were based on the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects had souls or spirits. In the religion of the Native Indians it is believed that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, rocks etc. This belief is also extended to natural phenomena such as thunder storms and rain and geographic features such as mountains or rivers which they also believed possessed souls or spirits.

Native Americans Land - The Culture Clash
A 'Culture Clash' between the Native Americans and the white European settlers was inevitable - they literally came from different worlds. As if the basic cultural differences between a primitive and more advanced culture was not difficult enough to cope with there were also major differences in how each of the culture groups viewed the subject of land ownership.

Native Americans Land - Ownership?
The idea of an individual person having exclusive use of a particular piece of land was completely alien to Native Americans. The Native Americans fought, as communities, with other tribes over hunting rights to the territory. But the "right" to the land was very different from the legal terms understood by the white settlers who had known no other way than the nature of European individual ownership. The America Native Indians had no concept of "private property," as applied to the land. The accumulation of property was further discouraged by the tradition and custom followed in most tribes was to destroy all the belongings of the owner at his death.

Native Americans Land - The First Europeans
The struggle for the Native Americans land led to bloody and bitter conflicts between the Native Indians across North America and the Europeans. But this was not always the case. Friendly alliances were sought by the first European explorers and settlers with the Native Indians. The Indians knew how to survive from the natural resources offered by the land. The Europeans needed the help of the Native Americans in order to survive.

Native Americans Land - The Effect of the European colonists and settlers
The Europeans saw the continent of North America as a new land they could conquer. They wanted the riches that it had to offer and to increase their ownership of foreign lands. Jamestown was the first colony to be established - the colonists endured the Starving Time. The Mayflower brought the Pilgrim Fathers who founded Plymouth in 1620. Their were conflicts between the French and the British colonists, And the conflicts between the Europeans and Native Indians soon began. The Europeans brought diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, smallpox, measles and influenza to the indigenous population. The numbers of Native Americans were to fall l from 80 million to less than 1 million in less than 500 years. The Indians also suffered other bitter experiences with the Europeans. Traders often made them drunk to take advantage of them and many Native Indian skills and tribal identities and languages were lost due to the gradual adoption of European ways and the Indian's increasing dependence on European goods. And there was the constant encroachment on tribal territories and land...

Native Americans Land - The Conflict over land begins
The conflicts between the Native Americans and Europeans began in 1637 with the First Indian uprising in the English colony of Virginia. The Pequot War followed in 1638 and the Beaver Wars, also known as the Iroquois Wars or the French and Iroquois Wars were fought from 1640 - 1701. Meanwhile the Peach Tree War, King Philip's War and the Pueblo Revolt all took place in this time period followed by the
Yamasee Warof 1715. The French Indian War (1754-1763) between 1754 - 1763 erupted due to disputes over land and was won by Great Britain. France gave England all French territory east of the Mississippi River, except New Orleans. The Spanish give up east and west Florida to the English in return for Cuba. The American Indian Lands were being forcefully claimed by the Europeans.

Native Americans Land - The Conflict over land continues...
The late 1700's saw Pontiac's Rebellion in 1764 and Lord Dunmore's War in 1775. The Chickamauga Wars (17761794) saw the Cherokee involvement in the American Revolutionary War which continued through late 1794.  The beginning of the 1800's saw Tecumseh's War and the Battle of Tippecanoe (18111813). The Creek War (1813 -14) and the Peoria War was the conflict between the U. S. Army, settlers and the Native American tribes of the Potawatomi and the Kickapoo tribes. The Wars over land between the Native Americans and the European settlers escalated with the Winnebago War, the Black Hawk War, the Osage Indian War, the Navajo conflicts, the Sioux Wars, the Apache Wars, the Ute Wars, the Nez Perce War and the series of Seminole Wars. The Battle of Wounded Knee was fought in 1890. Through sheer numbers the Native Americans were defeated by the US Army and the European settlers.

Native Americans Land - Dawes General Allotment Act
The Dawes General Allotment Act was passed by Congress in 1887 which led to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers.

Native Americans Land
The Native Indians were removed from their land and sent to reservations. They waited until 1969 when all Indians were declared citizens of the U.S.

Native American Indians Groups
Native Indian Tribes Index

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Updated 2018-01-01

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