Visit an American Indian Reservation

"In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue"...and landed on the shores of Massachusetts.  Almost three hundred years later, a group of English citizens who had settled on the American eastern shores, fed up with unfair taxation, declared their independence from England and became the United States of America. 

The history of our country has not always been pretty however. The treatment of American Indians in our early history is an unfortunate example. As settlers moved west, while expanding our territory and becoming a nation of 50 states, they encountered Indians - or Native Americans as they are often called.  Many tribes were driven from their land, many were slaughtered and, for the most part, they were treated in a way that was unfair and unjust. Getting to know our country includes both its inspiring history and its less desirable one.

The Trail of Tears

One of the worst examples of our treatment of Native Americans occurred as a result of the "Indian Removal Act" passed in 1830.  In the late 1830s, the U.S. Army forced the men, women and children of the Cherokee Nation from western Georgia to Oklahoma.  This thousand mile forced march, with minimal food and facilities, resulted in enormous loss of life and became known as The Trail of Tears.  

Why Visit a Native American reservation?

The American Indian Heritage Foundation's Resource Directory is a good resource for finding the locations of Native American settlements.  Visiting a reservation lets "our predecessors" know that we have an interest in understanding their heritage which is part of ours and gives us an appreciation of their rich cultural, spiritual and natural beliefs.  It can also give us a real perspective of what democracy can do when its citizens don't stand up for what is right.

Status of Native Americans

In the early years of the United States, Indian affairs were governed by the Continental Congress, which in 1775 created a Committee on Indian Affairs headed by Benjamin Franklin.  Fifty years later, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established under the War Department, and eventually moved to the Interior Department in 1949.

Visit an Indian Reservation

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