- from Native America
Suppose—just suppose—that beings from outer space have landed in your community.
At first there are only a few of them, and they treat you well. They ask for help so they can survive in this strange new place. Soon, though, more and more of them show up, and they start to act as if they have the right to do whatever they want. They tell you that their way of living is better than yours and that you’d better learn to like it because they are taking over your land. How would you feel?
That’s a lot like what happened to Native Americans when the Europeans arrived on their continent. The first European explorers and settlers relied on their Native hosts for survival. As time went on, more and more Europeans arrived. They were greedy for land and resources. Their diseases and weapons soon wiped out large numbers of the Native population. Eventually, the newcomers outnumbered the Natives and placed them under their control.
For about the first 200 years of United States history, the government kept changing its policy toward Native Americans. At first, it signed friendly treaties. Then it forced Native Americans to leave their lands and live on reservations. Then it broke up those reservations into smaller areas. They did all these things to take land away from Native Americans. In the last 50 years, however, the government has begun to admit the unfairness of these policies. Now it’s working with Native Americans to try to fix the wrongs of the past. Here’s a brief look at how newcomers and Natives have gotten along.