- from Native America
Imagine 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 you to help them survive in this strange new place. But soon, more of them show up. They start to act like they can do whatever they want. They tell you that their way of living is better than yours. They also tell you that you’d better learn to like it—because they’re taking over your land. How would you feel?
That’s a lot like what happened to Native Americans when the Europeans came to this continent. The first Europeans needed help from their Native hosts. As time went on, more and more Europeans arrived. They were greedy for land and resources. Soon, their diseases and weapons killed many of the Native people. Once there were more newcomers than Natives, the invaders put the hosts under their control.
For almost 200 years, the U.S. government kept changing its policy toward Native Americans. First, it signed friendly treaties. Then it forced Natives to leave their lands. It made them live on reservations. Then it broke the reservations into smaller pieces. All these decisions were made to take land away from Native Americans. But in the last 50 years, the government has begun to admit these actions were unfair. Now, it’s working with Native Americans to try and right these past wrongs. Here’s a brief look at relations between Natives and newcomers.