A Distorted Perception Of The American Indian History Essay

The truth of selective content taught in our public school history categories in mention to the American Indian has been flawed in the sense that pupils have been presented with merely partial “ truths ” and with modified histories stand foring the positions of those keeping places of influence and control. In the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me James W. Loewen provinces, “ Understanding our yesteryear is cardinal to our ability to understand ourselves and the universe around us ” ( Loewen 2 ) . To the extent that instructors, together with the text editions from which they have taught, “ skewed facts ” with regard to historical histories of Native Americans, pupils have been misguided in their development of a societal scruples. The presentation of such historical deformations, together with the support provided by assorted signifiers of media and social establishments, in legion cases has given rise to the creative activity of inaccurate stereotypes, societal bias and racism toward America ‘s autochthonal peoples. Unless current and future coevalss of our state ‘s young person are engaged in multi-perspective treatments of those factors impacting America ‘s societal development, our hereafter leaders will go on to keep a colored position toward the American Indian and hindered in to the full understanding who we are as Americans.

My gramps ( “ Popi ” ) grew up in eastern Oklahoma and studied American history in high school during the period of World War II. When asked about what facets of history category he subsequently came to recognize were misrepresented, Popi remembers most vividly that the American Indian was depicted jointly as a group comprised of “ crude barbarians ” . Additionally, my gramps recalled the schoolroom bulletin boards and “ experience good ” narratives of the “ First Thanksgiving, ” which gave recognition to “ white colonists ” as the 1s welcoming their adjacent Wampanoag folk. For the longest clip, Popi held fast to the position that these “ barbarian pagans ” were undeserving of the lands from which western European colonists had driven them. Although he lived near to a Choctaw Indian Reservation, my gramps, together with his schoolmates, was segregated from Choctaw pupils go toing the same school installation. In schoolroom treatments associating to American Indians, Popi remembers being shown images of half-naked militarists assailing colonies and slaying white adult females and kids. Popi explained that over clip, he developed the damaging belief that such Indians must hold been innately, cold-hearted to hold committed such atrociousnesss. What his American history category failed to describe was the widespread Acts of the Apostless of supplanting and colonisation employed by western European colonists in geting Indian occupied district.

Under the pretense that the American Indian perpetrated tribal warfare, white colonists claimed justification in their defensive actions. Popi claims he ne’er experienced classroom treatments of the mutual ferociousness inflicted by white fledglings upon the Indian peoples. To the settlers, these Native Americans were null in those properties placing them as “ civilised ” or in ownership of Christian values. As a immature grownup significantly influenced by old ages of schoolroom direction and societal prejudice, Popi commented that he held fast to the belief that the American Indian had small pick for endurance unless assimilated into the mainstream civilization, imposts and spiritual beliefs held by our state ‘s sires.

Had my gramps been provided with a more factual history of Native Americans and had he been exposed to an impartial appraisal of their interactions with European immigrants, Popi may hold been truly inclined toward larning more about his Choctaw neighbours and understanding their civilization. Although the root of struggle with such autochthonal Americans was genuinely over the business of land, Popi learned that Native Americans were inherently excessively unworldly to hold held an apprehension or grasp sing land ownership. A common subject still adopted by history text editions used in our schools has been that when the Native Americans rejected Europeanization, they were dispossessed of land and belongings. The text edition stereotype of the American Indian is that of a crude nomad, “ pushed aside ” in the name of advancement. In defence, Native Americans continue to buttonhole for text editions, which make clear representations that the cultural individuality of assorted tribal societies has managed to last even to present twenty-four hours, despite the bombardment of supplanting, disease and racial persecution. Capable to decennaries of exposure to the posterities of European immigrants and their African prisoners, Native American societies have transformed significantly, to their ain hurt. Their once proud civilizations, rich in autonomy and in human spirit, have deteriorated to the point of practical non-existence.

My gramps ‘s misperceptions associating to Native Americans have been reinforced in a assortment of ways over the old ages. As stated by the American Legion, an organisation founded in the early 1900s to profit veterans holding served in wartime, an ultimate intent of text edition was to animate nationalism and optimism, and give equal infinite to each province and part ( Loewen 302 ) . As such, those authoring history text editions intended their audience to follow “ a feel good ” individuality about their corporate yesteryear. Histories of white American ‘s inhumane intervention and targeted race murder of the American Indian had no topographic point in such “ historical ” histories. Even if a rebel historiographer had chosen to “ state it as it was ” in a written history of America ‘s manifest fate, it is dubious that America ‘s “ opinion seniors ” would hold of all time permitted the publication of such indifferent histories. James W. Loewen asserts in his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, “ Somehow writers feel they must strap on the load of conveying and supporting Western civilisation ” ( Loewen 326 ) .

American History category was non the lone device that influenced my gramps ‘s positions toward Native Americans. Both filming and literature served to reenforce the manner in which he had been taught to see America ‘s autochthonal peoples. The genre of “ Westerns ” as revealed on telecasting and the Ag screen more frequently than non portrayed the American Indian in a negative manner, as homicidal stealers and uneducated barbarians. Even a instead uneventful kid ‘s game of playing “ Cowboys and Indians ” served to reenforce further this pre-established stereotype. The cowpuncher would be cast as the “ proverbial good cats ” and would trail and hit at the renegade Indians. Furthermore, Popi ‘s brushs during daily experiences further reinforced the corporate misperceptions so good entrenched in the manner he viewed the universe around him.

Misconceptions that Popi held approximately Native Americans have had effects in that his acquired misgiving of the American Indian cultivated beliefs of racial hatred. These stereotyped images were passed down to his kids and influenced my female parent ‘s and uncle ‘s racial prejudice and deficiency of desire to larn more about Popi ‘s Choctaw neighbours. These racialist attitudes and feelings of high quality held by my gramps were farther duplicated in society. In Popi ‘s hometown, Native Americans were kept separate from the white American bulk. Furthermore, Native Americans were denied the same instruction and uplifting life style that he experienced. Discrimination prevented Native Americans from procuring “ good paying ” occupations and from developing skill sets to lift above conditions of poorness. Largely due to a perpetuated misinterpretation and an overdone fright of force, Native Americans have been pushed aside and mostly forgotten by America ‘s mainstream society. Over clip, even though my gramps came to a realisation that the American Indian may non hold been every bit ill-famed as he had been led to believe, it took old ages for him to procedure and admit this new information. Ironically, he learned that certain members of his hereditary household tree were Chickasaw Indians. As a consequence, he developed feelings of choler in mention to old ages of holding ne’er explored the rich civilization of his heritage.

Soon, American history ‘s history of how our state ‘s philosophy of expansionism affected Native Americans is assuredly more accurate than what my gramps learned during his high school experience. In Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen asserts, “ At least today ‘s text edition no longer fault the Natives for all the force, as did most text editions written before the civil rights motion ” ( Loewen 115 ) . What has n’t changed is that present twenty-four hours pupils still receive sanitised histories of the manner in which European immigrants displayed about entire neglect for the civilization and endurance of our autochthonal population. In order for America ‘s future leaders to develop a more accurate societal scruples embracing our corporate historical experience, we must sharply turn to the job of stereotypes, societal bias and racism in those cardinal locations where they have been given asylum – our places, our schools, and our day-to-day brushs.