Effects Of The European Settlers Had On The Native American Indians

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Effects Of The European Settlers Had On The Native American Indians

Effects Of The European Settlers Had On The Native American Indians


In the years after the Homestead Act, Europeans moved in ever greater numbers into Native American territory. In the 1860s and '70s, the United States Army was engaged in war with the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. The Pawnee tribe had fought these other tribes for years, and so the Army turned to the Pawnee for help against a common foe.

The Pawnees became scouts. They were very successful in helping protect the railroad as it was being built across Nebraska, and they accompanied several U.S. Amy expeditions against the warring Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. But, by the late 1870s, the Pawnee Scouts were disbanded, and the U.S. Government had removed most members of the Pawnee tribe from Nebraska to Indian Territory south of Nebraska.

The Lakota (Sioux), on the other hand, had much more trouble with early emigrants, and their experience sets the stage for the history of homesteading. Trouble with whites began with the California gold rush. In 1850 approximately 50,000 gold seekers traveled the Overland Trail through the heart of Lakota country. The Lakota did not take kindly to these newcomers crossing their land, competing for resources. The government tried to intervene by peaceful means.

Main Body

By 1600, organized tribes such as the Delaware and Shawnee had moved into present-day West Virginia. In addition, the powerful Iroquois Confederacy began exerting its influence on the region. The Confederacy was an alliance of five Iroquois-speaking nations -- Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca -- formed in present-day New York in the late 1500s. In 1722, the Tuscaroras joined the Iroquois Confederacy, which became known as the Six Nations. When Europeans first explored western Virginia in the late 1600s, they discovered few Native Americans. Historian Otis Rice suggests this absence was due to the Five Nations, "which sought domination of the Ohio Valley as part of their effort to control the fur trade with the Dutch, and later the British. . . ." (WV: A History, 9). The Confederacy controlled the valley but other tribes were permitted to settle there. For example, a Shawnee village existed at present-day Point Pleasant and a Delaware village flourished at Bulltown in present-day Braxton County well into the 1700s.

As the Confederacy fought smaller tribes for control of western Virginia, European colonists set their own designs on the Ohio Valley. In 1607, English colonists landed at Jamestown, Virginia. Based on various explorations, the British and French laid claim to the territory comprising present-day West Virginia and Native Americans were forced west. Many of the tribes were destroyed by constant warfare and catastrophic diseases. At the same time, trade with the Europeans proved a strong attraction, enabling the Indians to acquire valuable new products, such as guns, steel hatchets, cloth, and kettles. The fur trade in particular made many tribes powerful and more aggressive. The Indian nations successfully played one European power against ...
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