Friday, June 12, 2015

Buffalo Soldiers and Native Americans

   After the Civil war, the western part of the united states was covered with tribes of Indians who called that land home. But the USA had a different idea. Settlers moved out that way due to the expanding barriers of the country. The two groups of people often clashed and many died because of it. So the federal Government decided that they would set up dividing rule for the Indians and also for the Buffalo soldiers. The soldiers were African Americans that protected the isolated settlements and kept the Indians at bay. Each group was discriminated against by the laws set in place. But most believed that what they were doing was just and part of the societal norm. This became evident by the way that buffalo boys were treated, on and off abuse in the way treatment, and the Native Americans, how schools were created and many 'savages' were reformed.
       The Buffalo soldiers regiments were originally created by Andrew Johnson after the civil war. The African Americans that were employed had been given the choice of becoming sharecroppers or going into the army. Considering that sharecropping involved being tied to a single owner of land, just like slavery, most opted for the second option. Johnson created six regiments. The Buffalo soldiers were given the hardest assignments, that most white regiments didn't want to bother going to. They were given horses near death, with their ribs showing. And when they weren't given horses, the soldiers had to walk up to ninety miles. Buffalo soldiers still fought with bravery and honor. But were often held in contempt by the very settlements they were protecting. And were given no sympathy or compassion. They did do their country a service, but at the same time, were treated as though they meant nothing.
       Just as the Buffalo Soldiers were discriminated, the Native Americans in the western planes had it perhaps worse. The main groups of Indians, such as Dakota, Lakota and Nakota, were forced out of their territories and made to move miles from what they originally called home. The Indians were slaughtered because they were defending themselves from the settlers onslaughts. Reformers eventually got it into their heads to try and help the Native Americans. They believed themselves a friend to the discriminated people. Reservation were created by such people to house the Native American. But as the land was under the protection of the federal government, it was seldom held for very long to those people. Carlyle schools were also set up to reform the Native Americans, which supported the idea that Native Americans needed to be in graded into American society in order to make them less savage like. And many were converted and transformed. Soon, the Dawes act of 1887 was created to keep the Indians in check. It stated, "Section 10. That nothing in this act contained shall be so construed to affect the right and power of Congress to grant the right of way through any lands granted to an Indian, or a tribe of Indians, for railroads or other highways, or telegraph lines, for the public use, or condemn such lands to public uses, upon making just compensation." The document is saying that they are willing to humor the Native Americans  but when the settlers really need something, they will not hesitated to take it. The rules of the federal government showed most people that Native Americans had no real need for sympathy or affection.
    The treatment of the Buffalo soldiers and Native Americans, though different, came with the same result. The groups felt very accutely the difference between themselves and the settlers. This was accepted as it was portrayed that the societal norms permitted it. People thought they were better than such groups, so naturally discrimination was the result.