Treaties and Warfare - • The tribes were viewed as...

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Treaties and Warfare • The United States formulated a policy during the nineteenth century toward Native Americans that followed the precedents established during the colonial period. The government policy was not to antagonize the Native Americans unnecessarily. Yet if the needs of tribes interfered with the needs, or even the whims, of Whites, Whites were to have precedence. • For example, the exploits of the Forty-Niners, the nineteenth-century gold miners in northern California, have long been glorified. However, the areas they entered near Sacramento were inhabited by 150,000 native people. Authorities offered bounties to the settlers for the heads of American Indians, and the state spent about $1 million to reimburse people for the bullets used to shoot them. Within 25 years, the population plummeted to about 30,000.
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Unformatted text preview: • The tribes were viewed as separate nations to be dealt with by treaties arrived at through negotiations with the federal government. Although this policy seems fair-minded, it was clear from the beginning that the White people’s government would deal harshly with the tribal groups that refused to agree to treaties. • Federal relations with the Native Americans were the responsibility of the secretary of war; consequently, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was created in 1824 to coordinate the governments relations with the tribes, it was placed in the War Department. • White settlers viewed the Native Americans as biologically and morally inferior and labeled them as uncivilized “savages” and “heathens” in order to justify their genocide, forced migration, and forced assimilation....
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