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Persausive Essay

Children as young as three years old were taken away

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Children as young as three years old were taken away from their parents and transferred to schools miles away. Within these schools, the children were forced to accept the English culture and were taught to lose their sense of their Indian identity. As soon as they arrived, they had to adopt an English name and from then on, were beaten if their native language was ever spoken. An entire generation of Native Americans was kept in these schools for six to eight years. Many did not make it out alive, for they either died from loneliness, harsh conditions, trying to escape, or the development of psychological problems. Psychological problems developed because the kids were stripped of their Native culture and rituals, and were also not accepted within the white community, basically leaving them lost and with nothing. (Cannery Effect) These examples, which depict the Euro-American control over the Native Americans, are definite indicators that this event was in fact genocidal. The opposing argument presented by Brenden Rensink, in the article, “Genocide of Native Americans: Historical Facts and Historiographic Debates”, focuses on the number of victims killed and the intent to destroy a targeted group of people in whole or in part as the two main determining factors of a genocide. If it were only based on the number killed then this event would definitely be considered as a genocide, but when the intent factor is added in, the issue become mores complicated than anticipated. The article points out that “the concept of genocide in Native American history must first be analyzed in the micro, rather than the macro scale” (Rensink). When studying individual interactions between the Euro-Americans and the Native Americans, there are genocidal moments. However, other scenarios are seen only as
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campaigns, relationships, and cultural negotiations, which are not justified as genocides. There were other incidence’s where “the horror of the events was unquestionable but the underlying historical context of each was not explicitly genocidal” (Rensick). This was the case of the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Battle of Washita River; where no actual intent was made.
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