The Native Americans are the indigenous people who settled in Northern America. They are used to call themselves American Indians or Indians. They have been living in the American territories before the arrival of the Europeans. They practiced hunting and gathering as well as farming, thus the land was for everyone’s use. Today, they live in designated reservations in the United States although some live in the cities and towns across the U.S.
The Native Americans were likely to originate from Asia. They arrived in North America across the Bering Strait that connected the two continents during the ice age. However, due to flooding, the immigrants were then forced to separate from their relatives and thus begin a new life in the new environment. Their skills in hunting and gathering, knowledge of fire and tools of stone and bone were therefore an impetus to survive.
Social and Cultural Issues Affecting Native Americans. The Native Americans lived in harmony with one another in the “new world” until the arrival of the Europeans following the “discovery” of the land by Christopher Columbus. The arrival of the European settlers marked the beginning of the plight of the Native Americans. They were infected with incurable diseases what led to the high mortality rates. The government evicted them off their land into reservations and allowed the whites to settle their lands and farms. Besides, the culture of Indians was considered inferior compared to the European Americans’ cultural values. The new immigrants brought in new values such as Christianity and education in their attempts to “civilize” them.
Civilizations have created groups among the Native Americans with regard to adopt new values. The interaction between the American Indians and those surrounding them influences their daily life. It disrupted the cultural exchange of generations, since they assimilated into the European culture. There were state bureaucracies that limited the advancement of the education of Native Americans. This has thus contributed to more of the social problems faced by the American Indians. The social problems and noticeable injustices include drug abuse, high crime rates and lack of employment. The social challenges have led to numerous reports of suicides, school dropouts and very high rates of child mortality in the reservations.
As the Native Americans were living with their families in the reservations, their homes were overcrowded. This led to outbreaks of diseases and health complications. The spread of diseases in the reservations were often alarming due to the unhygienic conditions. To some extent, the culture and religious values were also affected by the reservations and allocation of borders to the tribes. This was majorly due to the misconception that that Native Americans were only American Indians.
Political Issues Affecting Native Americans. The major political concerns of the Native Americans include the land and group rights. Being the first to settle in the land, conflict arose between them and the government in a bid to resettle them. They were forced out of their land into the reservations and their lands and farms were then occupied by the new settlers from Europe. During the American Revolution, the Native Americans were deprived of their lands according to the Treaty of Paris (1783). The British ceded the land to the United States without informing the Native Americans.
In the reservations, there were restrictions to fishing and hunting. There were therefore bad conditions there. The government could appropriate the reservations without consulting the clans; this led to strife within the neighboring clans. The legislations enacted by the government restricted movements of Native Americans out of the reservations.
Constraining Legislations for Native Americans. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the government enacted legislations so as to constrain the movements on the Native Americans out of the reservations. They were forbidden to mix up with other races. All the “off-reservation rights” of the Native Americans were abrogated. This was meant to limit all their off-reservations activities such as commercial hunting and fishing or visitation of other tribes. To mitigate such effects of the restrictions, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was in place to grant pass permission to all who wished to move out of the reservations. The formation of such a Bureau helped in fighting the legislation. Furthermore during the civil war, they actively participated in the military so as to fight the whites probably with an aim that they would obtain a freedom from all the oppressions of the past regimes.
Legislation Alleviating Racial Prejudice against Native Americans. The alleviation of the prejudicial boundaries was attained through the enactment of the Indian Citizenship Acts. This Act granted citizenship to all the Indians born in the United States. This therefore allowed free movements to all who lived in the reservations. To attain this, the Indian Rights Association was formed and the reformists and philanthropists such as Herbert Weish drafted the General Citizenship Act of 1924 and pushed it to the Congress.
In conclusion, though the Native Americans were the first to settle the Northern America, they have undergone a myriad of changes since the arrival of the Europeans who settled the same land. They underwent racial discrimination, segregations and unfair treatments caused by discriminative legislations. Proper enactment of laws and revision of the American constitution basing on affirmative ideology should have been carried out urgently to save the group.