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Generational Trauma as a Result of Native American Relocation

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The Sioux Wars can be summed up as the heist of land and the theft of the way of life for indegeous Americans. Years of suffering and mistreatment on Native Americans lasted 100s of years.. Many others in the midwest area faced the same fate like Ho Chunk, Oneida, Menommine, Ojibwe and many more. The Trail of Tears is an example of blood shed from the relocation of Native Americans. To some people, these events are seen as missing links to American History. To natives in 2019, it is their reality. Some people are unaware of how the land we live on was actually acquired. Early settlers could have been compared to a ‘human cancer’ in how the only thing they wanted was to grow bigger and take up more area like a tumor mass. A lot of places in the USA are owned by tribes and are considered Tribal Land or ‘reservations’ but they are nothing compared to the amount of land these tribes owned about 1000 years ago. Native Americans in 2019 are plagued with addiction, obesity and different kinds of mental illnesses. Generational trauma is a way to simplify the result in the ‘relocation’ of Native Americans. Sadly, it is a downwards spiral and it is avoided from curriculums.

In 1830, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. This law removed indigenous people from their land and forced them to move to reservations. Thousands upon thousands of people were forced from their land in Mississippi and forced to move to different locations of the United States. About close to 90% of the Cherokee tribe was forced upon one of the most tragic events in the history of the United States. In the year 1838, A march took place where the army forced Indians to move to the new reservations. This event was called the ‘Trail of Tears’. An estimated 8,000 Indians died on the journey. Including women and children, many people were forced to walk with as many items as the clothes on their backs. Indians got frostbite, died from dehydration, starvation and were simply killed from walking too slow. The horrible things these people faced can be considered just the tip of the iceberg. The Indegnous people stayed strong. Guided by the Creator and the stars, they walked the cold months and hoped for better days. During the same time. American Indians were being ‘christianized’ and ‘taught to act more civil’ of course the Tribes refused and the ‘Battles of The Great Plains’ began to take place.

On September of 1855 General Harney took over one hundred troops to a village at Brule water and killed 85 people and took 70 people captive. Native Americans after the battles across the country, the battle of wounded knee on December 29th 1880, this wrapped up the main genocide the US army conducted on Native Americans. After about 50 years of barley following the rules and peace treaties made generations ago the United States government decided to plan an all out attack and conquer more land. It started with settlers on the Oregon trail and then pushing west to take more land. The Sioux Tribe and the Government fought many times in the East. As the Government attacked the indigenous people, they killed all the warriors defending their villages. They also took captive women and children. In the late 1880’s after many battles along the great plains. Tribe elders did their best to give their people hope. Tribe elders are people elected in charge of decisions to help the tribe and they usually come from different clans depending on the tribe. The plains was a ghost town. Many buffalo were dead beacuse, the army figured the best way to finish the genocide of the Indians of the plains was to eleminate the main food source. To these tribes, the buffalo was everything. Not only did it provide food, but it also was the source of clothing, homes and many more utilities from the different parts of the body. Unlike the Indians of the Great Lakes, who relied on the lake to provide for food, these Indians counted on the buffalo. Losing the buffalo hurt these tribes bad. To simplify things, they had run very low on materials since so many buffaloes were gone. Shaman Wovoka gave the American Indians of the Great Plains some much needed hope. He taught the traditional ways there were once stolen from his people. He believed that the buffalo would come back and the white man will be struck for his evil doing. Sitting Bull wanted his people to follow these beliefs and follow the ways the shaman was teaching. These teachings taught that doing the Ghost dance, they were protected. They were taught that their problems would be solved and their enemies would be conquered one day. So, people did the Ghost dance and gave thanks to the creator and hoped their ancestors spirits were watching over them. Around 1890 White settlers that were in charge of watching over these tribes grew nervous about the new faith the Indians had found over the years. The Army got word of it and sent 5,000 troops to the Plains to arrest all the chefs. On the morning of December 29th 1890, a total of 153 men women and children were murdered. This massacre ended the wars of the Plains and was the last large confrontation from the USA government.

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After the Wars Native American children were forced into boarding schools where they were taught english and christianity. These teachers were ‘white washing’ children and forcing them to act how society wanted them to. Kids in these schools were beaten, sexually assaulted and were forced to forget their culture. This is why today, It is rare to find Native Americans who remember or were taught much of their culture. Kids in those schools were told they would be beaten if they spoke their traditional language. They put fear into the hearts of innocent children and scared them for life. Those children grew up with PTSD and the leaders of these schools did exactly what they were trying to do by white washing these children. I was lucky to have a great grandmother who was vocal about making sure her family knew where they came from. Many more brave men and women who have faced things like these schools have families and are far from being ashamed of their culture. In 2019 there are schools dedicated to teaching youth their culture that was taken away before they were even born. In greenfield wisconsin there is a school far from the city called Indian Community school. They allow students to learn their language and teach them the core teachings of many Native American tribes. Trust, love, humility, and many more. Although their curriculum contains the common core system, the content also teaches Native American children about their culture. They can’t take away knowledge as these missing links are being filled in after generations of people not knowing where they came from.

A reservation is a pocket of land owned by a native american tribe. Enrolled members who live on the land aren’t required a license for hunting or fishing for most reservations because they have the right to. It wasn’t until the mid 1950’s till Native Americans were given rights for the practices they have. Most reservations have laws and regulations that are unique to teach tribe. For Decades, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, alcohol consumption was banned. Alcoholism is a big issue in the Native American community says Irene Vernon. It seems like Native people get addicted to these things more easily and most elders can agree. Statistically, Native american children face many hardships that other minorities in our country face. For example, “Native communities suffer more of the usual predictors of poor health, such as poverty, unemployment and a steep high school dropout rate”. A scary statistic is that one in three American Indian women is raped in her lifetime, according to the Justice Department, which is more than twice the national average. It’s horrible to think that it’s more likely for a Native American woman to be sexually assaulted then go to college. A reason for the high amount of cases may because of how in villages where everyone knows everyone, It is unlikely for reports to be reported and further investigated which is sad. a 2007 Amnesty International report determined that “sexual violence against women from Indian nations is at epidemic proportions and that survivors are frequently denied justice”. This can be from a lack of resources and unresponsive tribal police. A loophole in the system is that it’s nearly impossible to serve justice with Tribal officials unable to prosecute non-native people. Native American women on the reservation who are raped and sexually assaulted by non-native men cannot report an incident to the tribe because they are only to arrest other Native Americans.

I feel it is important for schools to educate people on issues different cultures face in our country. This way, everyone is aware of different points of views and how other people live. Everyone has different struggles and problems in their everyday lives. Realistically, it is unlikely we’ll be able to understand each other’s perspective. However, I feel if common core and other education systems pushed for our youth learning different events that people of different backgrounds faced, it is possible for people to be less ignorant about what other people go through. Events in history impact our lives now. Native Americans faced years of suffering and it impacts what happens today in many communities around the globe.



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Generational Trauma as a Result of Native American Relocation. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from
“Generational Trauma as a Result of Native American Relocation.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
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