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Native Americans of the Plains

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Towards the end of the 19th century, the United States government was attempting to limit the culture and overall effect of Native Americans in the Great Plains region. Technological advancements actually were harmful to Native Americans, and the government made great attempts to allow for the discrimination and mistreatment of Native Americans. Although the U.S. government formed treaties with the Native Americans and stated they would work with the Native Americans, but the government really just attempted to assimilate the Indians into American society to try and eventually get rid of their culture. Advancements in technology and government actions led to the eventual downfall of Plains Indian culture and society in terms of relevance.

One instance of an advancement in technology is the creation of the Trans-Continental railroad in 1869. While this would allow for more trade and communication possibilities, it was not very beneficial for the Native Americans. American citizens who wished to settle in other parts of the country could travel to that part of the country very easily now. This brought white settlers to the plains of the U.S., where they trespassed on Indian land. However, the settlers were allowed to do this. These settlers also spread diseases to the Native Americans that they had no immunity to. This disease was one of the major causes in the substantial decrease in population. The railroad also changed the landscape of the land on which Native Americans lived. This particular project of the railroad also affected the hunting pattern for Indians. For instance, buffalo were not allowed to roam as much. This also led to the massive decrease in the buffalo population. This deprived the Native Americans of various necessities that they obtained from the buffalo.

While the railroad may have hurt the Native Americans of the plains, not all technology was detrimental to them. After the gun was introduced to them, they were able to hunt much more efficiently. While the bow and arrow was a valuable weapon for them, a gun was just miles better. These guns were given to them by the same people that wanted them to assimilate into the American culture, which would also come to backfire against Americans whenever the Natives were not happy. In times of need, the gun was vital for the defense of Native Americans. Advancements in agricultural technology also was of help to the Indians. They were able to use certain things like metal plows and corn planters to increase the yield of their crops.

As for some of the things the government did to hurt the Native Americans, their actions were obvious and subtle at times. The Homestead Act was one of the major obvious ways of hurting the Natives. This stated that any citizen could have a 160 acre piece of land, as long as they build facilities of sorts on that land live on it for five years. This was very beneficial for white citizens. However, that land came from the Natives for the most part. There were thousands of acres of land that actually were in possession of Native Americans. The natives could have lived in the area for hundreds of years, but a white settler could just live there for five and it was theirs. The Homestead Act did not completely work out the way it was meant to work out because not all people received land; however, the thought that the government would even attempt to institute something like this just shows the disdain the government had for the Natives.

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