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American West

  • Date Submitted: 04/11/2010 10:50 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 30.1 
  • Words: 618
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The Western story begins with the history of the first cultural encounter between
the Native Americans and the Anglo settlers. The divergent perspectives tell the past conflict from a biased view, creating a blurred story that is now being questioned. Some Anglo Western settlers like Frederick Jackson Turner considered Native Americans to be of little significance and failed to recognize or accept the Indians rights to their land, culture, and way of life. Viewed by settlers as faceless obstacles to be overcome in the process of ultimately conquering the West, Indians posed a common danger to the White settlers and served as a uniting agent in our history. Given the tradition of teaching about the West as movement and as frontier, Indians usually became important only in the context of their relationships with whites and in the era before 1890. Now, over one hundred years later, the skewed story of the West remains unchanged because there are still those with essentially the same opinion of modern Indians as unimportant obstacles in the larger picture of the development of the American West.

Although Anglo settlers historically viewed the Native Americans as trivial, their
presence was and is still significant to the Western story today. Native Americans in the twentieth-century American West have been physically and culturally persistent as special ethnic individuals and communities in the face of overpowering odds. Five hundred years of disease and conquest, removal and reservation, reduced the native population of the continental United States from a conservatively estimated 2 to 5 million people to only 228,000 survivors by
1890. Despite their loss and suffering, Native Americans did not disappear, but instead demonstrated cultural resilience and experimentation in the face of the government policy for allocation, reorganization, and termination. The Native Americans struggle in the West is absolutely comparable to the larger struggle of the...

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