Native Americans originally came to the North American continent somewhere around 12,000 years ago from East Asia. It is thought that their migration happened over a number of centuries rather than all at once.
In the Americas they formed many different tribes each with a unique culture and history. Contrary to popular belief, only some were nomadic. Most had developed cities and advanced systems of government, language, and social structure.
The coming of the Spanish had many devastating effects for the Native Americans. Diseases such as plague and smallpox wiped out more than 95% of the indigenous population within the first hundred years of contact.
The Europeans also imposed harsh terms on the Natives. Many were massacred for no apparent reason other than hate and greed. Often the Europeans were controlled by the search for gold. Christopher Columbus himself and many others took them as slaves. The only reason this did not pan out long term is because the Natives died too quickly from exposure to new viruses. It was then that the Europeans decided to use African slaves instead since they already had previous exposure to the diseases of the Old World and were, therefore, less likely to die.
The Natives were forced off their lands as more settlers came to the continent. They were pushed further and further West by the government and the increasing number of settlers who were intolerant of them. Those that refused were either killed or forced into removal -- Trail of Tears.
Native Americans have continued to be the victims of racism up into the 20th century. It wasn't until the early 20th century that they earned the right to vote and many were forced into segregation just as other minorities were.
The remaining Native Americans that chose to hold on to their culture reside on reservations. These small tracts of land are usually desolate and have are not capable of being farmed. Most are placed far away from other cities so the occupants exist in a state of isolation.
It wasn't until recently that the development of Indian Gaming took place. Contrary to popular belief (i.e another poster) these casinos are not provided by the government. Indeed, the tribes pay for the development and maintenance of the casinos all on their own. Furthermore, it is ignorant to generalize all Indians to be profiting off of gaming. Only a few lucky tribes benefit from gambling proceeds. Most are not fortunate enough to be located close enough to other cities for gambling casinos to be profitable.
For instance, Harrah's Cherokee Casino in Cherokee, NC was purchased by the tribe from tribal (not US Government) money. Prior to this, this and other tribes have had to rely mainly on tourism for income since most of their reservations are located in inhospitable places. Cherokee is the exception and with good reason: the land of the NC reservation was purchased by the Cherokee over 100 years ago -- not set aside by the government as a "gift".
Today, many Native American suffer from a variety of social issues. Diabetes plagues them at higher rates than any other minority. Suicide, alcoholism, and murder are also extremely high. Unemployment is high as well -- but this is attributed mainly to the fact that there is usually no outside industry other than tourism. Most reservations are located far away from desirable land so jobs are scarce to be had. Often, a Natives choices are to either remain poor or leave the reservation and their last ties to their culture.
More than any other minority per capita, Natives live in poverty. The idea that they get benefits and tax breaks from the US Government is appalling and a myth. Natives pay federal taxes just like everyone else. True, they do not have to pay state taxes on anything purchased inside the reservation but at the same time they do not receive anything for the reservation that tax money would be used for -- i.e. roads, schools, public services (police, ambulance, etc.) All of these services are provided internally by the tribe out of tribal earned money therefore there is no reason for them to pay state taxes for it.
Perhaps more than any other minority in the nation, Natives stuffer from misunderstanding and stereotypes in the general public. The term, the "Forgotten Race" is very apt ... as one of the other posters to "Native Americans" has made a good example of with their ramblings and misinformed and misdirected anger.
The author encourages each of you to try to understand the TRUE story of the Native people -- not just what you overhear from people who would rather have us forgotten. The common information on the indigenous people that is passed around as truth nowadays is often dead wrong and based on stereotypes from popular culture. In reality, Natives have a rich history and are worthy of more than token recognition.
so why u native people live on a lil peace of land called a reservation? cause the god damb white people forced us off our land and put us on a lil tiny peace of shit!
There are also many African Americans that are descended of Native Americans but because of the "Blood Quantum Law" and the fact that most people of mixed African American and Native American descent don't live on reservations. Many African Americans don't take an interest in that part of their heritage and as a result the Native American population continues to drop, however there has been a recent increase in more people with that mixed background are becoming enrolled into their respective tribe/tribes.
Teacher: Hi Mike. Wow you're handsome what are you mixed with?
Mike: I'm not mixed I"m full blood Native Ameican from the Delware tribe.
Teacher: Oh really..where's your proof?
Teacher:Yeah your indian papers. You can't claim to be Native Ameican and not have Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood with you.
Mike: Oh I forgot it in my Bible at home.
Teacher: You go to church? but you're Native American don't you just talk to the spirits??
Mike: I'm Christian sorry if that shocks you. (As he walks away)
Teacher: Well I guess you're not a real Indian but you do have color in your skin I'll but you down as Black.
Although the South American natives were luckier than those of the north, they were mostly converted to Catholicism, forced to speak Spanish, and what little earnings they make are sent to the modern Roman capital known as the Vatican.
But think about this for a moment; peaceful natives wrongly accused, declared war upon, thousands of innocents tortured and killed... and the land conquered by a bunch of dickwads who wanted GOLD and OIL. History repeating itself?
Here's a some random things people should know:
1. DON'T compare our suffering to other peoples' (like the Africans and Jewish people). What, is there a contest?
2. It's safe to say that we LOVE to dance and sing. And have sexual relations. Some more obvious than others.
3. Not all of us are fucking alcoholics. And only a SMALL percentage of reservations own casinos, which they pay hard worked CA$H for.
4. Every tribe is DIFFERENT.
5. Not all of us are bitter for what happened. After all, many of us are blended with other nationalities (like latinos/metizos, metis and griffes... many more!)
6. We're NOT Asian descendents. Just because we didn't leave things out to rot, and now archeaologists are getting bored, doesn't mean we came from fucking Asia. No disrespect to Asia though. We were created here. Understand?
7. We're protective of our families and friends. If you want one, you'll have the whole clan on your ass!
8. Our southern cousins below the border are NOT "illegals", they were here too, but they often get overlooked. We feel you.
9. It's fucking rude to dress your kids up and "indians" for Halloween. Red makeup, fake leather outfit, and feathers... And I ain't about to hit a child.
10. To my fellow native americans: Be strong, yes, just that!!!!!