Ever since I was young, I thought that the kinds of people who are found in America today are the same since time in history. It was until I was old enough and learnt some lessons in history that the truth was revealed to me. This is when I learnt the fact that this land was actually not known three hundred years ago. The revelations were astonishing when I was told about the early inhabitants of the land. They were Indians. I knew of Indians, but they were far away in the Indian subcontinents. I then received a clarification that these types of Indians were different from the ones that I knew. My father offered to assist me find out about them. “Why were they referred to as red?” I thought to myself.
The story of the Indians started when Columbus first arrived in West Indies, which makes the American continent now. He called them Indians because he had mistaken them for Indians from India as they also had straight long hair (Mooney n.p.). This race of people was found all over the continent, which was later named America. They had brown skin, their eyes were dark brown, and their cheekbones stood prominently. They also had little hair on their chins and cheeks (Mooney n.p.). These early inhabitants of America had many tribes within them (Mooney n.p.). They also had their own culture and architecture, it makes no odds how primitive they were (Mooney n.p.). One can rightfully conclude that Indians were civilised since they practised agriculture, fishing, and hunting. The only animal that they had domisticated by the time of the arrival of Europeans was the dog. These people had their own ways of making pottery weaving and even making boats (Mooney n.p.).
This paper is going to examine the book A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians 1880-1920 by Frederick Hoxie. In this book, the author analyses the campaign that ran through from the 1880s all the way to 1920s. The main aim was to ensure that the Indians found in the American territory were incorporated into the American society. Some of the serious strides in the program occurred in the 1900. According to the author, the intentions of those executing this plan were suspicious, and the Americans were not tolerant to the existence of the Indian culture on their territory. These natives were allocated the land according to their tribes, and their children and those willing were given an education. They were also given privileges equal to the white members of the country who were then formally recognized as citizens unlike them. There was a lot of hope that these natives would change and become like the other Americans. However, at the start of the twentieth century, many of the white Americans lost hope and became pessimist about this project (Coleman 158).
For example, the unsuccessful program meant that so much land had been lost, and the standards of education in government schools meant for Indians nose dived. The reason was the emphasis on the vocational aspects of education in these schools as compared to other schools which insisted on the development of the curriculum. The Indians also continued to be politically marginalised inspite of this program, even though they were now recognised as citizens. Every other race seemed to have forgotten that this group could also co-exist with the rest of America; rather, they saw that the other racial groups should be left to live their own lives at the edge of this society. The Indians’ only hope now was to wait for the individuals from other races, different from their own, to help them move into civilization (Coleman 159).
There were discussions by legal experts on their fate; they (Indians) became the subject of discussion by modern anthropologists, and writers came out to write on issues considered popular. It is also portrayed how the Indians started being included in important events such as the Chicago Columbian Exposition, held in 1892. Hoxie seeks to notice that the Indian culture had already existed, but it was not appreciated due to the racism. This racism is what he sees as the issue that led to the program meant to integrate the Indians into the American society. However, he did not mention the role of the early missionaries who also played a part in the early “civilization” of the Indians in America. One also unawares of the extent they did that and whether their influence was positive or negative. Hoxie instead, insists on repeating himself as pertaining to this matter in the book (Coleman 159).
This book can be said to be an important milestone to scholars on the basis of the research that has gone in compiling it. Many of the arguments found in it are clear and contain the power accorded to them by the facts that they carry. So many years after it was published, it is still an authority concerning the study of Native Americans (Coleman 157).
First, the few visible Indians that remain away from the reserves have stopped practicing their culture. It should be mentioned that the culture of the natives has been completely wiped off from the other races in America. The Indians, who insisted on continuing with the practice of their culture, have secluded themselves from the others in the reserves which paints a bad picture of this society. This shows the level of discrimination that people of this race experience, not in regard to their physical appearance but rather to their culture. This does not go down well since the country’s Constitution is considered one of the major progresses in the world, and it does not intend to exclude anyone. However, in this case, this constitution has not been able to include the Indians practicing their culture in America. It is the implementers of this program who brought about this by ensuring that certain aspects of the Indian culture were discouraged. For example, the pupils in Indian schools were forbidden from using their language even their traditional names while being at school. They were also taught to shave their hair short, which was not in line with their culture.