Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Americanization of Native Americans

Americanization can refer to the policies of the United States government and public opinion that there is a standard set of cultural values that should be held in common by all citizens. Education was and is viewed as the primary method in the acculturation process. These opinions were harshly applied when it came to Americanization of Native Americans compared to immigrant populations who arrived with their "non-American traditions".

The Americanization policies said that when indigenous people learned American customs and values they would soon merge tribal traditions with European-American culture and peacefully melt into the greater society. For example in the 1800s and early 1900s, traditional religious ceremonies were outlawed and it was mandatory for children to attend English speaking boarding schools where native languages and cultural traditions were forbidden. The Dawes Act of 1887, which allotted tribal lands to individuals and resulted in an estimated total of 93 million acres (6,100 km²) leaving Native American hands, and the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 were also part of these policies.

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