Sunday, August 19, 2012

Native Americans

It happened a long time ago, in the 16th/17th centuries, probably. In America people were living happily and peacefully for many hundreds of years before Europeans reached America. They usually hunted animals, gathered plants or fished in order to survive. They were approximately 10 million people living there.
When Christopher Columbus arrived in North America he thought he had reached India, so he called Indians to the native people. Native Americans were pretty amazed by the arrival of the Europeans, because they brought new things from Europe that Americans totally didn’t know, such as metal cooking pots, cloth, guns and alcohol. Not only this, but diseases as well. As Native Americans weren’t strong enough and had no resistance to those viruses, many of them died and others became extremely ill.
But Europeans wanted their land. For Native Americans, land wasn’t supposed to be own, once they were nomads. Consequently, as Americans didn’t know the effects of alcohol, Europeans gave them a lot of drinks, and then it was easy to negotiate their land as well as low prices for their goods. When the chiefs of the tribe got sober, they started to fight against the settlers. Some white people died during the fights and it constituted a proof for Europeans that natives were “wild and had to be controlled”. So America no longer belonged to Native Americans. And according to the article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property”.
Today only 550 tribes remain, which is about 1.2 million people. They live in reservations, where they have the right to fish and hunt as they wish, while other Americans have to get a license. Although Native Americans are US citizens, who have the rights and responsibilities of any US citizen, reservations have their own governments. But it’s difficult to live the traditional life for these people, once activities of other Americans affect the way they live and also their resources.
It’s wrong to call these people Indians, because this name is based on a mistake. However Americans don’t care, once they have little interest in Native Americans and most ignore them. Besides, the natives are often used in films and in books about the “Wild West” to represent the enemies of the cowboys.
The point is that the America that so many people dream with was built on a land stolen from the people who lived there first. And these people are suffering from discrimination because of their race.


  1. Tens muita razão. É mais fácil discriminar do que aceitar a nossa origem. Os americanos falam muito do "orgulho americano", se tivessem orgulho saberiam mais do seu passado :)

  2. Obrigada! tens aquele tipo de blog que curto bastante, vou seguir ~

  3. Tenho tanta pena que essas tribos sejam incompreendidas e se vão extinguindo...