Native American History Essay Examples
In this particular image, the Native Americans being depicted are not so much representations of what Native Americans actually are, but rather a symbolic representation of everything the Europeans fear or secretly desire. By making the Native Americans clothed, dumb, cannibalistic savages with a lust for sex, they project their anxieties about sexual repression, civilization and other things onto these people they can easily dismiss instead of engaging with their own fears themselves.
Native Americans, being naturally constantly aware of the pernicious stereotypes that whites have inflicted upon them, take umbrage to teams like the Washington Redskins or the Atlanta Braves, who use their highly important and deeply significant cultural signifiers as a cartoon outfit or something to laugh at. Team mascots and logos serve to dehumanize those who earnestly have those things as part of their culture; for a dominant culture to appropriate them and make it their own is to take its significance away from those from which it came, especially if it is in a hurtful or derogatory manner. Using the traditional garb and appearance of a Native American to sell a certain look or inspire mocking laughter is incredibly offensive and further marginalizes a people who have been substantially marginalized for generations.
1) In order to establish relations with the Native American peoples, Europeans traded any number of goods to them, including gunpowder, firearms, horses and alcohol, among other things. Steel and metal products were in particular demand, as metal pots and copper kettles were sought after by the Native Americans to replace the clay pots they were used to. Decorative jewelry, crafted blankets, and glass beads were also products the Europeans gave the Native Americans in exchange for land, food, and other commodities. These goods affected the lives of Native Americans in many different ways; they had a greater number of goods and items to work with in order to further develop themselves as communities and societies, but this also began a shift in priorities to a more materialistic pursuit of goods over achieving a harmony with nature.
Despite these ostensible advances, I do not believe it was worth it to trade their lives and their dignity for these marginal bits of industrialization. Items like horses were certainly helpful to the Native Americans, but the acquisition of goods and materials became a higher priority to them, eschewing their balance with their environment (taking only what they needed from the land) for a focus on commerce. Furthermore, this allowed Europeans to take more and more land from the Native Americans, while the trade of alcohol and blankets also made Native Americans ill and die from alcohol poisoning and polio (Pritzker). The eventual result of this trading and collaboration with Europeans led to their exploitation by said Europeans, leading them to their current state of exploitation, which continues to this day. To that end, I believe the beginning of trade with the Europeans spelled doom for the Native Americans’ supremacy and command of the New World.
2) Our slow but inexorable march toward global warming has absolutely come as a result of the advent of electricity; with the convenience and power of all electronic devices, we have become so reliant on them that we constantly crave more and more sources of power as we use them day in and day out. There are many devices that are left on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no sign of stopping – even our computers are designed to run all day without stopping. Computers, smartphones, tablets and the like are all devices that we depend on to run our daily lives and keep the world’s economy and culture operating, but they also contribute to our increased use of fossil fuels and increased carbon emissions, which are harming our environment. They also require the cultivation of rare earth minerals which are rapidly depleting.
Automobiles are another device we have become very much accustomed to, but which nonetheless does dramatic harm to our environment. Even with the advent of hybrid cars and electric cars, there is still a tremendous number of carbon emissions being sent into the atmosphere, which is causing the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming and rising temperatures. Other works of industrialization – paper, food consumption, architecture, construction – are leading to deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats, forcing entire species to go into extinction (Ritz, 2012). While we have achieved great things as a society and built a world in which anything is possible, it is costing us our planet with every rainforest we cut down and every ocean we overfish. This may be an overly high price to pay for the convenience of our modern world.
Pritzker, Barry. Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Peoples. Santa
Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1998. Print.
Ritz, Erica. “U.N. Chief Blames ‘Industrialization’ for Global Warming Crisis, Says Rich
Countries Need to Pay Up.” The Blaze. Dec 5, 2012. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/12/05/u-n-chief-blames-industrialization-for-global-warming-crisis-says-rich-countries-need-to-pay-up/>.
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