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What effect did the European settlement have on American Indians?

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alexam1996 | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted February 8, 2013 at 3:11 AM via web

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What effect did the European settlement have on American Indians?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 8, 2013 at 3:30 AM (Answer #1)

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European settlement in the New World had a number of impacts on Native Americans.  Mainly, though, settlement pushed Native Americans off their lands.  It led to them either dying or being forced onto reservations.

When the Europeans first came to the New World, they had two main effects.  First, they brought germs that spread through Indian populations, killing huge numbers of them.  The germs even killed Indians who had never seen whites because they passed from Indians who had been in contact with whites to others.  Second, they brought new technologies and they brought horses.  These things changed the Native American ways of life tremendously.  For example, we think of the Plains Indians as horse people, but they of course had no horses until Europeans came to the Americas.

As European settlement expanded, Indians were pushed farther and farther west.  Some fought wars to try to prevent this and were killed.  Those who were not killed were eventually put on reservations, typically on land the Americans did not want. 

In these ways, European settlement had a tremendous, and often devastating, effect on Native Americans.

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 11, 2014 at 2:25 AM (Answer #2)

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European settlers to "the New World" had a major, and mostly negative effect on the indigenous populations across North and South America.  Whatever the motivations, those who settled North America left in their wake a legacy of poverty, domestic, drug and alcohol abuse, and an impenetrable sense of hopelessness among Native American communities.  European settlement resulted in the displacement of native tribes, the wholesale destruction of cultures and the implementation of genocidal policies that decimated Native American tribes.  The deliberate contamination of Native communities with diseases alien to North America like Small Pox wiped out large numbers of Native Americans, affecting subsequent generations.  The usurpation of the most productive grazing lands and the expulsion of Native tribes from their historic territories and onto inhospitable reservations scarred those communities for eternity.

In short, the effect of European settlement on Native Americans was profound and devastating.  Hundreds of years after those settlements began, the effects are still being felt in the extraordinarily dysfunctional cultures that replaced the ones that were destroyed.

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