Do you think that the Native Americans deserve an restitution? Why? Explain.Indian Removal Act

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Do you think that the Native Americans deserve an restitution? Why? Explain.

Indian Removal Act

  Yes I do, but I don't know how it could come about.  There are always two sides to every story and all we hear about is the bad that the Indians have done to us down through the years.  But, has anybody stopped to consider that they weren't always treated fairly and they only acted in ways they knew how to act?  We call them savages, but some of their ways were moral, upright, and dignified!  Yes, they could be cruel, inhuman, and dangerous at times, but we shouldn't have stereotyped them and mass-moved them to locations that they were unable to live in!  It seems to me we were acting in a savage manner to have taken away their rights, their lands, and their ways of life!  After all, they were here first!  I just think it could've been handled better by both sides.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Morally speaking, yes, yu would say that the Indian tribes removed from the Southeast back in the 1830s deserve restitution.  But as a practical matter it seems impossible and pointless.

First of all, I would say that there is no monetary restitution that could possibly make up for the taking of the tribes' land and way of life.  It is like restitutions for slavery -- you can't really give the full value of what was lost.  The amounts that the US could actually afford to give would be trivial compared to the loss.

Second, it is impossible to know who deserves to be compensated, in my opinion.

booksnmore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The unfortunate reality is that there are probably many persecuted/oppressed peoples who deserve restitution. The problem is how to give it to them with any kind of integrity. I watch the local casino/gaming business and cannot understand how the business seems to thrive even while local native populations suffer extreme poverty. It seems that something isn't working. I agree with poster #6 that something must be done to end the cycle of poverty...and it appears that casino/gaming is not the answer...rather it appears to gamble with the future of the tribal people.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Restitution was offered and paid back in the 1980's to Japanese-Americans who lost property and their civil rights when they and their families were interned in camps during World War II.  Why it shouldn't be offered to others who were wronged, and in much more egregious and horrible ways, is beyond me.  While millions of natives lost their lives and their land both, and I don't know how you would put a number on that kind of loss, it seems we should start with an official acknowledgement by the US government and an apology from the President.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first place that restitution can be made is to find or provide better economic sources for Native Americans many (I could probably safely say most) of whom live far beneath the poverty level established by our government. This cycle of poverty has got to be broken in order to begin solving so many of the other problems that plague our original residents of the country.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

They probably deserve some kind of restitution, but like has all ready been said how would you ever determine what that amount would be and how would you determine who gets it. Also, I think the government at the time felt they were providing a sort of "restitution" by "allowing" the Indians to stay on the reservations. 

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Native Americans certainly deserve restitution of some sort since their mistreatment and resulting status as second-class citizens is one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. I like the previous idea of funding through the Casino & Gambling Control Act by increasing the number of gaming establishments.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Restitution need not mean returning to the situation exactly as it was earlier, which is quite impractical. However, one cannot deny the fact that past injustice done to the Native Americans continues to impact their lives even today. For example, native Americans in America have much lower income level and life expectancy, than the average for the country. Thus special efforts can and should definitely be made o improve the lot of the native Americans.

There is no point in talking about paying lip service to morality and continue to act in opposite ways in the name of practicality to safeguard ones selfish interests.

I believe a satisfactory restitution program must aim at improving the education and abilities of the native Americans so that they can compete on equal footing with American citizens of any other ethnic background.

epollock | Student

Thy should be given restitution and were under the Casino and Gaming Control Act. Indians can build casinos and reap the rewards that others can not. It is a small price of acceptance, but provides one practical solution, though not perfect by any means, as plains Indians are still too rural to attract potential players due to their remoteness.