How did establishment of reservations affect Native Americans?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The establishment of reservations great affected the Native Americans. Native Americans had been forced to relocate to lands west of the Mississippi River since the 1830s. As Americans expanded west of the Mississippi River after the Civil War, Native Americans were forced onto reservations. This was deadly for them.

Native Americans used to travel freely throughout the Great Plains. They depended heavily on the buffalo for survival. They showed great respect for the land. When they were placed on reservations, they lost the ability to move about freely. American settlers killed the buffalo as they moved west. The Americans didn’t have the same respect for the land that the Native Americans had. The Native American way of life was being destroyed.

There were other issues also. Eventually, there were conflicts between the Native Americans and the army over land. Many Native Americans were killed. As Americans moved to the West, they brought diseases with them. The Native Americans had no immunity to these diseases, and some died from them.

All of these events turned the Native Americans from a fiercely independent people to a group that became very dependence on the federal government for survival. The Native Americans were very negatively affected by the reservation policy.

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