Native Americans and the Colonists

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How did European settlers negatively impact Native Americans?

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Colonialism had, and continues to have, horrific effects upon indigenous tribes and peoples of this land. In North and South America, the indigenous population was reduced by an absolutely staggering 90% following European colonization. The majority of this absolutely devastating loss of life resulted from European diseases. However, outright massacres, vigilante attacks, displacement, suicide, and death from enslavement contributed to this statistic. Indigenous tribes that survived initial contact experienced continued attacks by white settlers and white militias. By the mid 1800s, tribes were systematically driven from their homelands and forced westward in a genocidal government operation that killed thousands of indigenous people. In the 1890s, the government began kidnapping indigenous children and forcing them into boarding schools that gave way to systematic cultural genocide and resulted in massive abuse, as well as death, of indigenous children. Today, indigenous people continue to be severely oppressed by the state and by companies who continue to steal their lands for the profit and benefit of the companies and of the state.

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Most but not all Europeans had a very negative impact. Many Europeans invaded native settlements and some even carried out genocides. Columbus's army killed between 3 and 8 million Taino Indians and raped, enslaved, and tortured many of them. Lord General Jeffrey Amherst used the infamous smallpox blankets to kill up to 1.5 million Natives. The colonists of every European power took advantage of the deaths from disease. The French traded guns for Native gathered furs and triggered a series of wars between Native nations for hunting grounds. Europeans stripped Natives of resources like land, gold, silver, and millions of Native slaves were used to build a capitalist economy in Europe.

At the same time, some Europeans opposed genocides, land theft, and the exploitation of Natives on moral and humane grounds. Priests like Las Casas and Montesinos led campaigns to end genocide. Because of them, Spain passed the New Laws forbidding arbitrary killings and forced labor. Spanish conquerors who defied the New Laws were punished by the Crown. Many freethinking Germans (like Moravian) had good relations with Natives, even signing the peace Treaty of Meusebach in Texas. Many Europeans chose to live with and marry into Native tribes because they saw their way of life as more appealing.

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European settlement in the Americas had a devastating effect on the Native Americans. When the Europeans came to the Americas, the Europeans brought diseases with them to which the Native Americans had no immunity. As a result, many Native Americans died from these diseases such as cholera and chicken pox.

The Europeans also exploited the land on which the Native Americans lived. The Europeans took minerals from the land in order to help their economy and financial situation. The Europeans had no hesitation in harming the Native American culture when taking these minerals.

The Europeans also began to expand once they settled in the Americas. In North America, the expansion of the Europeans led to conflict with the Native Americas. After the Americans won their independence from Great Britain, they began to move westward. There were many battles with the Native Americas. As the Native Americans were defeated, they had to give up land. The government also had policies that were harmful to the Native Americas. The Indian Removal Act forced the Native Americas to relocate to lands that were west of the Mississippi River. As the Americans expanded west of the Mississippi River, the Native Americans were then forced onto reservations. This forced relocation disrupted and destroyed the way of life of the Native Americans.

European colonization had a very harmful impact on the Native Americans.

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