Coral C. Colorado

Treat Native American Treaties.

Letter to the future president in hopes of raising awareness.


Dear Madame/Mr.President:

The United States has been defined as the land of the free, a place of equal opportunity. Not only have I heard this familiar term in my own home, but in my history class as well. So far, I have learned how white settlers in the past have interacted with Native Americans and their people. I understand that these two people of different race clashed over land, and natural resources. What I don’t understand is why the white settlers decided to use brutal force when the Natives decided they weren’t going to give up their land, or showed the slightest digression. Recently, I have begun to question society’s perspective on Native Americans and their rights. I would like to talk about Native American Treaties, and it’s crucial issue that is still a speculation to this day. We are living in demented times, and I am beginning to worry about the well being of Native Americans, their culture, and where they are ranked in today’s society. The Native American Treaties have been a part of history since the 1700’s, many of the treaties have been justifiable, but many more have been neglected. I encourage you to look upon this issue, for it affects not only me, but my people as well. If America doesn’t change their harsh perspective on Native Americans, we will continue to repeat history, rather than learning from it.

The removal act of 1830 was just one of the many incidents where the U.S government decided to neglect their promises to the Native American tribes. Many of the tribes left their land peacefully, but there were still tribes that had resisted. There were two treaties, and they were both violated by the government. The Native Americans were even willing to negotiate, giving up some land and keeping some of it in return. Sometimes the Natives didn’t completely understand what they were reading, but signed anyway. Another crucial event that happened with the Native American Treaties was still taking place in the 1800’s when white settlers moved into the coastal South, towards what we call today; the states of Mississippi and Alabama. The settlers only saw the Native Tribes already living on that land as an obstacle. They requested to have the tribes removed by the government. In 1860 the Fort Laramie treaty was created, and it’s intent was to have an agreement on land, and other forms of punishment for breaking the law. The treaty involved the government, and seven different Native tribes. This treaty was also violated due to the fact that the U.S only wanted peace if the Natives were willing to serve them, and make more sacrifices on their behalf. I feel like the Native American Treaties are a good way to negotiate between both parties, but the U.S government has more authority over what goes into the treaty than anyone else. Sometimes the Natives won’t, or can’t understand what the treaty so they will either resist the idea all together, or sign anyway without much knowledge of what is on the paper. This issue will continue to happen if nothing is done about it.

Let’s fast forward into the 21st century and observe the much longer timeline of broken promises. The fact that the U.S government has violated many treaties with the Native Americans is no secret, and is even displayed in a few museums. When people walk in and see this display of corrupted interactions between the two parties, are they going to be aware of what’s going on, or are they going to see it as bragging rights? There may be five hundred displayed treaties that were successful, but there are still five hundred more that failed. I would want citizens to see positive outcomes of the Native American treaties, but also see the negative ones as well. I also wouldn’t want the broken treaties to be seen as an “ok” act on the U.S government’s behalf, since the treaties are open to the public. Many people may not even know how many treaties were truly neglected, and how many actually provided a positive outcome. I think the Native American Treaties have almost been lost among history, and the true meaning of the cause is being pushed aside as well.

I think citizens in the United States should be a little more open minded when it comes to people who differ in race, and culture. I’m not saying that the government owes Native Americans free land or free money, they’re not looking for a pity party. The Natives simply want to be heard, in hopes that the world will understand the years of pain, and betrayal they have endured throughout history. The issues with Native American treaties aren’t going to go away anytime soon, especially those who aren’t willing to go down without a fight. I’m not trying to shame the U.S government for their actions that occurred in the past, and even the Native tribes made some mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change the outcome of the future. Of course the violated treaties can’t be fixed, but instead of adding to the large number of betrayal, it can decrease and eventually disappear completely. If the endless number of violated treaties are being shown in public for the whole world to see, then people will think it’s ok for it to continue since it’s “in the past” that type of attitude cannot be tolerated anymore. If the U.S government can try to see the world through the eyes of a Native, maybe they won’t look down on them. If Native Americans can see the world through the government’s eyes maybe they can try to see where they had gone wrong. There are two sides to every story, and only one side of it is being told in the worst possible way. If the Natives want equal opportunity, the U.S should be willing to provide it. Land and resources can only be given by mother nature, if the government continues to break their promises and take whatever they want, there may not be any land left to compromise with.


Coral C.