Summarize your findings on the fate of the North American Indians.
The fate of the North American Indians was a complex and tragic one. Over the years, the indigenous tribes of North America have evolved a variety of cultures, traditions, and languages. Still, because of their primarily solitary existence, they needed to be equipped to adapt to the technical and cultural innovations that the Europeans brought with them. New illnesses, including smallpox, measles, and influenza, were spread by the immigrants as they crossed the continent, decimating the local inhabitants. They developed various weapons and technology, giving them an advantage over the native population who lacked these resources. The Europeans also upended local tribes’ old cultures and habits, compelling them to embrace their cultural norms and behaviors. It often involved the forcible removal of native peoples from their traditional homelands and the establishment of new settlements on the land. Furthermore, the Europeans often introduced harsh laws and punishments for those who failed to comply with the new rules.
These modifications led to a sharp decline in North America’s indigenous population. The number of indigenous people had decreased to a tiny percentage of what it had been just a few centuries earlier by the early 20th century. The fact that many tribes were put into reservations, where they could not access resources and traditional livelihoods, contributed to this decrease. The aboriginal population of North America is still considerably less than before European settlers arrived. Several organizations are devoted to defending and maintaining their culture and traditions, and many prosperous indigenous villages are still spread out over the continent (Catlin, 2012). Despite the tragic history of the North American Indians, their legacy continues to live on in the many cultural, and spiritual traditions passed down through generations.
Relate what you have learned to theories from Diamond and Wallerstein.
The fate of the North American Indians is a classic example of how world systems theory works in action. Native Americans were forced from their land, and their traditions and practices altered when European immigrants first came to North America. Native populations changed to the periphery due to this forced relocation, which resulted in forming a core-periphery system where the Europeans controlled the resources. Due to their access to weaponry and technology, the Europeans could exploit the local populace and conquer their lands. As a result of the rapid spread of illnesses among their groups and the removal of their traditional means of subsistence, the native population saw a catastrophic decline.
The situation also supports Diamond’s environmental determinism theory. This concept holds that environmental factors have a significant role in the development of civilization. In the case of the North American Indians, their lack of access to weapons and technology placed them at a considerable disadvantage against the Europeans, and the arrival of the immigrants quickly changed their traditional traditions and behaviors (Fekadu, 2014). As a result, a core-periphery structure that has persisted in North America for millennia was developed, which caused the native population to dwindle.
Does your research challenge any of your previous perceptions?
My research on the fate of the North American Indians has challenged some of my previous perceptions. I had believed that Native Americans in North America had always been a small minority and that European settlers had not significantly contributed to their dwindling numbers. I now see that the Europeans greatly influenced the indigenous population and that the relocation of indigenous peoples and the disturbance of their cultures and practices resulted in a sharp population decline. It has served as a potent reminder that history is not always as simple as it may appear and that one group’s actions can have a lasting, significant impact on another.