Damage and Depletion of Resources Severely Affect Their Cultural Identity

When considering the sacred and holistic connection land has to the Native Americans, it is clear to me how the development and implementation of reservations and their policies that have spurred problems on their economic, political, and social stability have also disrupted their cultural identity and health.

The control of the BIA via these policies and the resulting implications as discussed in the previous section also ultimately led to the abduction of sacred homelands to the abuse of resources within reserve land, which in turn, I think, has become an additional factor to the environmental instability, damage, and decline in the resources available to the Natives gravely affecting their cultural identity and health.

As discussed in God is Red: Thinking in Time and Space by Deloria, the conflict between the Native Americans and the Western world regarding land and policies sources from differences in their worldviews. Native Americans place importance on their environment where as the Western world, which focuses on history as the basis of their ideologies, pressures their inapplicable ideologies onto completely different cultures with different circumstances.

Deloria discusses how the Western world’s inability to see the importance of the environment has caused differences between them and the Natives especially in the ways land is used.

Similarly, in The New Trail of Tears, Naomi Schaefer Riley identifies the reason why American Indians face the problems they face today is because of their different approaches to life, politics, and wealth. While their history of violence have contributed to their suffering, Riley states “that federal government policies of today have left American Indians in a deplorable state” (Riley, 2016, p.

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8). In most recent news, I believe westward expansion and the historical acceptance of taking advantage of Native land has led to the current manipulation of Native land by polluting their waters today, as government forces have permitted the building of the access pipeline to run from North Dakota to Illinois, which is Native land. This violation has not found justice because of the history of overlooking Indian rights.

In my opinion, Deloria and Riley are completely right in comparing the two ideologies and in proving how the misunderstanding and ignorance of Native American identity and way of life has hampered the improvement of Native Americans as a minority because in most cases, majority rules. In drawing comparison from the literature mentioned in the previous section to Deloria and Riley, I believe that it has been their differences that are at the source of why Native Americans are constantly suppressed onto reservations in which they cannot grow and the Western World easily takes advantage of the land for the sake of business and politics at the cost of the Native American. Furthermore, Native culture heavily depends on the land around them, but they are being deprived of the land that bears their food and that ignites their spirituality, and rather, Native way of life is being decided by reservation policies. As a result, I think reserve land has become damaged and lacking in resources and has caused a disconnect from the Natives and the world around them.

Drawing from the sources mentioned, I think that this resulting damage in land and resources within reservations have further disconnected Native from the food sources and natural resources that are a major part of their culture significantly affecting their health. A lack of food sources damaged by abuse of land along with a corrupted education and way of life, has weakened Native Americans physical and mental health because of the shift from a whole, natural food diet to one of processed, GMO foods. This has created higher rates of death among the Native populations from heart disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and more.

The Native American Aid states, “Due to the link between heart disease, diabetes, poverty, and quality of nutrition and health care, 36% of Natives with heart disease will die before age 65 compared to 15% of Caucasians” (HHS Office of Minority Health, 2001). The Native American Aid (nod) also identifies “the pressures to shift from a traditional way of life toward a Western lifestyle” as having “dramatically impacted the health and welfare of the Native peoples”. Since the forced removal of Natives Americans from their original homelands, Native Americans were placed on land that was not only too small and deficient in resources but were saturated with policies that prohibited the Natives from practicing their religion and controlled them in the way they wanted to use the land.

Indian Youth addresses how the European arrival conquest had single handedly destroyed “many Native communities through forced relocation, welfare, broken treaties… ”. Furthermore, in the time of the Indian Wars, many Native tribes lost their homelands, the land of their ancestors, due to broken treaties and forced relocation. In this relocation, they were separated from the access to natural food and water sources found on their homelands. As a culture dependent upon honoring the land and its resource, the depletion of land and resources disconnected them from their special relationship with land and collecting their food. In light of today, the demise of the Lakota tribe discussed in ‘Lakota in America’ (2017) comes to show how heavily the reservation system created a situation in which they do not have access to economic resources and have, as a effect of this, turned to alcoholism and drug abuse. I believe that such lack in access to healthy foods is the source of some if not all of the health issues affecting Native communities. I think it is important to give Natives control over their resources in order to give them an opportunity to strengthen themselves economically, as well as, define their own identity.

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Damage and Depletion of Resources Severely Affect Their Cultural Identity. (2022, Apr 14). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/damage-and-depletion-of-resources-severely-affect-their-cultural-identity/

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