‘The policies of the Federal Government failed to support the civil rights of Native Americans’ To what extent do you agree with this view of the period from 1865-1992?
It is apparent that the policies of Federal Government failed to support the civil rights of Native American’s due to a lack of clarity in their policies about what civil rights for Native Americans should be. There is however a similar discrepancy between Native Americans themselves who were also indecisive about what their civil rights mean to them. This proposes that although the paternalistic views of Federal government hindered and failed to support civil rights of Native Americans the Native Americans also played a part in their own lack of self-determination.
The 1903 Lone Wolf v Hitchcock case is an example of Federal Government failing to support Native American rights and also displays the government annulling previous legislation made prior to the turn of the century to help Native Americans become American Citizens. The Lone Wolf v Hitchcock case concluded in a Supreme Court decision that enabled Federal Government to dispose of Indian land without the need to gain consent of the Indians involved. This makes Federal Government seem unsympathetic to the rights of Native Americans because they are seen not to support Native civil rights as they aim to ensure that Federal Government power and dominative control is maintained. This therefore supports the view that Federal Government failed to support the civil rights of Native Americans as they ensured White Anglo-Saxon Protestant command was their only priority, otherwise they wouldn’t have continued to discriminate Native Americans when they tried to assert their rights. The Lone Wolf v Hitchcock reverts all progress made by the 1887 Dawes Severalty Act, which gave citizenship to some tax paying Native Americans. The Dawes Act is however extremely ostensible. The Dawes Act disproves the view by showing Federal Government supporting Native civil rights by being the first major legislation to benefit their role in society. However, ultimately the view is proved correct as the Dawes Act placed many uneducated Natives in debt and many Natives were never fully able to utilize the vote by facing discrimination when attempting to do so. Also seeming to further assimilate Native Americans than support them from gaining civil rights. Ergo, Federal Government did fail to support the civil rights of Native Americans by means of reverting prior legislation to ensure the authority of Federal Government was maintained, hindering Native American liberation.