Transformation of Natives in Kansas Essay

 

Transformation of Natives in Kansas.

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Beginning in the 1820s, the area that would become Kansas (by then popularly known as the Great American Desert) was “permanently” set aside as Indian territory by the U.S. government, and was closed to settlement by whites. Although early nineteenth century Kansas was vast in territory, the land was mostly unpopulated. This cheap abundant land along with the dream of a better life lured farmers from the east to start their lives in Kansas. Indians did not see land as a source of profit as many European individuals and business concerns did, but rather as the direct source of life. The vast majority of native peoples had no concept of private ownership of land. Lands and the right to use them were held by entire communities or extended kin groups.

To fully utilize Indian territory, the U.S. government resettled Native American tribes already present in eastern Kansas, principally the Kansa and Osage, opening land to move eastern tribes into the area. By treaty dated June 3, 1825, 20 million acres (81000 km²) of land was ceded by the Kansa Nation to the United States, and the Kansa tribe was thereafter limited to a specific reservation in northeast Kansas. In the same month, the Osage Nation was limited to a reservation in southeast Kansas.

Despite the extensive plans that were made to settle Native Americans in Kansas, by 1850 white Americans were illegally squatting on their land and clamoring for the entire area to be opened for settlement.

Realizing that their land and autonomy were in danger, in 1852 and 1853 the Wyandots attempted to establish a Territorial government in their section of Indian territory. In 1853, they convened a convention, composed of thirteen delegates, at which a constitution for their territory was formed. A Wyandot named William Walker was elected provisional governor pursuant to this constitution and a delegate was sent to Congress. However, because Kansas was not an official Territory, the delegate was not received by Congress. (In the long run, this movement by the Wyandots came too little, and much of the tribe later moved to land in the future state of Oklahoma.)

The sovereignty of Indian tribes was conveniently applied by Europeans to establish the credibility of their negotiated rights to previously held tribal tracts of land. Yet, in relations with the Indians, the Europeans at best treated tribal sovereignty as limited sovereignty—an often-used contradiction with an implicit notion of colonial self-interest. And the treaty-making process granting rights to Indians was usually one of forced concession or calculated deception on the part of whites for ulterior motives.

We submit that one of the most valuable and essential processes that humanity can engage in, and which is therefore essential to look at in terms of information technologies, is the process of ”self-determination.” Even in certain agricultural or fishing societies where particular fields or fishing stations were assigned to individuals, the entire community shared the produce or catch.

Reference:

Scott Dalrymple,”Kansas History.” The Rise and fall of Goldsmith’s 26 (2003) :238-252

 

 

 

 

 

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