Conflict - The Native Americans and European Settlers

Read the information on the following web site pages, and the information below, to help you answer the following questions.
Quote and refer to the sources in your answer.
 American west/Manifest_Destiny
 White Settler attitudes towards the Native American Indians

1. What was the attitude of the white European settlers, towards the Native Americans? In your answer mention the white attitude towards the Native American living standards, customs such as polygamy and religion.

2. What problems did the arrival of the whites bring for the Native Americans?

3. What was the attitude of the white European settlers, towards taking land that had traditionally belonged to the Native Americans?

4. Do this quick Quiz and record your score on your book.

5. If you had belonged to one of the early North American Tribes, which tribe would you have liked to belong to?
See this site for help so you can provide your reasons.

6. Look at these two mind maps then in a few sentences answer this question: Do you think the whites and the Native Americans could have done things differently, and achieved peaceful co-existence; Or do you think it was inevitable that there would be war and conquest of the Native Americans by the European settlers?

7. Explore the interactive activities at this site:




  The white man’s opinion of the Plains Indians

As the population of America grew, so people began to move away from the cities and towns onto the plains.

At first the Indians welcomed the settlers – it was their belief that the land should be shared. However, problems soon began.

Horses were not native to North America, they were brought from Europe by the settlers. By the eighteenth century many Indian nations had horses. This meant that they were able move onto the Plains and hunt the buffalo that lived there more easily.

Many tribes gave up farming and became solely reliant on the buffalo for all their needs. They lived a nomadic life following the buffalo herds as they moved across the Plains.

The whites killed buffalo so there was not enough for the Indians, then they began to take over land that had always been used by the Indians. The whites also brought disease with them. A simple cold could make and Indian very ill and some even died.

More than thirty different tribes lived on the Plains. Each had their own area of the Plains and although there was sometimes war between the different tribes, in the main they lived peacefully in their own areas. The map right shows the approximate location of the most famous tribes that inhabited the Great Plains.



Settlers, looking for new places to live and gold seekers travelled across the plains in wagons. They tried to force the Indians off the land. The Indians had no choice but to fight back. Missionaries tried to convert the Indians to Christianity, they believed that this was the right thing to do because the Indians were superstitious savages.

The whites believed that their way of life was the only true way to live. Indian culture was different and so in the whites eyes was inferior. They thought that because the Indians couldn’t build proper houses they were less intelligent. They believed that by teaching the Indians to speak English they were doing the natives a great favour.

American treaties made to settle differences were always broken

War was inevitable

The arrival of Europeans also initiated the decline of the Native Indians. Entire villages were wiped out by diseases such as measles, smallpox, cholera and pneumonia to which the Indians had no inbuilt immunity. Others, forced to leave their traditional hunting and farming lands found it difficult to re-establish themselves elsewhere and suffered malnutrition and death.
Some brief examples of conflict between the White settlers or white government and the Indians:
    The Black Hawk Wars  By Mary Lynn Bushong

In 1804, when Thomas Jefferson was president, he set a policy in action that was intended to civilize the Native Americans as quickly as possible. He wanted to make them all into farmers. When that happened, they would no longer need their wide hunting grounds. Those grounds could be divided up and sold for more farms. The main problem with that was that no one bothered to ask the people if that was what they wanted to do.
      In 1804, a treaty was signed and ratified between the Sauk and Fox people and the Federal government. The tribesmen representing the Sauk and Fox had no authority to make deals for their people. Also, the natives could not read the treaty they were asked to sign. What they were told was in the treaty was not necessarily the truth.
     The Sauk and Fox people were unhappy when the terms of the treaty became known. The Federal government ignored them.
Later treaties had clauses endorsing the 1804 treaty, but when the people could not read, who knows if they were told it was there. They still could not read the language and had to trust the men writing it out.
Copyright © 2007
   The Nez Perce War  By Mary Lynn Bushong
The Nez Perce were a mostly peaceful people who welcomed the Lewis and Clark Expedition team in 1805. They supplied the team with the materials to continue west.
        The Nez Perce were longtime horse lovers and prided themselves in breeding the best, most beautiful horses they could including the Appaloosa breed.
       The lands of this people covered a wide area—from present day Oregon and Washington into Idaho. In 1855, Chief Joseph the Elder helped set up a reservation for his people with the territorial governor. The chief actively wanted peace with the Americans, but he also wanted to protect the interests of his own people.
        A few years later, a gold rush occurred on Nez Perce land. Instead of allowing the native people to profit by this, the federal government took away all the reservation lands, including the part with the gold, except a remaining tenth in Idaho.
Copyright © 2007
For more brief accounts of conflicts between the white settlers and Indians:

Conflicts Between Europeans and Native Americans
     Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons (Grades 5-7)
     Powhatan Confederacy [1622-1644] (Grades 7-9)
     Pequot War [1637] (Grades 7-9)
     Pueblo Revolt [1680-1692] (Grades 7-9)
     Tuscarora and Yamasee Wars (Grades 7-9)
     Prelude to the French and Indian War (Grades 7-9)
     The French and Indian War [1754-1763], Part 1 (Grades 7-9)
     The French and Indian War [1754-1763], Part 2 (Grades 7-9)
     The French and Indian War [1754-1763], Part 3 (Grades 7-9)
     Results of the French and Indian War (Grades 7-9)
     Pontiac's Rebellion, Part 1 [1763-1766] (Grades 7-9)
     Pontiac's Rebellion, Part 2 [1763-1766] (Grades 7-9)
     Lord Dunmore's War [1774] (Grades 7-9)
     Red Stick Conflict [1813-1814] (Grades 7-9)
     The Seminole Wars (Grades 7-9)
     The Navajo Wars (Grades 7-9)

Western Wars
     The Black Hawk War [1832] (Grades 7-9)  SEE ABOVE
     The Rogue [1855-1856] and Red River [1874-1875] Wars (Grades 7-9)
     The Sioux Wars [1854-1890] (Grades 7-9)
     The Ute Wars [1865-1868, 1879] (Grades 7-9)
     The Nez Perce War [1877] (Grades 7-9)   SEE ABOVE