‘the Actions of Native Americans Themselves Contributed Nothing to the Advancement of Their Civil Rights in the Period 1865 to 1992’. Essay

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‘The actions of Native Americans themselves contributed nothing to the advancement of their civil rights in the period 1865 to 1992’.

Native Americans admittedly, did surprisingly little in the initial two thirds of the period, despite the Plains Wars and other small-localized armed resistance during the nineteenth century; the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1889 effectively marked the end to such resistance. Whilst it can be argued that their efforts were at best lukewarm during the beginning, in the closing third of the period, the Native Americana ‘movement’, galvanized by the African American civil rights campaign and revolutionary zeitgeist became increasingly active and forceful in the advancement of their civil rights. Thus the
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This more robust approach, which came to be known as ‘Red Power’, despite its lack of approval by some Native Americans, did help achieve the restoration of some rights, however its importance is due more to the attention it attracted rather than legitimate advances. Whilst arguably the legalistic approach of the NCAI and NARF was not only more conductive to Native Americans anti-violence beliefs but also proved more effective, the ‘Red Power’ movement was essential to magnetize attention and support for the cause.

It is evident that for the first two thirds of the period, Native Americans in fact contributed little, with their campaigns muted at best. However this is largely a result of federal government policy of assimilation and the various failed attempts it made to achieve this. Nonetheless the absence of activity during this period can perhaps be annulled by the sudden spurt of campaign action towards the end of the period. Whilst the movement was fragmented between the non-violent legalistic approach of the NCAI and NARF, and the more provocative resistance that came from AIM and the ‘Red Power’ movement, it is doubtfully the combination of both groups that resulted in the restoration of most Native American rights. Therefore, it is dishonest to state that they contributed nothing to the advancement of their civil rights, as they played a significant role with their co-operation vital to progress. Yet, they cannot hold full