I found the following essay/report in my file cabinet and thought it would be a good idea to share it to the Ifagalz community. I totally forgot the name of the film I was writing this short essay on but one thing that I remembered was my connection to that film. It relates well to our island nations during the colonization era from the trading days to the enslavement of our people during the Japanese occupation. I am sure I was a sophomore at Oregon State University when I wrote this. It could be earlier though. Here is the essay.
The Treaties and Sovereignty of the Indian People
In this essay, I will discuss some of the most important compromises that the Indian Tribes entered into, what they demanded to keep, and the reason behind these compromises.
First and foremost, the Indian Tribes were giving up lands. And as discussed in the video, the elders were already predicting that it would happen, that one day they would loose their lands to outsiders. The video mentioned that the only and the smartest way to deal with the encroachment of the white man unto their land is to give up some of that land. If they were to fight, they were going to loose more than they would gain. From that, we can conclude that the treaties were entered into by the Indian Tribes to gain peace with the white man and is a way to keep the Indian Tribes survive.
It should also be understood that the encroachment was a destruction to the Indian Tribe’s way of life. The Indian Tribes were moved from their lands and gave up most of what they do. They moved to reservations and away from what they normally do, whether it be farming, trapping, etc.. One could rightly argue that the United States was committing ethnocide by its destruction of the Indian people’s way of life.
As the video showed, Indian Tribes were not ready and didn’t give up the right to fish and hunt in all the “usual and customary places.” It was part of our readings and lectures that the Indian peoples hold dear to their rights of fishing, especially the Columbia River Tribes. They looked at it as the only way of keeping their culture going. The Indian peoples felt that they owe it to their coming generations as well as the past generations to keep their cultures alive. We also learned from the video as well as the lectures in our class that the “treaties must be interpreted according to how native Indians understood them; if rights are not specifically given away, then it is assumed that they are retained.”
To close out the essay, it is very important that I stressed the fact that the most important thing to understand from the treaties is that two “Sovereign Nations” were negotiating treaties in the name of peace. And as we came to know, “treaties are agreements between two Sovereign Nations.” That is between the United States of American and the Indian Country.
There were over 300 students in my class. I think it was the largest class size I ever attended. I was really nervous and scared the first week but really enjoyed the atmosphere. I was fortunate that the professor gave me an “A” in this class. I honestly thought that I would fail it. I guess grading 300 essays can make the professor to loose her concentration and ended up putting an “A” on my papers and for whatever reason gave me an A as my final grade. Hahahaha.
It’s your turn to grade it. Be honest and tell me what you think. I’ve already had a few things that I thought I would change if I go back in time.