The British Empire in the 18th and 19th century conquered many countries including the United States of America, as it was their tradition the British mistreated the Native Americans just like they had killed, maimed and took land of the Natives of other countries they had conquered. In his book “a different Mirror”, Takaki brings out the suffering the American Natives underwent from their own perspective.
When the British started pouring into America, they did not take into concern of the people living there; they were only interested in taking the land away from the Natives. The British had low regards of the Natives way of life and regarded the Indians as savages, beasts, and other names such as cannibals, and uncivilized Heathens. The British did not like the Indians way of life, they said that the “they lived like herds of deer” (Takaki, pg 33).
The British that their culture was much superior to any other culture in the United States and their way of life much civilized that the Native Americans. They therefore classified the Indians as animals. As more British came to the United States the Natives slowly became the minority, the high numbers of the British meant that they needed more space to settle. In order to the space Indians were evicted from their land and whoever resisted was killed without a second thought. The perception that they were superior pushed the British to even kill Indians and ravage their land as they were animals that were not fit to live amongst them (Takaki, pg 34).
The need to get more land by the British and to push the Indians out resulted to the enacting of a bill known as the Indian Removal Act. The act was enacted on the 28th of May 1830 by Andrew Jackson (Takaki 33). The act directed that the Native Indians should trade the land they wee occupying for another land to the west of the Mississippi. The act was not however without conditions, the president promised “aid” for those people who wanted to move or to those who were moving. The Indians were also assured that the land they were trading would always belong to them regardless who were occupying it, the rule however an exception. The treaty stated that if “Indians become extinct, or abandon the same” then “…such lands shall revert to the United States”. The Indians were also offered protection from any harassment if they moved. After examining the treaty and the accompanying promises, five different tribes resolved to move to the land on the other side of Mississippi with the destination being Oklahoma also known as the Indian Territory (Takaki, pg 33).
Trail of Tears
Over 70,000 Natives embarked on the trek to Oklahoma, a journey that took almost ten years to reach Oklahoma. The trek was given the name Trail of Tears due to the big number of the Natives who died. What had looked as a good deal soon turned into tears as a big number of Natives died along the way due to exhaustion and starvation. One of the tribes that were moving known as the Cherokee lost approximately 3,000 members. The other tribes also lost thousands of their members, and for those who were lucky enough to get to Oklahoma a majority were not spared by diseases and died as a result (Takaki, pg 53).
Nez Perce Tribe
The Nez Perce Tribe was not willing to the designated lands, thus about 750 members of the tribe moved to Montana. They managed to settle in Montana but were not aware of an impending attack from Howard, having fought before to protect their land the Montana attack took them by surprise a significant number of people were killed. Sensing that the whole tribe might be wiped out the chief surrendered and eventually the tribe was forcefully moved to the one of the reservation. In the reservations the natives were not allowed to move freely as they used to, the living conditions were not favorable and a majority died of diseases and hunger (Takaki, pg 53).
The Indians were not the only persons that the British killed or mistreated the African Americans were also tortured by the British, made to work for long hours. Some African –Americans even died from being overworked by the British. The British regarded the African-Americans as uncivilized, and animals. The British were however afraid of the African – Americans, they could not tell what their emotions were the British could not tell when they were angry or happy. Even when mistreated to the extreme the African – Americans did not care, this resulted in the British calling them“Sambo” (Takaki, pg 106). The British however did not bar the African- Americans from living with them; this is because they needed their manpower unlike the Indians (Takaki, pg 50).
The British used intimidation so as to look superior to the other tribes; they knew it was only by instilling fear in the Natives by killing them, taking their land and destroying their crops that they could control them. They had no respect for the cultures of the other tribes and worked hard to destroy them, as they realized there were some cultures that brought the tribes together which could work to their disadvantage.
Takaki, Ronald T.. A different mirror: a history of multicultural America. New York: sage, 2010. Print.