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Sensitivity to Native American Beliefs and Their Conflict with Goals of Development - Research Paper Example

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Sensitivity to Native American Beliefs and Their Conflict with Goals of Development

The case of the hydroelectric projects that came up in America during the 1950s and 60s is a case in point. The building of dams such as the Grand Coulee Dam and the Garrison Dam at sites that were earlier graveyards of Native American tribes indicates insensitivity to the needs of groups that are in a minority. Apart from this, it also reminds one of the cruel colonial past of the United States of America, the foundation of which required the wiping out of entire tribes that were native to this area. This paper shall look into the causes of such conflicts and try to understand their causes and also the role that can be played by Native American tribes in the resolution of this conflict. The United States of America had announced a change from its earlier policy of providing a certain special status to them, from the mid 1940s to the middle of the 60s. It then advocated an approach that would enable the tribes to become a part of the mainstream as NATIVE AMERICAN BELIEFS AND DEVELOPMENT 3 individual members and not as a collective that would maintain its identity. As a part of this policy, which was called the Indian Termination Policy, Native Americans would be made subject to the state laws and would have to pay the taxes that normal Americans had to. This, on the surface, may seem like a broad-minded approach to preserving the integrity of the nation; however, it is not only short-sighted but also problematic when one considers the fact that this would mean the erasure of the history and the culture that the Native American tribes believed in and the ways of life that they followed. Relevant to the purpose of this paper is the clause in the acts that were formulated during this period according to which a lot of land lost the protected status that was granted to it earlier. As a result, it became possible for a lot of land that was considered sacred by certain Native American tribes to be acquired for the purposes of constructing dams and other buildings. This created a lot of tension between the tribes and the government and a lot of the tribes took to approaching the judiciary as a means of redressing their grievances. This led to long drawn out battles that ended in some tribes regaining the sovereignty that they had lost to the government. However, their lands which had been sites of burial had already been lost to huge hydroelectric projects that could not be displaced. This gives rise to the question as to where the fault lies and to whether the question could have been dealt with in a better manner. The question of whether the rights of the tribes could have coexisted with that of the goals of development is a significant NATIVE AMERICAN BELIEFS AND DEVELOPMENT 4 one since the answer may be able to provide directions and guidelines for the future that may enable lesser conflicts arising from insensitivity to the concerns of various ethnicities. Establishment of dams leads to the displacement of people from their traditional ways of living that is based on the flora and fauna of the particular place in which they live. Displacement from these regions leads to trauma that accompanies the loss of identity that these people face as a result of the loss of the modes of living that they are used to. The rights of the t ...Show more
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RUNNING HEAD: NATIVE AMERICAN BELIEFS AND DEVELOPMENT 1 Sensitivity to Native American beliefs and their conflict with goals of development Author Note Name, Department, University, Correspondence address. NATIVE AMERICAN BELIEFS AND DEVELOPMENT 2 Sensitivity to Native American Beliefs The United States of America has been described as the melting pot of various cultures by many…
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