Charlestown, Indiana is a city with a rich history and culture. Established in 1808, it was named after one of its surveyors, Charles Beggs. The city was home to Jonathan Jennings, Indiana's first state governor, and was known for its mills. Each year, the town square along Main Street is transformed into a Christmas town with light displays and festive activities, giving Charlestown its reputation as Southern Indiana's Christmas town.
Long before the terms “Native American” or “Indian” were necessary, tribes spread across the Americas. Archaeologists have discovered very advanced structures and public works that were built by the ancestors of the Sioux, Cherokee or Iroquois tribes. These Native Americans had a profound connection with nature and developed their customs and legacy without interference. The English, French and Spanish rushed to divide the “New World” by sending ill-prepared colonists as quickly as possible.
At first, they faced alarmed Indians on the east coast of the United States. But that soon gave way to trade, because the Europeans who arrived here learned that their survival was doubtful without the help of the natives. This was followed by decades of relative peace as the colonists settled on U. S.
soil. However, the pressure to move inland came soon after. Kings and queens thousands of miles away were anxious to find additional resources, and some colonists came in search of freedom and opportunity. And so began the process of keeping American Indians out of the way. It took the form of cash payments, bartering and, as is well known, treaties that were almost systematically ignored after the Indians were expelled from the land in question. Government policies toward Native Americans in the second half of the 19th century were motivated by a desire to expand westward to the areas occupied by these Native American tribes.
In the 1850s, nearly all Native American tribes, approximately 360,000, lived west of the Mississippi River. These American Indians were confined to Indian territory located in present-day Oklahoma while the Kiowa and Comanche Native American tribes shared the territory of the Southern Plains. Sioux, crows and blackfeet ruled the northern plains. These Native American groups experienced adversity as the constant flow of European immigrants to the cities of the northeastern United States brought an influx of immigrants to Western lands already occupied by these diverse groups of Indians. The beginning of the 19th century in the United States was marked by its continuous expansion into the Mississippi River. However, due to the Gadsden purchase that led to U.
control of New Mexico and Arizona together with authority over Oregon, Texas and California; expansion would not end there. Between 1830 and 1860, nearly double amount of land under U. control was acquired. Native American politics can be defined as regulations and procedures developed and adapted in order to summarize relationship between Native American tribes and federal government.
When United States initially became a sovereign country it adopted European policies with respect to local peoples but over course of two centuries it adapted its own regulations with respect to changing perspectives and requirements of Native American supervision. In 1824 in order to apply American law Congress created a new office within War Department called Office of Indian Affairs which worked directly with U. S. At times federal government recognized Indians as independent and autonomous political communities with different cultural identities; however other times government tried to force Native American tribes to abandon their cultural identity renounce their lands and assimilate into American customs.
With constant flow of colonists to Indian-controlled lands Eastern newspapers broadcast sensational stories about wild native tribes who committed mass massacres of hundreds of white travelers. Although some colonists lost their lives due to American Indian attacks this was not norm at all; in fact Native American tribes repeatedly helped colonists cross plains. The American Indians not only sold wild game animals and other essential items to travelers but they also served as guides and messengers between wagons and trains. To allay these concerns in 1851 United States presented a conference with several local indigenous tribes and established Fort Laramie Treaty.
Under this treaty each Native American tribe acceded to limited territory allowed government to build roads and forts in this territory and pledged never to persecute colonists; in return federal government pledged to respect boundaries of each tribe's territory and make total annual payments to Indians. In series of new treaties United States ordered Native Americans to surrender their land and move to reserves in exchange for protecting themselves from attacks by white colonists. In addition Indians were allocated an annual stipend that would include money in addition to food livestock household items and agricultural equipment.