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Word Count: 2,943
The American Indian Genocide Textbooks and movies are still hiding the genocide of Native American Indian cultures which began five centuries ago There were many friendly and close relationships between early immigrant settlers and native peoples but these were not the main current in their relations US history is destroyed by acts of genocide against native people made worse by the deadly impact of new diseases spread by contact between new settlers and native Americans Many aggressive attempts were made to reform the Indian peoples according to European cultural models whether under threat of death or later through separation to government boarding schools Government policies guided the destruction and control of native American cultures concluding in the problematic status of Indian people today Despite this historical situation there has been only the most begrudging admission of any public responsibility for the damage done to native American cultures Little public support has gone to efforts to preserve retrieve and build upon native cultural traditions Where affirmative steps are called for none has been taken Chief among the US governments initiatives toward native peoples has been the reservation -- remarkably like the former South African homelands The current laissez-faire federal policy pretends that Native American cultures are now free to enjoy an even chance in our society to compete for resources with dominant cultural forms and traditions The official alternative to the reservation has been pressure to assimilate into the mainstream culture Through much of the time that Native American peoples have endured this cultural combat the idea of the Indian has been a powerful symbol within our national culture We usually see Indian people portrayed as brutal and warmongering worthy of punishment at the hands of white settlers and the US government Nevertheless Indian influences on contemporary United States culture are extensive In Hollywood films and western novels and cowboy art Indians have symbolized connectedness and sensitivity to nature and the loss of the wilderness highly
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