Discussion Board

Below are some questions to help guide your discussion on the oppression of Indigenous peoples. Please answer each of the following.

  1. Identify 3 take-aways (important things to remember) from this week’s recorded lecture and explain how you will apply these reminders in social work practice.
  2. Describe how the story of Christopher Columbus that you learned as a child differs from the depiction offered by indigenous people in the video Columbus and the legacy of genocide.
  3. Describe the similarities and differences in the experiences of the 5 tribes in The Indian Removal Act. What are some enduring, modern-day injustices from the trail of tears?
  4. In the video, Changing the Way We See Native Americans, this speaker details the resilience of indigenous peoples. Why do you think it is important to modernize the perception of indigenous peoples from the stereotype of the “leathered and feathered”?

Note: Respond to at least two other classmates’ questions, then provide a rejoinder to at least one comment on your own original post.  The point of this is to facilitate an actual back-and-forth discussion so you’re interacting with the course materials, with each other, and with me. To give your colleagues enough time to respond, please make your original post by Wednesday, and responses/rejoinders are due Sunday by midnight.

Indigenous Peoples Oppression

First Nations/Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native

Native Americans • 1.2% of US, 8.9% of Oklahoma • History steeped in exploitation

through the westward expansion. • Historical Discriminatory Policy: • Land usage • Child welfare • War policy • Boarding Schools

Native Americans • Forcibly moved to Indian Territory from homelands • Long history of European Cultural Racism and Colonialism.

Native Peoples Inventions/Contributions • Almanacs • American Football • Anesthetics • Apartment blocks • Aqueducts • Aspirin • Beans • Bulletproof vest • Calendars • Canals • Chewing gum • Chocolate • Dams • Dog breeds • Embalming • Freeze drying

• Hamocks • Harpoons • Hickey • Horse breeds • Igloos • Inca road systems • Jerky • Lacrosse • Longitude and Latitude • Maple syrup • Mathematics with a Zero • Metallurgy • Painting • Parkas • Peanuts

• Petroleum • Pineapple • Potato chips • Pottery • Pyramids • Rubber • Snow shoes • Sundials • Suspension bridge • Syringe • Tobacco • Tug of War • Unbrellas • Vanilla • Water Gun • Whoopee cushion • Writing system

Native Americans • 567 federally acknowledged tribes (2017)

• Over 200 languages • Over 50% live in urban, suburban, or rural non-reservation areas

Crazy Horse Memorial 16 miles from Mt. Rushmore

Native Americans

• History from Columbus forward: • Removal from their land • False or broken treaties • Location and relocation to

reservations • Forced boarding schools • Outlawing of native language • Banning spiritual traditions • Banding former enemies into same

tribal space

Native American history • The Allotment Act of 1887 • Cultural assimilation and genocide • Congress legislatively terminated 109 Indian

tribes • Ethnocide through creation of boarding

schools • Children forcibly sent • Cut hair • Forbidden to wear cultural clothes • Forbidden from speaking native language • Forbidden from forming minority cultural identity

• Attempt to “civilize” Native Americans produced considerable generational trauma

Social and Health Problems • Poverty and acculturation have negatively impacted health practices

• Disproportionate number of social and health problems • Overrepresented in the child welfare system • Higher rates of certain health problems • Among the poorest people • Drug and alcohol use • High suicide rates • Chronic Unemployment • Child/elder abuse and neglect • Victims of violent crime (more than twice the national average)

• 31% of Native Americans die before 35th birthday • Poverty and acculturation have negatively impacted health practices

Mental Health and Substance


Pain Fear

Anxiety Depression Frustration

Low Self-Esteem Economic uncertainty



Oppression Social Injustice


Economic Instability

Diversity in Traditions • Remember that there are many difference among

indigenous groups. • Culture is bound by geography, nationality, history, food, etc. • Differences in cultural practices and meanings are to be

expected • Differences in food:

• Indians of the Northwest lived on Salmon, whaling, shellfish and gathering fruits and vegetables

• Indians of the California foothills survived on acorns and small game

• Indians of the Southwest grew corn • Plains Indians hunted buffalo

• Differences in Housing: Wigwams, Longhouses, Tepees, Lodges, Igloos, Daub houses, Chickees, Adobe Houses, Plank houses

• Family centered collectivist attitude is often a reflection of religious orientation

• Generally spirituality emphasizes deep attachment to the land: derive meanings from the rivers, mountains, and valleys

• Emphasize biological, spiritual and physical connections

Native American Family Beliefs and Rituals • Native Americans are not homogenous

• Great diversity between groups

• Kinship ties are a central cultural aspect • Primacy of the extended family • Grandparents remain important influence

• Responsible for youth acquiring traditions and beliefs

• Society discounts Native American religious traditions’ role in health problems and healing practices • Healing connected with religion and



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