Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

The period after 1800

Category: History

In the beginning of XVIII century the public and cultural life of Indians of the mid Atlantic coast was on the lowest level of development. Their modern history is a slow and hurting process of awakening of their national consciousness as reactions of Indians to the attitude to them prevailing among the white population.

If we look at the life of Indians during the period close by 1800 it will seem to us rather heavy, and Indians – as people sprayed among villages, farms and estates of the white. Their wigwams and small kitchen gardens process able by women, « squaw patches », could be found in the most remote places which were avoided by the white.

Some of these places had been transformed into state reservations for Indians; others are recognized unsuitable for living. Here small groups of squatters settled. In these areas people started to forget about Indians who had lost the originality in general. They were dissolved among Negroes and the white poor men who had lodged together with them. Some Indians left the communities and were sent to wander, where they could.

The income of these groups and betribled ramps consisted of casual earnings in whaling, on farms and in the manors belonging to the white, and income from the sale of handicraft various products. As Indians avoided employment in agriculture more reliable means of reception of the income for them became tenancy to white farmers of the reservation grounds.

After a significant part of American Indian tribes were moved to the West, the internal life of American Indian communities had been weakened by fractional struggle of two groups: the central group of “Indians” and peripheral group of metises. A core of American Indian group were old “leading” families which consisted of rather thoroughbred Indians, kept alive owing to their traditionally limited connections to the marriage.

They considerably differed from families which African ancestors for a long time had lodged here, and also families in which American Indian and European blood had been mixed. The central group aspired to observance of traditional connections to the marriage in “leading” American Indian families, preferring endogamy to the introduction into a marriage with metises or Negros.

Approximately in 1800 hereditary transfer of authority of the leader had given a up the place to annually elected trustees, however the actual management remained in hands of American Indian “fraction”.

It is necessary to note, that growth of the population in these areas occured mainly for the account of “fraction” of metises. After the War of Independence Negros from New England were hidden among  Indians to not be sent to the South, many Negros had lodged among Indians during the period between 1820 and 1860 when the slavery had been cancelled in the North of the country, and many stations « Underground iron thresholds »1 were near to American Indian reservations.

About 1830 American Indian wigwams had replaced pity hovels blown by all winds, and it had completed the picture of rural slums. Originally American Indian crafts gradually disappeared. There were only wum baskets and other products with a bright ornament and the groove on a whale bone American Indian whale hunters. The need for wum products for New England had so increased that for their manufacture special adaptations had been designed. They allowed producing products from narrow stripes of fibres, gradually superseding wider on which it was only possible to develop decorative art whose decline began in periods between 1850 and 1870.

Whaling during the period about 1860 also falls into decay. This process coincided with growth of the white population, development of iron highways and the beginning of tourism. A high degree of urbanization around big cities and development of summer resorts incessantly increased the price for the ground and were the reason of incessant attempts to drive Indians from the rest of their grounds.

This activity of speculators by the real estate proceeds up to this day. Three racial structures of American Indian groups had been used by such people as the proof of those American Indian groups had disappeared or at least those they any more do not adhere to the old laws forbidding mised marriages. On the other hand, such groups as Mohauks from the east part of Long Island which had appreciably obeyed discrimination laws on marriages became so numerically small and closely connected related ties, as they had been declared dying out.


1 ‘The Secret Path’ in 1820-1860 was a chain of shelters for run-away slaves on the way to Canada from the slave states


Certainly, the groups of Indians living outside of reservations, were more numerous, but they were compelled to break up or violently moved to even more unfit for human habitation places. Thus the brutal policy of white colonizers concerning Indians caused and strengthened friction between metises and Indians in reservations.

Internal conflicts and development of tourism have caused to life some kind of neoindian culture and interbreeding activity which are characteristic now for coastal groups. This modern indeanism at best is vaguely similar to the culture of Indians. The inner world of former times gradually disappeared together with the language, and the traditions kept till present time by old men of Indians, basically will consist of hunting and fishing.

Attempts of renovation of the lost sack rounds are characteristic for the modern period. These new phenomena in the life of Indians were a repeated process of updating after the period of disintegration of culture. Neoindeanism uses the interbreeding connections advanced by American Indian whale hunters and wandering sellers of baskets, and also vague memoirs of the past with a light colouring of romanticism — a literary fashion of that period. White inhabitants of cities, founders of this romanticism, now come as tourists, refusing to trust that already there are no those heroic Indians — people of the first boundaries.

Early displays of this neoindeanism were the phenomenon of a fashion among  Indians for long hair (about 1880г.), revival of American Indian names (Tekumse Cook, Pokahontas Pharao, etc.). Then the fashion for traditional forms of the American Indian clothes made in the city of Brothertown in Wisconsin and by Mohauks in San-Reggae appeared. As a push to this activity of such etiologists, as James Mooni and Frank Speck, Indians working among these groups in the period about 1900 has to a certain extent served.

They as well as some other white friends of Indians, promoted the organization of Pow-wow2 and other ostentatious shows. Annual pow-wow has undertaken some social functions of religious June holidays disappearing among Indians. Iroques play   an important role and the western Indians as well who have appeared in New York in about 1930. They attend pow-wow dancing of   coastal tribes, and those are their diligent pupils.

Thus, the way of the statement of ethnic consciousness has arisen at coastal Indians under external influence. Attempts of the American Indian groups living outside of reservations are connected to movement of neoindeanism as well, to achieve officially their recognition as Indians. They try to attend federal American Indian schools in the western states, bring claims on payment of the grounds seized from them, in particular for Manhattan Island.


2 ‘Pow wow’ – is an Indian festival where worship dressing dances, songs, and organized games were performed, the people exchanged with speeches and presents. These festivals attracted tourists and brought money to the Indians, and since the middle of the XX century they turned into one of the all Indian movement institute in the fight for their right   for their native culture.


Taking into account racism of the local white population, neoindeanism, undoubtedly, rendered positive influence on public and private life of Indians, It was considered, that it had revived self-esteem, self-respect and spirit of a collectivism of Indians owing to which relations with metises in many respects have lost a former acuteness.

From the time of the Second World War trustees of American Indian tribes became progressive young people which are not natives extremely from a nucleus of old American Indian families. Moreover, nowadays the traditional nucleus of an American Indian society will consist mainly of families which hundred years ago still belonged to marginal groups.

Usually they establish the relationship with the dyed out American Indian families through mothers or grandmothers. And it is valid; the majority of Indians of coastal groups remember still some old women as last “thoroughbred” Indian women. Their daughters and the grand daughters play the important role in preservation of the basic cultural wealth of the given group.

Completely not having disappeared, Indian reservations for last decades in connection with growth of tourism and a suburbanization get less isolated from other part of the country that has opened some extra sources of means for Indians.

It is necessary to note, that delivery of the ground has gone to rent on a loss in connection with reducing of interest to employment (occupation) by agriculture with the white population, and seasonal work in places of rest and employment in growing industries find wider application.

Nevertheless, within winter period many American Indian families require help. Improvement of automobiles and growth of cost of life have caused inflow of the population in reservations, free from taxes. Opportunities of reception of education have increased, especially after badly equipped schools in reservations of Long Island were closed, and children have gone to the mixed schools of nearby cities. It can seem that education promotes social and economic progress, and however the world of poverty is impossible to destroy only with the help of education.

It is necessary to note, that among separate groups of Indians so-called “colour fractionism ”prevents any joint activity. The small groups of Indians living outside of reservations pass the process of assimilation with the population among which they live though the traditional nucleus of American Indian families is not inclined to leave the place of a former residence or remains nearby from them.

From the beginning of XX century the tendency of growth of the American Indian population, both in reservations, and in the large groups, living outside reservations is observed.

Birth rate in these Indian-metise groups was and remains higher than in any r racial or an ethnic group in the United States. Due to the better, than earlier, health services the death rate, and from here a little decreased, population has increased. In 1960 in the south of New England it was totaled on the territory of it to the number of 4165 descendants of coastal Algonkins, in state New York – 2000 people, in state New Jersey-1699, in states Delawares and Maryland – 2135, in state Virginia – 2155 people. These groups, probably, for long time will stay socially detached from the American society as a whole.

« ||| »

Comments are closed.