Which US presidents actually tried to benefit Native Americans? Here’s what history says.
Category: History & SociologyVia: hallux • 3 weeks ago • 9 comments
By: Edward Mair
Three presidents get some praise: John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge and Richard Nixon
The US president, Donald Trump, spoke in June to a delegation of tribal leaders at the White House , claiming that: “Infringements on tribal sovereignty are deeply unfair to Native Americans and Native American communities.” His sincerity was hard to believe.
From his support of the Dakota Access Pipeline to his unabashed public appreciation for the mastermind of Indian Removal, Andrew Jackson , Trump has a long way to go before his platitudes become reality. Yet, this is not unique to Trump.
US presidents have an overwhelmingly poor track record when it comes to bettering the position of America’s First Peoples. Thomas Jefferson, the architect of American independence, treated Indian Country as an inconvenience during his terms in office . Abraham Lincoln, “the great emancipator”, allowed his generals to commit atrocities against Native American communities throughout the Civil War, leading to massacres at Sand Creek and Bear River.
Even when presidents have been sympathetic towards the plight of the American Indian, their actions have often proved contradictory . However, some have endeavoured to follow through on their statements and in light of Trump’s comments, several of them are worth highlighting.