Disadvantages Created By Social Structures Essay

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As children we were taught the rhyme;’ ‘In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’   This was where the history books say the United States began; with Columbus’ fateful voyage across the blue ocean to discover a new land.   Although Columbus is credited for ‘discovering America’, when Columbus arrived people already inhabited this new world.   People with traditions, beliefs, and cultures unique to their individual tribes. Columbus can be credited with beginning of the fall of Native Americans in the social structure of American society.   When Columbus first came in contact with native people, he felt “they could easily be commanded and made to work, to sow and to do whatever might be needed, to build towns and be taught to wear clothes and adopt our ways.” (Taylor and Sturtevant) Columbus was just the tip of the ice burg in relation to what Natives were going to experience in the coming centuries.   Native Americans have been disadvantaged by the social structure of American society in many different ways, these disadvantages can be grouped in timeframes beginning with the Reservation life of the 1800s – 1930s, into Reorganization 1930’s and 1940s, then the Termination and Relocation of the 1940s through the 1960’s, ending currently with Self Determination.  
Sociologist Robert Park discusses the meeting of Christopher Columbus and other settlers with the Natives in his theory of “race relations cycle”.   He believed that “when groups first come into contact (through immigration, conquest, etc.) relations are conflictual and competitive.” (Healey)   Columbus and other settlers were looking for a new place to live, looking for land and resources that Natives had.   This is where the competition begins.   European settlers took advantage of the belief systems and cultural differences of Natives to obtain resources and land.   By acquiring these resources from the Natives the European settlers became the dominant group in the competitive relationship....

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