Taking the Wheel #2

The next phase of research for my topic, Native Americans and the West, was an online interactive activity. The interactive activity focused on “The Long Walk” which was in 1864 when thousands of the Navajo Indians were forced to leave their land and walk 450 miles to a reservation called Bosque Redondo. Other parts of the activity were some historical documents, an image gallery, and a map of the route the Navajo’s took on “The Long Walk”. This activity helped to increase my understandings of what it was like for Native Americans to be forced out of their land. It also provided more information on Western settlers taking over and expanding into Native American land. Here is a link to the interactive activity: http://reta.nmsu.edu/modules/longwalk/default.htm

Key Terms and Definitions(added and edited):

Push-pull factors– events and conditions that either force people to move elsewhere or strongly attract them to do so
Homestead Act– signed by President Lincoln in 1862, for a small fee settlers could have 160 acres of land, a quarter mile square. Requirements were the person had to be at least 21 or the head of their family, American citizens or immigrants filing for citizenship, built a house of certain minimum size and lived in it at least 6 months a year, had to farm the land for 5 years in a row before claiming it
Great Plains– vast grassland between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains
Nomads– people who travel form place to place, following available food sources instead of living in one location
Reservation– federal lands set aside for native Americans
Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs– supposed to manage the delivery of critical supplies to reservations but widespread corruption within the BIA resulted in supplies being stolen or mishandled
Assimilation– the process where one society becomes a part of another more dominant society by adopting its culture
Dawes Act– divided reservation land into individual plots, each Native American family headed by a man received a plot of 160 acres
Wovoka– Indian prophet from the Paiutes tribe whocalled for all Indians to do the ghost dance because Christ returned as an Indian. Wovoka promised the restoration of Indian ways and land
General George Armstrong Custer- personified the advance of civilization against savagery, attacked the Cheyennes with his troopsd captured women and children
Indian Reservation Act-Made it required that the government secured certain civil rights to Native Americans in 1934.
Navajos– Navajos are the largest Native American group in the United States. The Navajo lands are located in northwestern New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern Utah.
Territory– In this case, a part of the U.S. that has its own legislature but does not have all the rights of statehood. In a more general context, the word can refer to any large area of land.
Kit Carson- American trailblazer and Indian fighter
The Long Walk-In 1864 thousands of Navajos were forced to leave their land and walk to a reservation in Bosque Redondo. Many people died from disease, starvation or murder
Emigrants– People who have left or are in the process of leaving one country or geographic area in order to live someplace fairly far away.
Enduring Understandings:
The American government believed they had the power to control Native Americans and wipe out their culture.
  • eventual assimilation of Indians was the goal (The Indian Question, 220)
  • they would be required to learn industrial skills until one generation had been self improved (The Indian Question, 220)
  • government planned their educations and trained and reformed them on the plantations (The Indian Question, 220)
  • wanted to destroy tribal system because it was barbaric and savage like (The Indian Question, 221)


Multiple battles took place between Native Americans and new settlers because of push and pull factors.

  • Custer supported the extension of the west but he also recognized that Native Americans would rather be dead than be confined in a reservation (The Indian Question, 218)
  • Walker believed the government should pursue a Peace Policy to buy off and feed Indians and avoid any violent conflicts (The Indian Question, 219)
  • Walker explained the ultimate goal as the eventual assimilation of Indians (The Indian Question, 220)


The government had most of the power during this period and used it in a negative way that was unfair to Native Americans.

  • “We have marked off a reservation for you, including the Canon de Chelly and part of the valley of the San Juan, it is about (100) one hundred miles square.” (“The Long Walk” Council Proceedings, May 30, 1868)
  • The Navajo were forced out of their homeland by the government and crammed into a small reservation, Bosque Redondo. (“The Long Walk”)
  • Escorted by the military on a 450 mile long walk to the reservation. During the walk some people suffered with starvation or disease,  some were killed, and some were captured and held captive. (“The Long Walk”)

After doing the interactive activity, it is easy to picture what it would be like to actually experience what the Navajos went through. It would be miserable being forced to walk 45o miles to a place that they did not even want to go to. They had to leave behind their homes and land to go to a small reservation. On the walk it would also be horrible because people were starving and thirsty and their were diseases going around.They were constantly treated negatively by the military who were also violent at times. Everyone would be upset too because they had to leave land that was rightfully theirs and that they grew up on.


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