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The Sioux Tribe had a very different cultural outlook compared to our more modern culture. They did not have our advanced technology standards or the amount of knowledge about the world that we currently have. Although they didn’t have the knowledge we have, they knew more about their land than many other tribes. They knew a lot about the animals and resources they had and when they would have to move. The Siouans moved according to the amount of resources they had in their area. This included the amount of water, plants and mainly bison. The Siouans followed the masses of bison as they played a very important role in their lives.
The Sioux Tribes most distinguished quality was their religious beliefs. They did everything according to these beliefs which was the foundation of their culture. They actually had a very sophisticated and complicated religion but managed to merge it into their daily lifestyle.
The Sioux Tribes held many ceremonies to thank the gods and spirits, who they believed existed within nature itself. Most natural occurrences were believed to be caused by the hateful spirits. Though, the wanted occurrences were thought to be given as a reward from Mother Nature. They believed that the land and all life was sacred and treasured the saying “All life is holy – the two legged sharing it with the four legged and the wings of the air, and all green things’.
Timeline of events which occurred before contact with non-indigenous people
The original intents of the Europeans and British were to expand their land for power and for wealth. After Christopher Columbus first discovered America expecting it to be Asia it alerted other nations. This caused other countries to colonise around these areas and hence the Spanish were the first people to meet with the Siouans. The Spanish spread news about the resources and large areas to other European countries which led to more and more Europeans colonizing in that region.
As well as the large amounts of space, the Europeans and British took notice of the valuable resources which then led to the trading and mining of the land. During that time, one of the most valuable resources was gold. Loads of gold was found around that region which caused a gold rush, and because of the overwhelming greed of the Europeans, more and more people began to rush to this region which forced the Siouans to leave their lands and move to other areas where the bison went. The Europeans and others were so greedy that they rapidly colonized the whole area thinking that there would be masses of gold there as well which continually forced the Siouans to move away.
The first arrival of the Europeans was quite friendly and they had no evil intentions. They wanted peace with the Sioux Tribes and didn’t want to disrupt their beliefs and cultural habits. Even though they had different perspectives and beliefs compared to the Sioux Nation, they didn’t really mind their differences until later on. Both groups thought that their cultural practices were acceptable at first but when they gained more knowledge about what each group did, they both detested the other’s beliefs and despised each other.
The Europeans believed that all land could be bought and completely owned which disgusted the because they believed that all land was sacred and holy. They thought that the land could be used by everyone for the benefit of everyone. The Sioux Tribe let the Europeans take over their land only because they wanted peace and thought that everyone was allowed on the land. After the Europeans slowly maintained more and more of the Siouans sacred land and began to break their promises. The Siouans saw their horrible intentions of taking over all of the land which was evil and intolerable hence the Siouans declared war on the Europeans.
The first known meeting between any western Siouans and the whites was in 1541, when De Soto reached the Quapaw villages in east Arkansas. The Spanish and the Siouans didn’t really fight because they had met had the Valley of Vapors. Members of many tribes had gathered at the valley over many years to enjoy the healing properties of the thermal springs. The tribes had developed agreements to put aside their weapons and partake of the healing waters in peace while in the valley. De Soto and his men stayed just long enough to claim the area for Spain.
In 1640 the earliest notice of the main northwestern tribe is that of the French explorers. Some French traders soon followed. These men wanted the furs of animals that lived in the Dakota country such as buffalos. In exchange, they introduced the Dakota to goods such as flint and steel. These traders also brought glass, breads, metal knives, axes, guns, flour and sugar to the Dakota. At first the Siouans were fine with the white Europeans since they brought goods. They were able to enjoy the benefits brought to them by the traders and did not suffer much upset to their way of life because there were only a few white people who lived on their land, but by 1685, the Sioux territory was claimed by the French pushing the Siouans down the Mississippi and away from the Buffalo Plains. The Sioux Tribe despised what the Europeans did so they declared war.
The first contact of Europeans or white people was quite different between the Sioux tribe and the indigenous people of Australia. They were different in the sense that the Sioux tribe benefitted a little from the Europeans where as the Aborigines suffered major consequences from the British.
When the French traders first met the Sioux tribe, they wanted the furs of animals that lived there and in return the Siouans received some goods such as flint and steel as well as guns and other weapons. This helped both the Siouans and the French because they were able to gain new information and products or resources.
When the British first met the indigenous people of Australia, they wanted to claim the land and thought that no one owned it. So they decided to ship their convicts over to Australia because they needed more space. The Aborigines didn’t want them there because they were greedy and stole their valuable resources and didn’t give much in return. This was terrible and so the Aborigines tried to force them to leave which resulted in the death of many Aborigines.
This is very different because the initial result for the Siouans was helpful whereas the result for the Aboriginals was brutal and fatal. Though the end the result for both groups were similar because that they both ended up fighting wars.
Consequences of Colonization and Comparison to Aboriginal Experiences
The result of colonization for the Sioux tribe started off quite well because they were given new resources and goods such as horses, cloth and guns. Unfortunately, with new resources came new diseases that the Siouans had no immunity over such as small pox which killed many of the Siouans. Cultural differences also caused mass destruction in the Sioux tribe. The Siouans believed in different things compared to the Europeans which caused distrust leading into major arguments and battles or clashes where many people were killed. Treaties were made by both sides, but people changed these treaties which were then ignored.
Soon, the Sioux and other nations were given reservation land to live on, but frequently they were relocated when valuable commodities such as gold were found on their lands. After a long period of time with the Europeans, they began fighting at war again because of land and resources that the Siouans were receiving. This caused major conflict between the groups and soon the Siouans were forced to leave their land.
For the Spanish and other Europeans, colonization was quite rewarding for them from the beginning and afterwards although it led to the death of many Siouans and Europeans. It was rewarding for the Europeans because they eventually got what they originally intended. They obtained the land and resources they wanted as well as their precious gold. This was wonderful for the Europeans because it meant that they had huge masses of land and they could easily expand their territories across the whole of America. By taking the land, the Europeans became extremely powerful and wealthy.
The Spanish also learnt some of the cultural practices from the Sioux Tribes which benefitted them greatly. However taking over the land wasn’t all that great because it meant that thousands of people from both colonies had to be killed in the process of conquering the land. Colonization of the Spanish also meant that they would have to adapt to the conditions of that region which also brought them some new diseases and difficulties because they couldn’t completely utilize the advantages or conditions of the land.
For both the Sioux Tribe and Aborigines, colonization had an extremely similar result. Once the Europeans and British conquered the Sioux Tribes and took their land, the Siouans were left absolutely powerless. Even though the Sioux Tribes tried to fight back with everything they had, it was still disastrous because their technology and numbers were just incapable of winning. This was exactly the same with the Aborigines because once the British came and tried to conquer the land, they were successful and the Aborigines were left defeated and powerless. The British overpowered the Aborigines with their superior technology and speed on horsebacks.
Land wasn’t the only thing lost from both cultures. Religious beliefs and cultural practices were also lost through colonization. The traditions of both cultures were greatly affected with major losses. Sacred cultures and beliefs slowly faded away because of the massacres which prevented the indigenous people to pass down their stories or Dreamtimes from generation to generation. Both indigenous groups took massive tolls because of the mass annihilation and destruction of colonization. This was horrible because no one was able to live in peace and harmony.
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