Economic, Political and Cultural Relations with Colonizing Nations

The period between 1820 to 1870 is instrumental in the US history especially for the southern states. As the northerners fought to retain slavery, in south, people were more focused on champion for independence and perseveration of their cultural ideals. Furthermore, in the south, people were culturally resilient and rebuffed the ideal of external interference with zeal. However, this was not easy for the Southerners, the was a well calculated scheme to integrate the south fully into a global and capitalist economy. Despite massive resistance, the south could not withstand the forces of change. The period between 1820 to 1870 saw communities in the south slowly appreciating change that they fought for long. The south was not in any way guarded from the colonizing during the hegemonic period and yet communities in this region were able to retain their culture with minimal changes. Whether these changes came fast or gradually, the changes that were as a result of their interactions with the colonialists will in this case be analyzed with respect to how much damage or how much positive effects they have had on the Native American communities.

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The Geopolitical Environment

The survival of the Cheyenne people was for example heavily linked to their ability to hold on to their traditional laws and values. This explains why this community had traveled across almost half a continent in a bid to evade the European colonialists who were likely to interfere with the organizational and leadership structure of the Native American community. The political system in this society was based on the religious system in which myth and traditional laws were the pillars. This means that the leadership system was not entirely easy to understand and for the most part, it could not be accepted by the outsiders. This explains why the political system in this society was ignored when a bureaucratic assimilation was proposed and implemented as per the political concepts of the colonizing nations. As part of the political aspect of colonization, the complex chief system and warrior societies were forced out but they were not completely eliminated. The people still respected and consulted with the tribal chief and the warriors although they did not have as much power as before.

These acts rearranged the Native American societies such that on the surface, they embraced the new administrative systems but beneath the surface, they were still grounded in their tribal myths and leadership systems. This explains how to this day there are still tribal chiefs and warriors despite their limited roles and responsibilities within their respective communities. It would have been impossible for the colonial masters to eliminate the political structure of the Native Americans simply because their political system is intertwined with their religious and cultural systems. For the most part, the political structure is based on the community’s religious myths and traditional value systems that define the leaders dictate how they are chosen and define their extent of authority within the community.

The interaction with the new political systems that had outsiders leading the local government may have changed the surface appearance of the political leadership amongst the Native Americans but it did not eliminate the religious and cultural beliefs that defined the people’s political system. Currently, the Native Americans may recognize the national political structure and even participate in the modern governance but they are still deeply engrossed in their own political structure where they respect their chiefs and warriors and occasionally even consult with them on important matters despite the fact that they have modern leaders in their midst.

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Impact of Markets

Before the colonial masters invaded the South Eastern nations and started interacting with the communities, these communities were built on minimal trade as they got everything that they needed from the land and the animals. The religious beliefs of the Native American people generally places them as the caretakers of their land and thus that their land would take care of them too. Each individual member of the community is entitled to what the land has to provide. Native Indians did not own land individually but rather collectively as a people. Therefore, Indians did not have to sell anything to anyone and when they had to, they would settle for a fair barter trade. With the entry of consumerist and capitalistic Europeans, the Native Americans were consistently placed in a position where they had to trade something with the Europeans. The South Eastern nations were generally introduced to commerce through the fur and cotton trade. These people of the South Eastern nations started bartering fur for European products that were meant to make their lives easier. These included guns and clothing as well as cooking ware that was made of metal.

Initially, capitalism was accepted at a minimalistic level to enable these people to work and trade like the rest of the planet and to receive payment in the normal currencies of the world. The colonialists in this case can be stated to have not only exposed the southeast nations to money but also to have made it relatively impossible for these people to survive without using money. It is important to note that due to the activities of the Europeans in the Native American communities and reserves, some of these people were driven out of the woods and into civilization against their will.

As such, Native Americans could no longer depend on the land to sustain them. It is circumstances such as this one that forced a majority of the Native Americans into the capitalistic mainstream society. Currently, there are very few Native Americans who are comfortably capitalistic expect for a few who have been known to run successful businesses that mostly sell to other Native Americans at relatively cheaper prices. These practices eventually encouraged the idea that people had to work hard to create wealth or they would be pushed to the bottom of the society. This is how classes were formed as most individuals were pushed into capitalism and they chose to let go of the initial subsistence economy where they had only sought what they needed.

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Cultural Change

The Native Americans must be appreciated for being one of the cultural societies in the current century especially on the American continent. Before the colonialists came in to the Americas, Native Indians lived on their own in reserves and colonies where they did not have to interact with outsiders. They were comfortable on their land, speaking their own language and living in harmony with the plants and animals in a relatively symbiotic relationship based on their religious myths. Primarily, Native Americans believed they had been created to take care of the earth as the earth also takes care of them. With the European colonialists seeking to ‘tame’ and exploit these Native Americans, their culture was threatened although most of them managed to stay put in their reserves and colonies. A majority of the Native Americans were able to limit their interaction with the Europeans and the white Americans although they had to fit in to some extent and for most, this started by wearing clothes and learning to use English more than their native language. The initial culture amongst the South Eastern nations was mainly intertwined with all the other aspects of their lives including religion, politics and the economy. When some elements of the culture changed after the consistent exposure to colonial nations and their ideals, the Native Americans ended up changing a lot of other things in the way they interact and operate.

First, as the people in these communities developed an interest in making profits rather than working only for what they needed they started becoming wealthy. It can be appreciated that not all Native Americans readily embraced capitalism. This means that while others were readily trading in fur and cotton and offering their services as guides for those who wanted to hunt, others natives were still looking to stay behind and preserve their identity as a people. These are the ones who ended up as poor while their counterparts were able to accumulate wealth and thus start living a different, modern and relatively happier life. The changes in the culture of the Southeastern nations in this case mainly created room for modernization in the context that the native people were able to join the rest of the American and European populace in capitalistic ideologies and a new thirst for wealth over everything else. With the new interests, there was a need for a ‘referee’ who would be able to level the playing field and ensure that the players did not oppress one another in their quest for victory. This is how constitutional governments became a genuine necessity. These governments were able to protect the poor from the rich while ensuring that the poor also did not get to victimize their rich counterparts.

Conclusion

Native Americans are by far the most resilient people simply because they were colonized and yet they did not completely succumb to imperialism with respect to their political, economic and religious structures. These communities were able to take on new ideas and practices but by far they remained very strong and stable in their own beliefs and value systems with regards to politics, culture and economics. For example, they barely practice capitalism except to a minimalist extent. They also barely mingle with the mainstream society in terms of culture except when they have to and they still have their chiefs and warriors despite recognizing and respecting the modern political systems.

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Critique

The multidimensional theory of colonialism argues that the colonized are the central figures in the history of the colonization. Initially, or rather, in most parts of the world history shows that the colonial nations directed the narrative on the changes that took place in the culture, politics and economy of their colonies. This assumption is relatively admissible using the idea that in most of the colonies, the changes took place faster. The colonizing powers in this case may not have had much to compete against in terms of the political and economic contexts of their colonies. This explains why the British were able to settle in very fast despite the anticipated biological resistance from the native people. Within the context of the South Eastern nations, the story was a bit different. The societies were more difficult to change based on the complexity of their culture and the fact that all aspects of their traditional existence were intertwined with the religion and mythical stories of how they came into being. The South Eastern nations are thus clear evidence that support the ideology of multidimensional theory in colonialism. If one is to perceive the colonization story from the perspective of the Native Americans, it becomes easier to understand why these people survived over half a millennium of colonization without losing their identities while other people barely went through a century of cultural and political interference before losing their own identity. It can thus be concluded that the multidimensional theory of colonization is by far the most effective theory when it comes to understanding what really happened with the South Eastern nations and how they have managed to remain intact to this day.

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