Essay Sample on Assimilation Into Western Culture

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  980 Words
Date:  2022-11-21


Between 1790 and 1920, the United States made an effort to transform into European American culture from the Native American culture. The idea was first proposed by Henry Knox and George Washington which led to the formulation of policies to stir the process of civilization. These policies aimed at teaching the indigenous people the American values and customs to peacefully join the large party of the society and merge American culture with the traditions.

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The Stolen Generations are Torres Strait and Aboriginal Islanders. They were taken away from their communities and families when they were children following the government policies of the past. The children were taken away by the churches, government and welfare bodies to be adopted by the families of the whites, fostered out and taken care of in institutions. The policies relating to the Aboriginal communities were however implemented under laws which corresponded to the different territories and states of Australia, the rules varied from state to state. Many dimensions of life of the indigenous people like health care, housing, wages, work, marriages, schools and children were controlled by the government laws. For instance, the establishment of Aboriginal schools pre-dated federation; Aboriginal children were removed from schools immediately after the occupation of Europeans. The Governor then Macquarie in 1814 opened a school in Parramatta for the Aboriginal children. The people of Darug realized that the separation of children from their families was the main idea behind the school. The Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 gave the Governors the power to order the removal of Aborigines' kids from their family and place them in industrial or reformatory school if they seemed unprotected. (Bird, 2009)

In Canada, schools for Aborigines were in place in the 1600s just before the Confederation for the missionary work of the Christian churches. The government started playing a role in the administrations of schools, schools being one of the government policies of assimilation. The Indian Act 1894 obligated an education for the Indian children proceeding the government involvement.

The video Tightrope of power welcomes viewers to judge and contrast the European forms of America to the practice of democracy by tribes through consensus. One would ask a question like; how can harmony and social order be maintained by tribal societies without relying on the large governmental and legal institutions? The film elaborates the situation in Canada, where the Mohawk and Objiwa-Cree tribes struggle against the federal government of Canada. Better knowledge and understanding of the vision of the world helped them define and refine the meaning of state, democracy and pluralism. The picture of a 'melting pot' was portrayed by the assimilation methods, in which immigrants were to adopt the culture of their new nation and abandon their original culture. Taking away culture meant taking away power, culture also includes the native language. The acting tries to explore the relationship between nations and states and invites extra questions about consensus and tolerance in that perspective. The video implies a nation as a group of people who have a sense of a common historical background with a strong political and cultural identity. As shown, it draws a line between the definitions of a state and a nation. As we know, a state just describes the boundaries authorized by a central government. (Bogo, 2008)

In the Shock of the Other, Paul Gauguin pose the questions pertaining to 'who we are? Where we come from? And where we are going?' The three big questions have recurred in the Millennium series and this program. The course insists there is a need for us to know how the western people desired to transform other societies by remaking them. A tribal society is a society on a small scale which is pre-industrial and has its own territory, culture and language. They manage their own affairs without the central authority of the government of the state and live comparatively in isolation. The tribal society had its own gift of image ribbed from them. Any culture that was foreign to the western culture was referred to as the 'other.' The goal is to figure out a lesson as addressed by the 'others.' In the video, David Maybury-Lewis is the host and starts the series visiting his 'brother' Xavante whom he met in central Brazil 30 years before. To strike a balance between our desire of being like one another and cultural diversity we need to protect the other culture that the industrial revolution threatens. In specific a small tribe, Mascho-Piro deep in the Peruvian Amazon chose to hide from the outside world face mysteries. So much is at stake if the tribal world is met by the industrial modernism. This is realized through the interviews with indigenous people who are threatened, scenes at the tropical rainforests and reflections of the narrator on the American culture discovery. (Maybury, 2002)


A reflection on 'Christopher Columbus journey to the new world Maybury-Lewis asks: "Do we have to make other societies over in the image of our own?" What would it be like if everyone in the classroom were exactly alike? How can we begin to foster respect for differences as well as similarities?"'(Maybury, 2002) From what is presented we get to understand the role of an anthropologist and some of the dilemmas and challenges they face some of which are obviously ethical in nature. The study somehow can help them from the industrial crush of the world, studying people may probably change something. For instance, some Canadian Aboriginal claimants had successfully brought actions for compensation against the federal government of Canada stemming from the damages in the residential schools for Aborigines.


Bird, C. (2009). An Extract from Carmel Bird" s Introduction to: The Stolen Children-Their Stories. Australian Humanities Review, 19.

Bogo, M., & Dill, K. (2008). Walking the tightrope: Using power and authority in child welfare supervision. Child Welfare, 87(6), 141.

Maybury-Lewis, D. (2002). Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups, and the state. Pearson College Division.

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