College Essay Examples



The document belongs to the late eighties and early nineties period of U.S history when the Nez Perce tribe of Indians were battling for their land taken by white settlers. On 5th October 1877, Chief Joseph, the heroic leader of the Nez Perce, surrendered the legendary Nez Perce War of 1877 at Bear Paws in Montana. Chief Joseph’s surrender was to diplomatically fight for justice in the Indian Territory, where his people had been forcefully exiled in relevance to the American Indian Policy at that time. Joseph maintained a repatriation movement for the Nez Perce through legal means and protests. This lead to him winning the support of the rising Indian activist movement of the 1880s. Joseph’s efforts lead to the government acting on his demands, establishing a foundation for American Indian rights activism and policy reforms in the 20th century. The surrender negotiations promised Chief Joseph that the Nez Perce would be moved back to the Idaho reservation by the government.

However, later highly ranked federal officials in the Indian Bureau and military chose to override the surrender conditions. They ordered that the captured Indians be repatriated to the Idaho reservation and engrafted within the Indian Territory. The Army General initiated extreme severity in handling the Nez Perce; otherwise, other tribes in a similar situation would follow their example. The approval of exiling the Nez Perce was according to American Policy of native nations’ forced removal. The exiled Nez Perce were moved to Quapaw Agency in the northeastern Indian Territory in today’s Oklahoma’s border with Missouri and Arkansas. The government made inadequate preparations before arrival. Lack of housing, poor quality, scarce rations, and no medication for the prisoners suffering cold and diseases resulted in deaths.

This document talks about the plight of the Nez Perce. The Nez Perce were pushed out of their ancestral land to pave the way for gold mining. It reveals the non-commitment of the government to honor treaties made to the people through their leaders. The major concern is that in 1877 Chief Joseph, an early Nez Perce heroic leader, sought diplomatic measures to retain their land by stopping the constant reign of civil war against the government. The tribe signed treaties with the federal government that would allow them to return to their native land. However, the government declined the treaties creating conflict and tension between the government and Nez Perce community. Instead of being moved to Idaho and Montana, which used to be their original homeland, the government moved the Nez Perce to Kansas, present-day Oklahoma. Chief Joseph would make several appeals to the federal government to allow the people back to their land, but this would not happen until he was relocated with other people to Washington State, where he would die in 1904.

The article argues that the Nez Perce were forcefully evicted from their land by the federal government for gold mining. The government officials involved in the process marginalized the Nez Perce by taking away their horses and cattle, making them poorer. The army destroying property attempts to create war with the community, considering them a minor tribe that lacked elites to take plea at the Law council. The people mistakenly gave up their land to the federal state to prevent any trouble and bloodshed. They sought no peace as their properties were destroyed, as officers drove everyone out of the land in chaos and confusion. The community was suffering as their leaders who would have fought or negotiated on their behalf are all dead. They lack shelter and food, and the children are dying from the cold and malnutrition in the hills. 

Amid these troubles, the government and other stakeholders make talks to calm the people that everything will soon be good. The promises made do not amount to anything as the government can make no compensation to bring back life. Calming down the community is not adequate mitigation for the lost horses, cattle, and children. The unfulfilled promises psychologically affect the people making to feel like a minor race. The Nez Perce have been neglected and lack the full rights and freedoms to enjoy the services provided to citizens by the government. If the Indians could also be granted the full freedom to move and operate in the U.S as the white man, then peace would be achieved by the government.  

The author of this document is Wilson Erickson. He is a member of the Indian community that suffered racial segregation by the white Americans in the United States. Wilson writes this document to inform the government of their suffering after being taken away from their land. Racial stigmatization of the Indians after the government failed to oblige to the terms of the signed treaty with Chief Joseph has made the people suffer a lot. The writer intends to seek fair and just treatment to the Nez Perce, similar to the other white settlers in the United States. William is a native of the Nez Perce that was driven out of their original land in Idaho. He has witnessed the troubles faced by his people in the Oklahoma area where they were settled. The author relates this poor living condition of their people to the government refusing to mitigate the treaty signed with Chief Joseph.


William must have had time with General Howard, a senior government official in the military, and communicated with him on the troubles faced by his people. He narrates that, “Tell General Howard that I know his heart. What he told me I have in my heart”. Erickson speaks of the death of his children in the cold. He sends a message of his sad emotions to their Chiefs. Erickson further says he is tired of fighting the white man, meaning he is ready for negotiations with the government. Finally, the government permits him to go to Washington with his friend and an interpreter to present the grievances of his people. He enquires why government sends the army to fight them only later to deny having done the same. Promises made to them do not produce any fruit as people still die, and the suffering continues. The author takes to writing on the infringement of their rights and freedom since the government failed to implement promises.

The study of this period of the United States is important in establishing government reforms towards racial segregation of the minor tribes in the United States. The Indians are the original inhabitants of the United States. In the post-colonial period, they became a minor group due to the invasion of inhabitants from Europe. The European inhabitants occupied a greater part of the United States’ land utilizing most of the resources. At this time, there was also the advent of the industrial revolution both in Europe and the Americas. Raw materials for the industries were either acquired through farming or the mining of minerals. All these were to be obtained from land, possibly underground, or on the land surface.

The wealthy, who were the white settlers, could fund the government to use them to invest their resources. The Indians were still a poor and marginalized group with little civilization; hence were easily evicted from their mineral-rich land to pave the way for investment. Their plight was never considered making to suffer. This document demonstrates the rise of activism for fair treatment for every race in the United States of America. The whites were the senior government officials holding key positions. The English language was not common among the Indians as they had little education. Communicating with the whites was, therefore, a problem leading to constant war with the law enforcers. The author of this document’s quest for equal rights and freedom shows the beginning of the call for racial civilization by the United States’ government across the country.  

In conclusion, this document strongly advocates for non-racial socio-economic stigmatization in the United States of America. The document has sufficient strength because the author personally experienced the events at a particular time in history. As he narrates how he is tired of fighting and is ready for negations to end this war and troubles, the nation comes to attention for reforms. The document is still of significance in current society as racism is a global concern. Studying this will educate the whole world on the negative impact of racism.  


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By Sandra Arlington

Sandra Arlington is a contributing writer to the Motley Fool. Having written for various online magazines, such as Ehow and LiveStrong, she decided to embark on a travel blog for the past 10 years. She is also a regular contributor to My Essay Writer.

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