Geronimo The Apache Experience is with Dale Redhawk Mason and Rocío EF.
By the time Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean in 1492, historians estimate that there were 10 to 15 million indigenous peoples living in U.S. territory. But by 1900, the number had reduced to less than 300,000. European expansion into North America – whether to find gold, escape religious persecution or start a new life – led to the destruction of Native American livelihoods. Disease was a major killer, followed by malnutrition. Colonists in search of gold staged violent ambushes on tribal villages, fueling animosity with Natives. Several wars broke out between tribes and American settlers which led to large death tolls, land dispossession, oppression and blatant racism. Unlike the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, which led to blanket legal reform, Native Americans gained civil and legal rights piece by piece. In 1924, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act, giving Native Americans a ‘dual citizenship’ – they were citizens of their sovereign native land as well as the United States. Native Americans gained uniform voting rights in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But it wasn’t until 1968, when the Indian Civil Rights Act was passed, that Natives gained the right to free speech, the right to a jury and protection from unreasonable search and seizure. After the American Revolution, many Native American lives were already lost to disease and displacement. In 1830, the federal Indian Removal Act called for the removal of the ‘Five Civilized Tribes’ – the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. Between 1830 and 1838, federal officials working on behalf of white cotton growers forced nearly 100,000 Indigenous Americans out of their homeland. The dangerous journey from the southern states to “Indian Territory” in current Oklahoma is referred to as the Trail of Tears in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease. For hundreds of years a mixture of colonial conflict, disease, specific atrocities and policies of discrimination has devastated the Native American population. In the course of this time, it is estimated that over nine million Natives died from violent conflict or disease. For too long this history has been under-recognized and too little discussed.