Destruction of Native Americans

Table of Contents :


The arrival of the Europeans in the New World was the beginning of the end of Indian life. Many settlers thought they were superior to the Indians and tried to force them to take on their way of life.

Land became the main problem between the Europeans and the Indians. Settlers wanted land for farming and mining. As time went on, more and more Indians were forced off their land as new settlers arrived and travelled west.

At first settlers and Indians were friendly towards each other but when they started to protect their land fighting broke out.

In 1830 a law was passed that allowed the government to move Indian tribes to the land west of the Mississippi.

When gold was found in California in the 1850s settlers rushed west as quickly as possible and destroyed the land that the Indians depended on for hunting and fishing.

At the beginning of the 20 th century the American government started putting Indian tribes on reservations in the western part of the United States. Later on, American Indians were allowed to vote and the government tried to integrate them into society.



Native Americans Today


About 2.5 million Native Americans live in the USA today. The biggest tribes are the Cherokee, Chippewa, Navajo and Sioux. About a third of the Indians in the US live on reservations. The rest live in cities or towns.

Indian culture is still preserved on reservations. Here, Indians practice old traditions. However, they are worried that their traditions will disappear because more and more Indians are being integrated into society.

Today, Native Americans are better off than they were at the beginning of the 20 th century. They get better education; many go to high school and some to college. Many Native Americans work as lawyers, doctors or have other important jobs, like working for government companies.



Some tribes get money from tourism or selling handicrafts. In 1988 the government allowed casinos and other gambling operations on reservations. Other tribes earn money from taxes on oil or gas that is produced on their land.

Even though life has improved , Native Americans still face many problems in today’s America. Unemployment on reservations is about 50%. The income of an Indian family is much lower than that of a white family. Most Indians are badly paid and are unskilled workers. Suicide rates are also higher than in other places. Some Indians try to reduce their problems by drinking alcohol and taking drugs.


Online Exercises


Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets



  • arrival = the coming
  • better off = to have more money and live a better life than before
  • depend on = need very much
  • destroy =damage completely
  • disappear =to go away
  • drugs =illegal substances that people take to feel happy or make their problems go away
  • face = deal with
  • force =make someone do something
  • gambling =to risk money in a game or sport
  • improve = get better
  • income = the money you get when you have a job
  • handicrafts =
  • integrate = to become part of a group of people
  • law =a set of rules in a country
  • lawyer =a person who knows a lot about laws and gives you advice
  • mining =the job of getting coal, oil or other resources out of the earth
  • practice =go after
  • preserve =protect, keep
  • protect = to keep someone or something safe
  • reduce = to make something smaller
  • reservation = an area of land in the US kept separate for Native Americans to live on
  • rush = to go very quickly
  • settler = someone who goes to live in a place where not many people have lived before
  • society =all the people in general
  • suicide rate = the number of people who kill themselves
  • superior = better than
  • tax = money that the government gets from selling things
  • tribe = a group of people who have the same way of life and the same language. They are ruled by a leader
  • unemployment = people who do not have a job
  • unskilled worker =a person who has not learned a trade or does not have special talents
  • vote =elect