The Lasting Impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Native American Rights and Representation in Indian Land, South Carolina

The civil rights movement has had a long-lasting and far-reaching effect on Native American rights and representation in Indian Land, South Carolina. From the earliest days of European contact with indigenous peoples in the Caribbean and South America, their cultures have been continuously and devastatingly impacted. Europeans arrived in the American colonies with designs on native lands, and often with the intention of converting Native Americans to Christianity. This provoked resistance from many Native Americans, who viewed land as something that belonged to everyone.

As the population of European immigrants increased, their land rights expanded, forcing Native Americans to fight or retreat and often having to sign treaties recognizing the federal government's rights to their lands. The government then moved many Native Americans to reservations, where tribes exercised powers similar to those that states wielded over their own citizens. The document that emerged from the Constitutional Convention of 1787 exempted Native Americans who did not pay taxes from being counted in the formula of representation in the United States. Congress was also given the explicit power to regulate trade with Native Americans, as well as to enter into treaties with them.

In 1800, Congress passed “An Act for the Preservation of Peace with Native American Tribes” that limited First Amendment freedom of speech and press as a way to suppress Native American criticism of the United States. In Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court recognized that tribes constituted “so-called national dependent nations” and tried to intervene to protect missionaries from indigenous Cherokee territory. In the 1880s, Roman Catholics became involved in efforts to educate Native Americans, sometimes with the help of the federal government.

After some Protestants objected, Congress passed an Indian Appropriations Act in 1896 that ended funding for these efforts, although some support continued through trust funds and trial treaties. Over the past few decades, Congress has adopted numerous laws relevant to Native Americans. The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 extends all provisions of the First Amendment (except for the establishment clause) and most other provisions of the Bill of Rights to Native Americans. Another law protects sacred Indian shrines, while Congress has also reserved certain land in trust for Native Americans and has protected tombs and burial objects of Indians.

They have also been given access to American eagle feathers (otherwise prohibited in an attempt to save the species). In part because of past Christianization efforts, modern Native Americans have a pluralistic religious life that reflects society at large. The ceremonial ingestion of peyote (a mildly hallucinogenic product of cacti) has been associated with Native American religion since the late 19th century, leading to a conflict with the war on drugs. In Employment Division v.

Smith (1990), the Supreme Court ruled that states were not required to exempt Native Americans who ingested peyote from general application of their criminal laws (although Congress amended this in 1994). In Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protection Association (1988), the Supreme Court refused to prohibit the federal government from building a road through a site in a national forest that was sacred to Native Americans. A recent question related to Native Americans is whether a provision of the Lanham Act that allows the United States to reject patent and trademark applications that “may belittle individuals or institutions” violates the First Amendment.

This has been used as a basis for rejecting some trademarks that use Native American names such as “Redskins”, “Braves”, “Chiefs”, “Warriors” and similar terms. The civil rights movement has had an enduring influence on Native American rights and representation in Indian Land, South Carolina. From early contact with Europeans through modern times, laws have been passed that have both safeguarded and restricted these rights. The struggle between native peoples and Europeans continues today as they fight for recognition and protection of their rights.

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