According to a March 2017 article in the Native Youth Magazine, whether we consider the Pilgrim’s landing at Plymouth Rock or those who landed at Jamestown, Virginia, 507 years ago as America’s first settlers, these immigrants were greeted by Native Americans. Today it is estimated that their once 100 percent population status has dwindled to one percent. It is interesting to note that only the last two states to officially become part of the United States of America (Alaska and Hawaii) have no policy designed to relegate Native Americans to existence within the boundaries of a reservation.
Since all Native Americans who in modern times are often referred to as Indians, do not share a universal language, espouse the same beliefs or practice identical cultural traditions, today’s Native American youth experience the same frustrations and issues while negotiating their pathway to adulthood as do all teenagers.
Often referenced as the U.S. Indian Removal Policy, not only did this quasi-law force Native Americans to live on reservations, in many cases, children were place in special educational systems that required them to only speak English and prohibited the practice of any of their cultural traditions.
Regardless of from where today’s immigrant families come to the USA, they are considered to be naturalized American citizens who share in the constitutional rights and protections under which the rest of their American brothers and sisters live.
For many immigrant families, especially those from Spanish and French speaking countries, even though English is the main tongue of our world today, youth of these families have a greater opportunity to remain by-lingual since most instruction manuals are published in the aforementioned tongues as well as English. Sadly, this is not true for Native Americans who opt to pursue adult life beyond the confines of a recognized reservation.