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Is religion the bane of assimilation? How do you gage assimilation and if it is working or if it is detrimental to those being assimilated? Assimilation is something that cannot be truly measured but there are ways to gage assimilation, first it needs to be determined who is assimilating who and how do they assess assimilation. If missionaries saw success as converting every Native American to Christianity, then they may not have been nearly as successful as desired. If they were basing their success solely on the adoption of English and adding them into the fold of the world economy, then they were more successful. Native Americans were forced onto reservations which consolidated their work and made the process of assimilation machine like in nature. According to a journal article written in the Economerica by Christian Dippel “many countries and other, smaller jurisdictions today are ‘artificial’ in the sense that their political boundaries do not coincide with those desired by the people inside them.”1 This paper will look at just what kind of job missionaries may have done in regards to assimilating the Native American population and if they created an artificial world around the Native Americans. To gage how “successful” missionaries were at assimilating Native American populations missionaries wanted to teach their own language to the Native American, incorporate Native American into the western economic model, and snuff out their religious practices and replace them with Christianity.




South Dakota State University


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