Essay Native History

Submitted By Sussa33
Words: 1967
Pages: 8

Important Events in Native American History
Mellisa Roberts
HIS 204 American History Since1865
Instructor : Traci Sumner
April 29, 2013

In this paper I will discuss some of the important events in history that have shaped Native American culture and attitudes. How natives struggled to hold on to their traditional beliefs while fighting every step of the way. Some of the topics I will touch on are The Dawes Severalty Act, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, the Indian Child welfare Act also of 1978, the Native American Grave Protection Act of 1990 and finally National American Indian Heritage Month. The first act I will discuss is the Dawes Act that put an end to shared ownership of land. Instead it was broken up into sections which would be owned by individual Natives. The desired outcome was to significantly decrease the amount of land obtainable by the tribes so that the government could sale the “surplus” land and make out like bandits. However, some natives decided to sale their allotments to non-natives and this reduced the size of reservations considerably. The Dawes Act, also called the General Allotment Act, was passed on February 8, 1887 by Congress and named for Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts. The President had had the power to divvy up reservation land. People at this period in time believed that if Natives adopted the white ways it would allow them to assimilated into the population easier and they would no longer be the savages that most white people knew them as. They also believed that if the Natives were responsible for their farms then the government would no longer have to oversee Indian welfare and the Natives would no longer be poverty-stricken and in a subservient position due to the insufficient allowances of resources given to them by the federal government. When the reservation land was broken up into allotments it was done like so “To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section; To each single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section ; To each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; and To each other single person under eighteen years now living, or who may be born prior to the date of the order of the President directing an allotment of the lands embraced in any reservation, one-sixteenth of a section…” There were certain tribes that the act did not apply to at first. Section 8 of the act stated
"the provisions of this act shall not extend to the territory occupied by the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and Osage, Miamies and Peorias, and Sacs and Foxes, in the Indian Territory, nor to any of the reservations of the Seneca Nation of New York Indians in the State of New York, nor to that strip of territory in the State of Nebraska adjoining the Sioux Nation on the south." However, in 1893 President Grover Cleveland sent representatives to talk with the Five Civilized Tribes about receiving allotted land. In order to do this put an end to tribal governments and recognize state and Federal laws. Tribal members also had to enroll with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to have their names put on the "Dawes rolls." This helped the BIA and the Secretary of the Interior decide who and was not eligible for land distribution. The Dawes Act and the acts that followed were suppose to protect Native property rights, especially during the land rushes of the 1890s but for the most part that was not the case. Natives were given lands that were desert or near-desert and that could not be farmed. Next we have the Indian Citizenship Act (Snyder Act) of 1924. Republican Representative Homer P. Snyder of New York proposed this act in 1924 to essentially grant full citizenship to all natives in the United States. Under the Fourteenth Amendment citizens were defined as any person(s) born in the United States…