The Dawes Act Analysis

863 Words4 Pages
When Europeans first made contact with this continent, they encountered hundreds of indigenous, sovereign nations representing enormous diversity in terms of language, culture, religion, and governance. For those indigenous groups as is a common attribute of indigeneity of similarly situated groups around the world this land was and is holy land (Riley, 2013). Accordingly (Bayor, 2003), describes the social and political map of Native American societies as no more static or stable than the map of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the Northeast, two massive alliances had, for centuries, shaped the realities of political and cultural life among local communities, pitting the Hurons, Algonquins, Abenakis, Micmacs, Ottawas,…show more content…
The act states that it is intended to provide allotments of lands on severalty to Native Americans on various reservations, and to extend the protection of U.S. laws over the Native Americans. As enacted by the United States Congress, the act gives the President of the United States the right to survey Native American reservations and allot the land to individual Native Americans. The act specifies how much land will be given to heads of families, single persons over eighteen, orphans under eighteen, and all other single people under age 18. Section two of the act states that Native Americans will select their own land (Dawes Act,…show more content…
It was designed to encourage the breakup of the tribes and promote the assimilation of Indians into American society. It would be the major Indian policy until the 1930s. Dawes’ goal was to create independent farmers out of Indians give them land and the tools for citizenship. The act, though well intentioned, before the passing of the act Native Americans owned about 138 million acres. By 1900, however, the amount of land had dropped to 78 million acres (Bickford-Duane, 2015). Under the act each head of an Indian family to be given 160 acres of farmland or 320 acres of grazing land. The remaining tribal lands were to be declared "surplus" and opened up for whites. The lands given to the Indians however were fallow, dry and unfit for production which placed them at a severe disadvantage. The boarding schools which were a part of the act were a concern. Many Native American children died after they were exposed to diseases for which they had no immunity (Bickford-Duane, 2015. School administrators assigned new names to the students. They effectively westernized students as means of killing the Indian within
Open Document