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Dawes Severalty Act (1887)

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Introduction

Brandy Morgan Dr. Garry Meredith US History II February 10, 2005 Dawes Severalty Act (1887) In the past century, with the end of the warfare between the United States and Indian tribes and nations, the United States of America continued its efforts to acquire more land for the Indians. About this time the government and the 'Indian reformers' tried to turn Indians into Americans. A major aspect of this plan was the General Allotment or Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 which ended in 1934. The long term effects of the program were not as helpful as many had planned it to be, and in fact the effects of poverty as a result of this government interference can still be felt by the tribes today. The Dawes Severalty Act was passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for the granting of landholdings (allotments, usually 160 acres) to individual Native Americans, replacing communal tribal holdings. Sponsored by U.S. Senator H. L. Dawes , the aim of the act was to absorb tribe members into the larger national society. Allotments could be sold after a statutory period (25 years), and "surplus" land not allotted was opened to settlers. ...read more.

Middle

Supporters thought the act would "civilize" Native Americans by making them ranchers and farmers and instill individualism. But the results were disastrous. Allotting land to individuals who could sell it, the Dawes Act effectively continued the process of taking away Native American land by making remaining reservation lands available to white settlement and corporate development. Tens of millions of acres of reservation lands passed into the hands of non-Native Americans. Large reservations, such as the Ute and Blackfeet reservations that in 1880 were sizable portions of Colorado and Montana, became by 1900 shadows of their former selves. The act failed to achieve its goal. Instead, much of the land fell into the hands of whites, further impoverishing a decreasing Native American population. After the allotments had been made in what had become the state of South Dakota, the hundreds of thousands of acres remaining were then sold to white immigrants, and before long native peoples began to sell their plots. For Native Americans in South Dakota the policy was a disaster. From the 1880s to 1950, Lakota and Yanktonai tribes alone relinquished 6,321,957 hectares (15,621,343 acres) of their remaining 8,796,497 hectares (21,735,846 acres). ...read more.

Conclusion

adjusted upon the survey of the lands so as to conform thereto; and patents shall be issued to them for such lands in the manner and with the restrictions as herein provided. Section eight of the act states that the provision 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 added by executive order. The final section of the Dawes Act (section 11) states that nothing in this act shall be so construed as to prevent the removal of the Southern Ute Indians from their present reservation in Southwestern Colorado to a new reservation by and with the consent of a majority of the adult male members of said tribe. The Dawes Severalty Act was approved on February 8, 1887. The long term effects of the act were not as helpful as many had planned it to be. The act fortunately failed to achieve its goal. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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