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What Happened to Native Americans?. Pre-Columbian. Population estimates: 70-90 million Most tribes lived communally Some lived in loosely organized families or bands; some lived in structured forms of governments Individuals did not own the land Land could not be “owned”

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pre columbian
  • Population estimates: 70-90 million
  • Most tribes lived communally
  • Some lived in loosely organized families or bands; some lived in structured forms of governments
  • Individuals did not own the land
    • Land could not be “owned”
    • It was used and shared by all
european contact
European Contact
  • Europeans valued property ownership, organized government and written laws
  • They saw that Native Americans were not using all of the land’s resources and felt they had a right to it—new land was “discovered.”
  • European immigrants continued to push westward
    • Leading to…
indian wars
Indian Wars
  • Series of “wars” between European immigrants and native peoples for land and resources
    • What advantages/disadvantages did both sides have?
  • Wars resulted in casualties on both sides
  • Escalating tension led to treaty negotiations between states and native tribes

Penn's Treaty with the Indians by Edward Hicks c. 1840

Source: http://pro.corbis.com/Enlargement/Enlargement.aspx?id=MA09487A&ext=1

The Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville, 1795, as depicted by Howard Chandler Christy (painted in 1945).

What do you notice about this portrayal?

Source: http://www.touring-ohio.com/history/greeneville-treaty.html

  • Europeans recognized native tribes as sovereign nations (right to govern themselves)
  • Treaties were formal, written, legal documents that two parties agreed upon (in this case native tribes and European settlers)
  • Treaty examples: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/ntreaty.asp
treaties the results
Treaties: The Results
  • Between 1778 and 1868, 367 tribal treaties were ratified by the U.S. Senate
    • Who benefited from these treaties?
  • Treaties often resulted in native tribes losing land and rights due to language differences (written and spoken), cultural beliefs in land ownership and westward expansion
indian removal act of 1830
Indian Removal Act of 1830
  • General Summary: Natives were pressured to move from east of the Mississippi River to the west side of the river; Europeans thought that land east of the river could be put to better use.
  • The act became law and the federal government had the legal right to physically remove natives from their land to “reserved” land west of the Mississippi River.
indian removal trail of tears
Indian Removal (Trail of Tears)

Source: cla.calpoly.edu

native education
Native Education
  • By the 1860’s, the federal government set up “day schools” near reservations; the schools taught western values, language (English), etc. It did not work.
  • By the 1870’s, the idea of boarding schools was established.
  • Between 1880 and 1902, 25 off-reservation boarding schools were built and 20,000 to 30,000 Native American children went through the system. That was roughly 10 percent of the total Indian population in 1900
  • All told, more than 100,000 Native Americans were forced by the U.S. government to attend Christian schools where tribal languages and cultures were replaced by English and Christianity.

Source: http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/boarding2.html

boarding schools
Boarding Schools
  • What were some “advantages” to forcing the children to go to boarding schools?
  • What is the significance in forcing the Natives to learn English?
    • What is the connection between language and cultural identity?
dawes act of 1887
Dawes Act of 1887
  • Moved to divide land within the reservations to individual ownership
  • In exchange for renouncing their tribal holdings, Indians would become American citizens and would receive individual land grants--160 acres to family heads, 80 acres to single adults

Source: answers.com/topic/dawes-act


Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes hands the first constitution issued under the Indian Reorganization Act to delegates of the Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation (Montana), 1935. (LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION)

Source: http://lawsandacts.com/indian-reorganization-act

effects of the dawes act
Effects of the Dawes Act
  • The Dawes Act hoped to help natives assimilate into American mainstream culture by giving them an economic edge.
  • The Act imposed the European value of nuclear families and land ownership (it devalued community and land stewardship beliefs)
  • Much of the initial “reserved” reservation land that was divided up for native individuals was not agriculturally viable, and was sold to non-natives for very little money.
indian reorganization act of 1934
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934
  • Roosevelt’s New Deal tried to reverse the goals of the Dawes Act to preserve native lands
  • Indian Reorganization Act was successful in that land was preserved, but it could not reverse the earlier loss of land and culture
    • Too little, way too late
indian termination policy 1940s 1960s
Indian Termination Policy (1940s-1960s)
  • Indian Termination sought to assimilate natives into mainstream culture by terminated all treaties and past legislations
  • It cancelled all sovereignty rights which included: rights to land, hunting, and fishing.
  • It disbanded tribes and discontinued federal support of health care, education and other social service programs on the reservations
effects of indian termination
Effects of Indian Termination
  • During 1953–1964, 109 tribes were terminated, approximately 1,365,801 acres of trust land were removed from protected status, and 13,263 Native Americans lost tribal affiliation
  • Without tribal affiliation, federal assistance for education and health care was taken away
the american indian movement aim
The American Indian Movement (AIM)
  • Formed in Minneapolis, MN in 1968
  • Born out of a meeting of about 200 people to address past history, rights, and the future of native people
  • The social movement caught the attention of the FBI and CIA and led to numerous conflicts and death of activists
    • 1971- protest in D.C.
    • 1973 - 71 day stand-off at Wounded Knee
goals of aim
Goals of AIM
  • Improve conditions faced by Natives
    • Poverty, housing, treaty issues, police harassment
  • Challenge the marginalization of Native peoples