Indian Removal - DOC by 1YJWzRJ6


									                       Indian Removal, 1816–1846

After the War of 1812, increasing conflicts between Native Americans and
expanding Euro-American settlements demanded a solution. In 1830,
Congress acted to create a policy of removal that would relocate Native
Americans to "reserved lands" west of the Mississippi. President Andrew
Jackson was the principal advocate of this policy, declaring in 1830 that
"Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country,…
but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one
have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. … What good man
would prefer a country covered with forests and ranges by a few thousand
savages to our extensive republic… occupied by more than 12,000,000
happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and

Between 1828 and 1838, more than 80,000 Native Americans, particularly
from the Southeast and the Old Northwest, were removed west of the
Mississippi River. After relocation, the U.S. government acquired 15,355,767
acres of Indian lands for its citizens. Tribes suffered population losses when
they were forced west and many tribal governments were weakened and
disrupted as they attempted to create new governments on their western
territories. The removal of Native American societies continued until 1877,
although most relocations occurred before 1846.

                     Reservation Period, 1851–1880

While the removal created temporary space between "American civilization"
and Indian Territory, that space quickly disappeared. As Euro-America
pushed beyond the Mississippi river, policy makers had to devise new ways
of alienating indigenous societies from their lands. To accomplish this task,
on 3 March 1849 Congress created the Department of the Interior to
manage public land, Indian land, and Indian affairs. The Indian Office moved
quickly to address the "Indian problem." Under pressure from an expanding
American population and American industry's demand for more natural
resources, the new department took direct administrative responsibility for
reservations. Beginning in 1851 and continuing for three decades, federal
bureaucrats developed a series of policies for the final solution to the "Indian
problem." Using treaties, coercion, and military force, the government
actively consolidated Native American societies. Commissioner of Indian
Affairs Luke Lea set forth the doctrine in 1851 by calling for the Indians'
"concentration, their domestication, and their incorporation." Reservations
came to be seen as instruments for the achievement of this goal. In a new
flurry of treaty making, the United States acquired millions of acres of Indian
land and assigned the tribes to reservations on a portion of their former

In the years following the publication of the Origin of Species (1859), the
desire to "domesticate" and "incorporate" Indians into American society was
driven by the application of Darwinian evolutionary principles to the
development of social life. Native Americans, like all non-Europeans, were
believed to be intellectually, emotionally, and culturally inferior, but social
evolution predicted that it might be possible to push Native Americans along
the societal hierarchy toward civilization if they were forced to adopt Euro-
American ways of life. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, this
reasoning encouraged further acquisition of tribal land and the creation of
additional reservations.

Although treaties were the primary mechanism for creating reservations,
Congress suspended formal treaty making in 1871.Thereafter, federal
reservations would be established by executive order, congressional act, or
any legal combination recognized by the federal government. Before the turn
of the century, 56 of 162 federal reservations were established by executive
order. After 1919, however, only an act of Congress could establish

                     Forced Assimilation, 1880–1934

The rationale behind the twentieth-century reservation system was two fold:
Native American resources could be further exploited with a minimum of cost
and effort and, the controlled environment of the reservation would provide
for a laboratory in social engineering. The reservation was conceived as a
refuge for a declining race that could be elevated from their inferior status
by assimilation. The Indian Office promoted these objectives by breaking up
the "habits of savage life" by instilling "civilized" values through forced
education, by insisting on agricultural labor, and by pushing the notion of
private property and the development of monetary funds. To this end, the
reservation was conceived as a controlled society where the habits of
civilization could be molded under the direction of the Indian agent and
agency personnel. From 1880 to 1934, ethnocide became an officially
sanctioned policy.

The principal legal instrument for these new policies was the General
Allotment Act, passed in 1887. After the law's passage, more than one
hundred reservations saw their lands fragmented into individual tracts of
160 acres or less. In 1906, the Burke Act granted local Indian Office officials
the power to transfer land from trust status to fee patent status through
application. The act expedited the transfer of Indian lands into Anglo hands.
Over the next fifty years, the U.S. government was able to divest Native
Americans of about 90 million acres. Indian lands decreased from 136
million acres in 1887 to about 48 million acres in 1934, when the act was
finally repealed.

Despite oppressive government policies and actions, Native Americans were
not passive victims of this new authoritarian reservation system. Native
Americans continued to practice their cultural traditions and invent new
ones. The Ghost Dance and the Native American Church stand as examples
of Native American cultural persistence during this bleak period. In addition,
the boarding school experience brought together young from various tribes
who laid the seeds for the emergence of a pan-ethnic identity that cut across
tribal lines. Some tribes also resisted government policies in court or before

Federal officials pressed their assimilationist agenda through the first
decades of the twentieth century. The 1910 Omnibus Act, for example,
though designed to solve heirship problems, authorized the Secretary of
Interior to lease Indian lands, whether allotted or unallotted, and sell Indian
resources. Between 1916 and 1920, Commissioner Cato Sells encouraged
Indian Office personnel to force fee patent status of trust land of all
competent Indians. By the 1920s, most tribes had lost the ability to control
their resources and were in danger of losing valuable reservation resources.

As the federal government was dismantling Native American lands and
societies, it also pressed them to volunteer for military service and to
become U.S. citizens. After World War I, Indian veterans were granted U.S.
citizenship under the Act of 1919. Five years later, all American Indians
would be granted citizenship after the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act.
Both pieces of legislation were intended to undermine Indian ties to their


Slide 1: Introduction, Native American quote, poem or saying & Pictures

Slide 2-3: Indian Removal

Slide 4-6: Reservation Period

Slide 7-9: Forced Assimilation

Slide 10: Native American quote, poem or saying & Pictures

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