General Allotment Act of 1887
or Dawes Act
National legislation that converted
communally owned Native American
reservation lands into individually owned
Excess acreage was sold to white settlers.
Enactment contributed to the further decline
of tribal populations, traditions, and well
The Dawes Act: The Plan
The new plan to rescue Native Americans
from extinction called for an aggressive
assault on tribalism by parceling out
communally owned reservation land on a
severalty (individual) basis.
Hundreds of thousands of acres remaining
after the individual 160-acre allotments had
been made were then sold at bargain prices to
land-hungry or land-speculating whites.
The Dawes Act: Consequences
This allotment, designed to absorb the Native Americans into
the society of the United States, turned out to be a monumental
In addition to losing their “surplus” tribal land, many Native
Americans families lost their allotted land as well, despite the
government’s 25-year period of trusteeship.
The poorest of the nation’s poor—many of them now landless
and the majority still resisting assimilation—Native Americans
reached their lowest population numbers shortly after the turn
of the 20th century.
In June 1924 the U.S. Congress granted these original
Americans United States citizenship.
Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance
Late 1880s the Sioux began practicing a religion
taught by Wovoka, a Paiute prophet who promised
that performing the ritual ghost dance would result in
the return of native lands, the rise of dead
ancestors, the disappearance of the whites, and a
future of eternal peace and prosperity.
Nearby white settlers, frightened by the rituals,
called for federal intervention. The U.S. Army
believed Chief Sitting Bull to be the instigator of an
impending rebellion, and he was arrested in December
Wounded Knee and Sitting Bull
As Sitting Bull was being led away over the
objections of his supporters, a gunfight
Thirteen people, including Sitting Bull, were
killed. His followers then fled, some to the
camp of Chief Big Foot.
The 7th Cavalry pursued the Sioux to an
encampment near Wounded Knee Creek.
Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890
On December 29, 1890, a shot was fired within the
camp and the army began shooting.
Accounts of the precise events and the death toll
vary considerably but it is likely that the soldiers
killed between 150 and 370 Sioux men, women, and
children, the great majority of whom were unarmed
Thirty-one U.S. soldiers were killed in action, many of
them from fire by their own troops.
AIM: American Indian Movement
Part of Red Power Movement
Coincided with Black Power Movement
Less about passive resistance and more
about aggressive confrontation of govt.
Very politically active
Cultural movement as well as political
Occupation of Alcatraz
Young Indian activists wanted to make a statement about the treatment of
American Indians by the U.S. government.
“Termination and relocation” policies took people off their homelands, moved
them to major urban areas and then cut them loose on receipt of their first
Ancestral land was appropriated by the federal government in an attempt to
assimilate Indians into American society. Much of the tribal land was taken over
and sold to private citizens or corporations, angering many American Indians.
Since Alcatraz, which was unused federal land, had been declared “abandoned,” a
group of activists from the American-Indian Movement (AIM) claimed it as
As many as 90 people lived on the island for 19 months. Damage to the
lighthouse gave the federal government an excuse to storm the island and
forcible remove them.
The most important result of the occupation was that President Nixon, after
much lobbying by Leonard Garment, ended the termination and relocation
policies, and established self-determination on Indian lands.
morning after the
Hoka Hay roughly
Wounded Knee, 1973
The second incident started on February 27,
1973, when armed supporters of the
American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and
held Wounded Knee, demanding a U.S. Senate
investigation of Native American problems.
Federal law enforcement officers were sent
to the site, and during gunfire exchanges, two
Native Americans were killed and several
people on both sides were injured.
Wounded Knee: Similar Consequences
The siege ended 70 days later, when the Native
Americans were promised that negotiations
concerning their grievances would be considered.
After one meeting with White House representatives
and a promise of a second one, the Native Americans
were informed that their treaty grievances should be
referred to Congress.
No further meetings took place.
Using your text and lecture, create a
timeline of Native American Minority-
Dominant Relations noting legal, social
and economic changes. (At least 10
items with full descriptions of the