- Reservations until 1871 were set up through treaties with tribes.
- Land was provided to various tribes.
- After 1871 Native Americans lost the right to making decisions on setting up reservations, relocation and redesignation (Congress decided these things without consultation). The army enforced boundaries.
- Life on the reservations was harsh as the nomadic tradition was destroyed- they couldn't hunt buffalo so lost their main subsistence. Land was often impossible to cultivate. Tribes suffered from diseases brought in by the white settlers and drought led to starvation.
- There were some positive influences in that people who wanted to assimilate got jobs and better healthcare. They had a sense of independence.
- Wounded Knee 1890: Women, children and elderly were killed after fleeing their reservation even though they were unarmed.
Dawes Act 1887
- Aimed to be rid of the reservations
- Americanisation by allocating 160 acres of farmland/ 320 acres of grazing
- After 25 years N.As would have ownership, then citizenship
- Successful in destroying reservation system with few remaining
- Land owning Indians paid taxes- gained full right of citizenship
- Native Americans still faced prejudice when attempting to assert rights
- Division and ownership; alien to beliefs that land belonged to all
- Land allocated was brought by white settlers putting N.As in debt
Indian Citizenship Act
- Citizenship was conferred on them whether they wanted it or not
- Relentless drive for assimilation
- Didn't intend to empower American Indians; reform for their population wasn't a priority for politicians they voted in
- Negative response from those who sought to maintain their traditional rights and resist assimilation
Indian Reorganisation Act
- Radical reversal to governmental policy.
- The act meant Indians could have mire influence and involvement in administration of reservations and rights to practise their religious beliefs.
- Political rights given to women and gave opportunity for them to train in domestic work.
- Women were encouraged to produce arts and crafts as an economic venture.
- Funded the building of hospitals, schools and irrigation systems (improve conditions).
- Significant for progress in the civil rights movement.
Policy of Termination (post WW2)
- Ended recognition of the existence of tribes and treaty rights, saw them as independent, self-supporting 'Americans'.
- Encouraged to relocate from reservations to city life (americanisation).
- Denied the right to practice their traditional rituals and religious beliefs- took their culture away.
- It wasn't until Nixon's presidency that it was officially abandoned.
Indian Vocational Training Act
- Implemented in 1956.
- It established training for American Indians so they could gain a 'marketable skill'- more attractive for employment.
- Funded by the fed-gov. and given to all who applied and were under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Indian Education Act
- Brought in by Nixon in 1972.
- Start of change for Native Americans.
- It increased funding for Indian schools and closed the controversial boarding schools.
- Measures were upheld by the Supreme Court.
Indian Self-Determination/ Education Assistance Ac
- Rejected assimilation.
- 1st act:Tribes could negociate contracts with BIA to take responsibility for own education, health and social service provision.
- 2nd act: gave American Indian parents greater involvement in their kid's education through membership on school boards.
- Greater significance than Roosevelt's New Deal?
Legislation in 1970 onwards
- Native American Religious Freedom Act 1978: it marked an important step forward in direction of giving Native Americans the right to "believe, express and exercise traditional religions...worship". It also stimulated action to recover sacred objects etc...
- Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978: attempted to determine rights of parents to refuse their children being taken away from their families.
- Native American Grave Protection Act of 1990 required all federal funded institutions to repatriate American Indian remains, grave goods and sacred objects (extension to the first act).