Native American Civil Rights


The position of Native Americans in 1865 and the P

The Plains Indians- the native american lifestlye included worshipping nature, nomadic, tribal laws, government, languages, cultures and ceremonies, the threats to native americans included manifest destiny and assimilation, the Removal act, the hunting of the buffalo and the building of rail roads.

The Plains Wars- As a result of the Civil War and the inroduction of volunteer troops Native Americans acted out of hunger as the government were no longer providing food violence broke out and mant Natives were killed.

Loss of Land- Fort Laramie treaties, Fort Wise treaty, medicine lodge treaty.

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The progress and development of Native American ri


The Reservation Policy- prevented freedom of movement and enforced policies forbidding polygamy, herbal remedies, tribal laws, communal living, tribal chiefs and sent children to oof-reservation boarding schools.

The Dawes Severalty Act 1887- allotments, forced into farming


Indian Citizenship Act- right to vote, speed up assimilation and did not restore their sovereignity.

The Meriam Report- announced that Native schools were underfunded and understaffed and condemned the allotment policy stating that the Natives were the most impoverised in the US

Roosevelt's New Deal- Wheeler- Howard Act 1934 gave Natives the right to practice their religion, to dance ceremonially, the ability to prevemt the sale of their land and the extension of political rights to women.

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The Native American movement 1945-92


Termination- speed up assimilation, no longer wards of the state. Natives were encouraged to move to the cities, many could not adapt and returned to reservations and those who remained in the cities established ghettoes.


The restoration of land- slow process, not all land was restored and despite money being offered instead of land Natives refused this as they wanted their land back.

Religion- respect for native religion was restored and 30 states passed laws protecting native burial grounds and remains.

Society and Culture- Bureau of Indian Affairs

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Federal government attitudes and actions

Hindering Rights- manifest destiny, allotment policy, reservation policy, economic problems led to revenues of the natives being reduced

Supporting Rights- New Deal. improved education, some natives regained their sovereignity and self-determination, some lost lands were restored.  Ford and Carter introduced the Indian Self- Determination and Education Assistance Act 1975, the Native American Religious Freedom Act 1975 and the Indian Child Welfare Act 1978

The Supreme Court- the court faced pressure from the Red Power movement and did much to advance the rights of Native Americans.

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Native American pressure groups

Native American Divisions- divisions between tribes meant there was no united fronty, some tribes gave in and made treaties, Natives were spread across the country and lacked an agreed aim.

WW2- National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) brought tribes together making them aware of racism. Pressure from the NCAI resulted in the Indian Claims Commission (ICC)

The response to termination- led to the formation of the National Indian Youth Council it took on law cases protecting treaties and religious freedom.

The importance of Red Power and the American Indian Movement- AIM

Native American actions- patrols of the streets, fish-ins, published literature, pursued supreme court cases, siege of Alcatraz, Mt. Rushmore occupation, took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and occuppied Wounded Knee.

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Gilded Age 1875-1895

Gains- Dawes Severalty act gave some the oppurtunities to own land and become full citizens, reservations established, boarding schools.

Lack of progress- loss of independence, reservation policy failed, reservation life was harsh, land was given to the male head of the 'house' removing matriarchs status in their community, unable to adapt, education on the reservations was poor, massacre at wounded knee.

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New Deal

Improvements- Wheeler Howard Act, enabled freedom of religion, stopped the sale of native lands. children were to attend local schools, greater respect of their culture, tribal councils restored, trainig to farm was provided, allotment policy abandoned and prevented further loss of land.

Failures- assimilation continued, voting was alien to the natives, no seperate federal court for Natives, insufficient funds to buy back reservation lands and many of the gains made were temporary.

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The Black Power Movement and Native Americans

Influence- AIM influenced by Black Power, encouraged unity among native americans, encouraged the peaceful methods of the natives to be abandoned, the term Red Power taken directly from Black Power?

Red Power owed very little to Black Power- WW2 united tribes, pressure groups were already becoming successful, militancy a result of the situation they were in, there were a range of movements at this time and the Red Power movement should be viewed as one of many.

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