Native American Rights

The Seeds

-1953-Ike introduces “termination”, intended to close down reservations and force assimilation while recognizing tribes as legal but separate from state. Met with resistance and the mobilization of National Congress of American Indians

-“Contact” starting with Columbus revolutionized life for Native Americans

90% died by 1600, mostly due to disease

Some groups were forced into slave labor (Spanish mission system)

Some were sold into slavery (Carolinas)

-Summary of relations between Europeans and Indians”

  • Spain: Indians in West and Mexico forced into slave labor (Spanish mission system)
    • Encomienda and hacienda systems
  • France: Indians of the eastern woodlands got along well with the French; fur trade and Jesuit missionaries.
  • England: British American colonists pushed Indians further and further west; extermination

Colonial Indian wars: Pequot War (1636); King Philip’s War (1675)

Treaty of Grenville (1795) – Indians removed from Ohio Valley

Battle of Tippecanoe (1811) – Shawnee defeated (Tecumseh) and removed from Ohio Valley

Trail of Tears (1830s and 40s): “Five Civilized Tribes” of southeast ultimately forced to relocate to

Oklahoma: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Seminole, (Chickasaw left voluntarily)

Some Oklahoma tribes fought for the Confederacy during Civil War

Transcontinental Railroad ushered in American movement into “Great West” resulting in war with

Plains Indians and others (incl Sioux, Apache, Nez Perce)

1890 Census: no longer a discernable frontier line

By 1890 nearly all Native Americans on reservations

Helen Hunt Jackson: A Century of Dishonor (1887) stimulated drive to protect Indians but also Christianize and Americanize them

Dawes Severalty Act of 1887: allotment policy for heads of Indian households; destroyed tribal land ownership

Indian Reorganization Act (1934) during New Deal: overturned Dawes Act and restored tribal lands


The Movement

-“Declaration of Indian Purpose” stresses the importance of “the right to choose our own way of life”


-Indian Civil Rights Act passed, recognizes tribal law

-Nixon attempts to appease by appointing a Mohawk-Sioux to the head of the BIA

Occupy Alcatraz, Occupy Wounded Knee, Occupy Bureau of Indian Affairs: “by right of discovery”


  • Court Cases:
    • United States vs. Wheeler: Ends termination and recognizes tribes as a nation within a nation, subject only to federal law
    • County of Oneida vs. Oneida Indian Nation: gives 100k acres of land in upstate NY to Oneida b/c of original right

2 responses to “Native American Rights

  1. Pingback: Map of the US History Guide | Surviving High School: A Hypocrat in a Perpetual State of Procrastination·

  2. Pingback: The Battle For Equality | Surviving High School: A Hypocrat in a Perpetual State of Procrastination·

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