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Native American Policy

Uploaded by christina_cloud9 on Mar 03, 2002

In the 30 years after the Civil War, although government policy towards Native Americans intended to shift from forced separation to integration into American society, attempts to “Americanize” Indians only hastened the death of their culture and presence in the America. The intent in the policy, after the end of aggression, was to integrate Native Americans into American society. Many attempts at this were made, ranging from offering citizenship to granting lands to Indians. All of these attempts were in vain, however, because the result of this policies is much the same as would be the result of continued agression.

Beginning in the 1860s and lasting until the late 1780s, government policy towards Native Americans was aggressive and expressed zero tolerance for their presence in the West. In the last 1850s, tribal leaders and Americans were briefly able to compromise on living situations and land arrangements. Noncompliance by Americans, however, resumed conflict. The beginning of what would be called the “Indian Wars” started in Minnesota in 1862. Sioux, angered by the loss of much of their land, killed 5 white Americans. What resulted was over 1,000 deaths, of white and Native Americans. From that point on, American policy was to force Indians off of their land. American troops would force Indian tribe leaders to accept treaties taking their land from them. Protests or resistance by the Indians would result in fighting. On occasion, military troops would even lash out against peaceful Indians. Their aggression became out of control.

Indian policy gradually shifted from this aggressive mindset to a more peaceable and soft line policy. The Indian Wars ended in 1980 with the Battle of Wounded Knee. The battle resulted in over 200 deaths, but also, almost officially, marked a change in Indian policy. Although the change had subtly began before then, policies then became more kind. The Peace Commission created the reservation policy, although this was created 27 years before the Battle at Wounded Knee. The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 was the greatest of reform efforts. The Act provided the granting of landholding to individual Native Americans, replacing communal tribal holdings. Another policy, the Burke Act of 1906, allowed Indians to become citizens if they left their tribes. Citizenship was eventually granted to all Native Americans in the 1920s.

Although the intentions of Indian policy shifted, the outcomes of these policies still helped to suppress Native Americans and their culture. The...

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Uploaded by:   christina_cloud9

Date:   03/03/2002

Category:   American History

Length:   3 pages (616 words)

Views:   2331

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