A Timeline of Oppression

  • Jan 31, 1492

    1492 Columbus

    1492 Columbus
    When Christopher Columbus first came in contact with native people, he wrote: "They all go around as naked as their mothers bore them; and also the women." He also noted that "they could easily be commanded and made to work, to sow and to do whatever might be needed, to build towns and be taught to wear clothes and adopt our ways," and, "they are the best people in the world and above all the gentlest."
  • Jul 8, 1524

    First kidnapping

    First kidnapping
    The first kidnapping in America took place when Italian explorers kidnapped an Indian child to bring to France.
  • Mar 30, 1541

    Native Uprising

    Native Uprising
    Faced with an incipient uprising, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado ordered an attack on the Moho Pueblo, a center of Indian resistance. His men were repulsed when they tried to scale the walls, so they settled in for a siege that lasted from January through March. When the Moho tried to slip away, the Spaniards killed more than 200 men, women and children.
  • Jan 27, 1542


    Under pressure from religious leaders, especially the Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas, Spanish Emperor Carlos V attempted to impose "New Laws" on the Spanish colonies, ending the encomienda system that gave settlers the right to Indian slave labor.
  • Jamestown

    On July 3, Indians brought maize, beans, squash, and fresh and smoked meat to the Jamestown colony. As at Plymouth years later, the colonists and their diseases would eventually exterminate them.
  • Massacre

    English settlers in New England massacred a Pequot Indian village.
  • The Scalp Act

    The Scalp Act
    Governor Robert Morris declared war on the Delaware and Shawnee Indians. Included in his war declaration was "The Scalp Act,” which put a bounty on the scalps of Indian men, women and boys.
  • 1st Reservation

    1st Reservation
    The first Indian reservation in North America was established by the New Jersey Colonial Assembly.
  • Treaties and Betrayal

    Treaties and Betrayal
    Tecumseh, Chief of the Shawnee, and his brother, known as The Prophet, founded Prophetstown for the settlement of other Indian peoples who believed that signing treaties with the US government would culminate in the loss of the Indian way of life. At the same time, Tecumseh organized a defensive confederacy of Indian tribes of the Northwestern frontier who shared a common goal - making the Ohio River the permanent boundary between the United States and Indian land. Meanwhile, William Henry Harri
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    On April 7, President Andrew Jackson submitted a bill to Congress calling for the removal of tribes in the east to lands west of the Mississippi. On May 28th, the Indian Removal Act was passed, and from 1830 to 1840 thousands of Native Americans were forcibly removed. On September 15, the Choctaw sign a treaty exchanging 8 million acres of land east of the Mississippi for land in Oklahoma. On December 22, the State of Georgia made it unlawful for Cherokee to meet in council, unless it is for
  • Disease & Pandemics

    Disease & Pandemics
  • Trail of Tears

    Trail of Tears
    Trail of Tears - Despite the Supreme Court's rulings in 1831 and 1832 that the Cherokee had a right to stay on their lands, President Jackson sent federal troops to forcibly remove almost 16,000 Cherokee who had refused to move westward under the unrecognized Treaty of New Echota (1835) and had remained in Georgia. In May, American soldiers herded most into camps where they remained imprisoned throughout the summer and where at least 1,500 perished. The remainder began an 800-mile forced march.
  • Citizenship Denied

    Citizenship Denied
    Congress overrides President Johnson's veto of the Civil Rights Bill, giving equal rights to all persons born in the U.S. (except Indians). The President is empowered to use the Army to enforce the law.
  • Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse

    Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse
    The War Department authorized General Philip Sheridan to commence operations against "hostile" Lakota, including bands of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
  • Indian Citizenship

    Indian Citizenship
    Indian Citizenship Act - This Congressional Act extended citizenship and voting rights to all American Indians. Some Indians, however, did not want to become US citizens, preferring to maintain only their tribal membership.
  • The Report

    The Report
    The Meriam Report "The Problem of Indian Administration." - The report, commissioned by the Department of Interior in 1926, focused on the poverty, ill health, and despair that characterized many Indian communities. It recommended reforms that would increase the BIA's efficiency, and promote the social and economic advancement of Indians: the termination of allotment and the phasing out of Indian boarding schools.
  • AIM

    American Indian Movement (AIM) - Shortly after the Minneapolis Anishinaabeg formed an "Indian Patrol" to monitor police activities in Indian neighborhoods, AIM was co-founded by Dennis Banks. The new organization was comprised primarily of young urban Indians who believed that direct and militant confrontation with the US government was the only way to redress historical grievances and to gain contemporary civil rights; and that the tribal governments organized under the IRA (1934) were not trul
  • Gaming Begins

    Gaming Begins
    The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Gaming - The Seminole were the first tribe to enter into the bingo gaming industry. Their endeavors encouraged other tribes to begin gaming enterprises on reservations as a step towards greater economic self-sufficiency.
  • American Indians are People Not Mascots

    American Indians are People Not Mascots
    The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media exists to fight the powerful influence of major media who choose to promulgate messages of oppression. The impetus which formed NCRSM was the clear case of media coupling imagery with widely held misconceptions of American Indians in the form of sports team identities resulting in racial, cultural, and spiritual stereotyping. NCRSM formed in October of 1991.