American Indian Timeline

By les3
  • Jan 1, 1492

    Christopher Columbus Arrives in America

    Christopher Columbus Arrives in America
    While people had been living in American for thousands of years, 1492 marked the year that Europeans began the exploration and colonization of America. Significance: While at first the Native Americans were not sure what the arrival of Europeans meant for their future, they soon found themselves facing new diseases, conflict for their land, and overall harm by the Europeans
  • Period: Jan 1, 1492 to


  • Native Americans and Jamestown

    Native Americans and Jamestown
    Native Americans brought beans, squash and maize to the pilgrims in Jamestown. Significance: This brought peace between the two groups and opened up trade for both. However, the Native Americans also caught diseases they did not have immune systems for, and many died. They also were supporting the people who were took over their land.
  • Squanto meets Europeans

    Squanto meets Europeans
    Tisquantum, commonly known as Squanto, was captured as a slave by the Spanish, but escaped after being bought by and English priest and he later returned to America. He found his people wiped out by disease, but used his knowledge of english and the land to help the pilgrims.
  • First Thanksgiving is Held

    First Thanksgiving is Held
    Because of Squanto's assistance to the pilgrims, they survived in America and celebrated a strong fall harvest
  • Period: to

    The First Years

    Native Americans during this period were aware of the problems caused by Europeans, and there was conflict betweent the groups
  • Proclamation of 1763

    Proclamation of 1763
    This created the Proclamation Line, a boundary across the Appalachian mountains of which Europeans were forbidden to settle without first reaching an agreement with the Native people who lived there. Significance:The settlers still continued to cross and settle past this boundary, with the government forcing the Natives into treaties that were later broken.
  • Period: to


    Native Americans were forced off their land, and into areas where they were expected to live seperate lives from the Europeans
  • Treaty of Fort Pitt

    Treaty of Fort Pitt
    This was the first written treaty between the U.S. Congress and a Native American tribe. In exchange for the ability to go through the Deleware Indians land, and use their people for support in war against the British, Americans promised to give supplies to the Deleware Indians.
    Signficiance: This treaty shows that congress recognized the Native Americans as a soverign nation. The Americans also failed to uphold the treaty, and the Native Americans became allies with the British instead.
  • Naturalization Act of 1790

    Congress created the law of requirements to become a citizen, and made it so that Native Americans did not qualify. This also meant that they could not own land and limited their ability to legally trade. It was not until 1924 that all Native Americans were given citizenship rights.
  • Lewis & Clark Exploration

    Lewis & Clark Exploration
    Lewis & Clark explored the western states for U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. They could not have succeeded without the Native American, Sacajawea, as their guide and interpreter Significance: The exploration done by Lewis & Clark lead to more immigration of white people to the area by showing a route and value to the land.
  • Creation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

    Creation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
    Congress created the BIA, which works between the Native people and the federal government, although their role and responsibilities have changed over the years. Today they mange the tribes in the United States and determine how resources are shared, and work to promote the lives of the Native Americans they represent.
  • Indian Removal Act

    Indian Removal Act
    President Andrew Jackson passed a law giving the President the power to make treaties that would remove the Native American’s off the land desired by white settlers.He wanted them to exchange the land east of the Mississippi for land west of it, and gave the Native’s the option of becoming U.S. citizens if they wanted to stay in the eastern side. Although the Native’s did not want to agree to this, they were forced to by the U.S. government’s power.
  • Indian removal Act Continued

    Significance: During this period, many Natives died while being forced to the lands in the west and off of their traditional land. which also influenced their lifestyles).Known as the Trail of Tears, 4,000 (about 1/3) of the Natives forced off their land in the Southeast died on the difficult journey to Oklahoma.
  • Dakota Conflict/Sioux Uprising

    Sioux Indians in Southern Minnesota became frustrated with the white’s continuous breaking of treaties and promises.Because of this, many Sioux warriors tried to get the white’s out of their land by killing many of them, hoping to scare others away. However, the U.S. stepped in to protect the white people and went against the Native Americans, bringing some to trial and hanging.303 Native Americans were convicted, however President Lincoln pardoned 265. Significance to Native Americans:The Nati
  • Dakota Conflict Continued

    Significance to Native Americans: The Native Americans who were hung were given very unfair trials, and this was the largest one-time hanging in U.S. history.After the uprising, most Native Americans were forced out of Minnesota, and it lead to the formation of reservations in Minnesota (such as the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in South Dakota).
  • Ft. Laramie Treaty

    This treaty gave the Black Hills Reservation to the Sioux Significance: Soon after this treaty was signed, settlers began entering the hills for gold and in 1877 the U.S. government confiscated the land.The Black Hills are sacred to the Sioux people, and there is still dispute that the land should still be theirs.
  • Ghost Dance Movement

    Ghost Dance Movement
    Inspired by a Paiute Indian's performance of his vision, the ghost dance movement began amongst Native Americans seeking hope and strength while being oppressed by the American military. First performed in 1870, it reached the Sioux Tribe a few months before the Wounded Knee Massacre Influence: The whites became fearful of the Native American's performance of the dance, which lead to the Wounded Knee Massacre
  • End of Treaty Making

    While Native Americans and congress were still expected to fulfill previously made treaties, the making of new treties was stopped. Siginficance: By making agreements, not treaties, with tribes, it showed that congress did not see tribes as independent nations.
  • Creation of Native American Police Force

    Creation of Native American Police Force
    Since 1817, crimes on reservations were tried in federal court and the U.S. army served as the police force. In 1878, congress passed an act to create police forces of Native Americans, who were responsible to stop things such as horse thefts and bootlegging.

    Significance: Although the policeman were of Native American heritage, their loyalty was to the white people and many did harm to their own people, such as the killing of Sitting Bull and forcing Native children to go to boarding schoo
  • Establishment of Carlisle Indian School

    Establishment of Carlisle Indian School
    This was the first off-reservation boarding school for Native American students. It was created to assimilate the children, forcing them to speak english, dress in the European style, and leave behind any Native American culture or traditions.

    Significance: Other schools were created by the government and missionaries, modeled after Carlisle. This school had a negative impact becasue the students culture was taken from them, but many got an education that allowed them to do well in life.
  • Dawes Act

    This act gave land sections of about 160 acres to individual Native Americans (broken up from the reservations).However, after 25 years this land could, and was often, sold.Often this was to whites, thus reducing the amount of land in America owned by the Native Americans. Significance:This act was intended to assimilate the Native Americans with the other 'Americans', by giving them land in the 'European' style, and taking away reservation. The government hoped it would help to make them farme
  • Period: to

    Coercive Assimilation

    Europeans expected the Native Americans to act like Europeans, as farmers and other trades.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    A group of 350 Sioux Indians were expected to give up their weapons to the U.S. military, and were going to be forced to move. Through a language misunderstanding, a gun was shot and the military attacked all of the Natives, including women and children.
    Significance: Despite the cruelty off this massacre, some U.S. soldiers were awaded for their fighting. this, and the massacre itself, increased the hostility between 'Americans' and the American Indians.
  • Period: to

    Tribal Restoration, Phase 1

    In an attempt to restore the Native American tribes, reservations were expanded and were encouraged to improve the quality of the reservations (both environmental enhancements and politically)
  • Johnson-O'Mallery Act

    Johnson-O'Mallery Act
    Provided federal money for education, agriculture, medical, and social help with an emphasis on the education for Native American students Significance: Funding was used to improve the quality of education being recieved at reservation and other public schools for Native American students. This was important because on the reservation, Native Americans don't pay taxes, and were banned from regular public schools. It also allows parents and tribes to have more say in their students education
  • Period: to

    Termination Period

    Congress stopped funding to tribes, and forced the reservations to be divided amongst individuals, although the Native tradition was to share the land and live/work together.
  • Period: to

    Tribal Restoration, Phase 2

    Funding to tribes began again, and laws were passed allowing tribes to make their own political decisions
  • American Indian Movement (AIM)

    American Indian Movement (AIM)
    This movement's roots are were made up of urban Native Americans who were upset with the harrasment and discrimination against them and started the organization in 1968. However, it wasn't until 1971 that they gained enough support and power to gather in D.C. to protest the governments failure to fulfill the treaties written. Significance: this group brought attention to issues that were being ignored by politicians and by the public. AIM also worked to help tribes regain their land rights,
  • AIM continued

    AIM continued
    Significance: AIM brought issues to the attention of politicians and the public. They helped tribes fight to regain their land, create schools that teach urban Native Americans about their culture, and provide legal support to Native Americans dealing with rights issues, such as spear fishing.
  • Wounded Knee Seige

    Wounded Knee Seige
    When faced with problems with the BIA and the tribal council, the Sioux elders asked AIM for assistance. Protestors arrived to the Pine Creek Reservation where the Wounded Knee Massacre had occured, and had a 71 day long occupation. Issues that were addressed included a treaty which promised the black hills to the Sioux and how the BIA and tribal governement were handling the management of land on the reservation.
  • Wounded Knee Seige

    Significance: Once again, AIM brought to the public's attention, the hundreds of broken treaties, and corruption within the Native American government system. However, the violence continued after the ending of the occupation.
  • Native American Language Act

    Native American Language Act
    This act shows the the U.S. government recognizes the importance of language to the Native American people, allowing them to have it as an official language on their reservations, for programs and governmental documents. It also encourages the teaching and use of language.