Aian capitol

Native American and United States Relations

  • Period: Jan 1, 1492 to


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    First Years

  • Ratification of the Articles of Confederation

    Ratification of the Articles of Confederation
    Written by the Second Continential Congress, the document officially established the United States of America. Essentially ratifying the Articles meant that there was now a new and growing nation located on the North American continent that had long been home only to colonists and Natives.
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  • United States Officially receive Louisana Purchase

    United States Officially receive Louisana Purchase
    After years of negotiation with France, the United States finally received a signed treaty that allowed the nation to annex a territory that expanded from present day Lousiana north to Montana. The addition of such lands gave the relatively new country control over many Native lands. The purchase led explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to venture northwestward and eventually run into a number of Midwestern tribes.
  • First Seminole War begins

    First Seminole War begins
    The first of three wars between a group of Native and African Americans and the United States army during the 19th Century. Also known as the Florida Wars, conflict intially arose after General Andrew Jackson attacked and destroyed Negro Fort in Florida. The war last nearly 5 years, though there was never a specific conclusion to the fighting.
  • Establishment of Indian Office

    Establishment of Indian Office
    Secretary of War John Calhoun created the Indian Office under the Department of War. The Office was officially created to examine treaties between the United States and Native peoples, provide directions for Indian schools, and oversee all trading that occurred between Native Americans and their business partners. Eventually in 1849, the Indian Office moved under the direction of the Department of the Interior where it was retitled the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Indian Removal Act passed

    Indian Removal Act passed
    An extremely controversial document, the Indian Removal Act was signed by President Andrew Jackson with the intention of pressuring tens of thousands of Natives to pick up their lives in the southeast and move their tribes westward. In exchange for lands and large sums of money, numerous chiefs agreed to sign the legislation and relocate their tribes in areas that would one day become Oklahoma.
  • Trail of Tears

    Trail of Tears
    After the installation of the Indian Removal Act, Native tribes in the southeast portion of the United States were forced to move westward. Often referred to as a "death march," the Natives were forced to march hundreds of miles in large groups. As a result, numerous communicable diseases, as well as starvation, spread through camps, killing hundreds of helpful Indians.
  • Navajo Wars begin

    Navajo Wars begin
    After months of arguing whether or not military horses and livestock should be allowed to graze on Native lands, a Navajo chief and his warriors attacked a military fort in northeastern Arizona. Following the attack, military forces fought back and started a war that would last four years and be fought all over Arizona and New Mexico.
  • Treaty of Fort Laramie

    Treaty of Fort Laramie
    Also known as the Sioux Treaty of 1868, the agreement between the United States and a number of Lakota, Dakota, and Arapaho groups promised the Black Hills to the Lakota people. Formally bringing an end to Red Cloud's War, it also stated that the Powder River Country was closed to whites. The treaty would be broken in 1877 when the government seized the Natives' lands.
  • Battle of Little Big Horn

    Battle of Little Big Horn
    Known to the Natives as the Battle of Greasy Grass, the armed skirmish occurred between the Lakota, Arapaho, and Northern Cheyenne and the 7th Calvary of the United States Army nearly the Little Big Horn River. The battle proved that the Natives could stand up to the United States, after all they would able to knock down the infamous General Custer.
  • United States Seizes Black Hills

    United States Seizes Black Hills
    After General Custer's announced the discovery of gold in his 1874 Black Hills expedition, thousands of prospectors ventured west to stake their claims. The flocks of whites entering the Lakota territory caused great conflict, and in return, the United States chose to seize the lands. This violated the Fort Laramie Treaty and later led to a serious lawsuit between the Lakotas and the United States.
  • First Native Boarding School Opens

    First Native Boarding School Opens
    In the spring of 1879, Carlisle Indian Industrial School opens its doors to 84 Lakota Native youth arriving from South Dakota. In the next two decades, nearly 81 additional boarding schools would open up across the nation. The intention of such schools was to "civilize" the Natives and hopefully assimilated them into our society.
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    Coercive Assimilation

  • Passage of the Dawes Act

    Passage of the Dawes Act
    The Dawes Act, signed into law by President Harrison, divided the Native lands into individual allotments for indians. United States leaders hoped that individual ownership of the land rather than tribal ownership would help Natives to assimilate. The Act was amended twice and eventually repealed with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act.
  • Ghost Dance Movement

    Ghost Dance Movement
    Starting in 1890, a number of Native American tribes began participating in a relgious movemeent known as the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance, a circle dance, was intended to rejuvenate the Earth and eventually restore the Earth’s caretakers to their form existence. The movement spread across the United States, but eventually was practiced in secrecy because the meaning of dance scared the white population.
  • Wounded Knee Massacre

    Wounded Knee Massacre
    On December 29th, the 7th Calvary ventured onto the Pine Ridge Reservation into order to diarm the Natives living there. In the process, a skirmish broke out and open fire occured from both sides. In the end, 150 Lakotas were killed and 50 more were injured. Most believed the event was the Calvary's way of revenging Custer's death.
  • Indian Citizenship Act

    Indian Citizenship Act
    The Act offered citizenship and the right to vote within the United States to all indigenous people. However, some Natives chose not to become full fledged citizens, but rather remain a member of their own tribe. Inevitably, 125,000 of the 300,000 Indians within the borders of the United States chose to become members of a new nation.
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    Tribal Restoration, Phase I

  • Indian Reorganization Act

    Indian Reorganization Act
    Passed as a part of the Indian New Deal, the legislation ensured certain rights to Native Americans. In addition to reversing the Dawes Act, it allowed tribes to return to self-government. The Act also allowed Natives to control their own assets. Though it did not require tribes to create a constitution, those that did chose to write one had to include specific stipulations.
  • National Congress of American Indians

    National Congress of American Indians
    Founded in 1944, the NCAI is an American Indian and Alaskan Native organization that focuses on the rights of indigenous people. Still around today, the group allows all tribes across the country to be able to unite and more easily communicate with the government.
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  • Passage of House Concurrent Resolution 108

    Passage of House Concurrent Resolution 108
    The Resolution kicked off the termination era in the United States. Through this legislation, the government revoked the federal recognization of many Native Americans. Therefore, it removed government responsibilities and protection over the Natives in their borders.
  • Passage of Public Law 280

    Passage of Public Law 280
    Passed concurrently with Passage of House Concurrent Resolution 108, this federal legislation claimed that the United States would now "assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians." In CA, MN, NE, OR, WI, and AL federal law enforcement authority of specific tribes was transferred to the state governments. Therefore, local police forces would take criminal tribal members to state courts.
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    Tribal Restoration, Phase II

  • Indian Civil Rights Act passed

    Indian Civil Rights Act passed
    The legislation ensured that many, not all, of the gurantees within the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment would be promised to the tribes. It revised Public Law 280, by requiring Native constent prior to extending jurisdiction over a reservation and amended the Major Crimes Act.
  • Nixon's "Special Message on Indian Affairs"

    Nixon's "Special Message on Indian Affairs"
    After nearly two decades of termination policies, President Nixon formally announced to Congress that the United States' past federal policy approach toward the Native Americans would be changing. Rather than attempting to terminate the Indian lifestyle, the government was looking into a new era with their indigenous friends known as self-determination.
  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act

    American Indian Religious Freedom Act
    A federal law enacted "to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians." With the passage of the Act, the United States' government agencies were not to infer with relgious practice of Native people on the bases of the First Amendment.