Native American revision cards


Manifest Destiny

Westwards expansion. This is where it became government policy to attract white settlers to populate the lands which NA's were living on.

The Indians were gradually removed from their lands, migration to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida was forced on them. Moved 170,000 Indians.

Those who remained couldn't fish as they had their rights taken away from them and many didn't have the skills to hunt. 

The belief held by white Americans that it was their divine right to expand to the west and the land had been given to them by God, therefore they had to populate the lands if it was required for farming, stock rearing, timber cutting or railroad building. They had the option to take it from NA's without having to consult them first. 

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Since 1851 with the first Fort Laramie Treaty (Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne). Indians had been signing over land to the government for peace or other, often smaller, plots of land.

In1861, the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed by the Sioux with the government and established 'The Great Sioux Reserve'. This provided ample land for the various tribes and it was agreed that this couldnt be changed without the agreement of 3/4 of the male population of tribes.

These treaties restricted their freedom to follow the Buffalo --> starvation which was increased during the civil war when the food aid being sent to them often never reached them.

The treaties were repeatedly broken by the Federal Government and the Native Americans were forced onto reservations. This was prominent in 1871 when Congress decided to set up reservations and relocate the tribes without any consultation.

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Homestead Act 1862

Lands previously belonging to indians became available to white americans, this encouranged settlement in the West. 

This allowed them to put in a free claim of up to 160 acres of land for a small fee, and they had to live there for 5 years. However, the land given wasn't always ideal for farming and few families had the resources needed in order to start farming. 

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Time of hostility between tribes and federal troops over land.

Series of 'wars' e.g. Sand Creek Massacre 1864- troops attacked undefended cheyenne camp.

The Plains Wars 1862- 67. These were a series of clashes rather than wars between the Indian tribes and units of the US army. Many of the clashes were over the government not sticking to their part of the deal after the land was handed over. They weren't providing the Indians with enough food. Hungre drove thm to hostility.

The signing of treaties handing over land to the government. 

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Assimilation and Reservation Policy

All forced to live together on reservation land- despite inter-tribe hostilities.

Plan was for americanisation - turning them into american farmers.

All children were to have an american education and all Indians had to convert to Christianity.

There was to be no communal living, polygamy and tribal laws were removed.

Some tried to defy the system e.g, the Souix when they escaped which led to the Battle of Little Bighorn 1876- Soiux killed general custer and his men. As punishment their reservation was reduced and some were left to starve.

Denied Civil Rights as they were under government aid and did not pay tax.

Due to drought and disease epidemic, Indians relied soley on food from the government, which often never reached them so over half of the indian population was reduced due to starvation.

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Massacre at Wounded Knee 1890

Due to fear from whites that there was to be a mass Indian Uprising.

Shot sioux leader sittingbull, so fled to Chief Bigfoot where they were rounded up and shot.

200 starving unarmed men, women and children were killed in open fire. This was a result of them leaving the reservations in order to get food. The government found them and gunned them down. 

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Education of Native Americans

Education was compulsary to 'Americanisation'- taught on reservation schools, however there were issues of language barriers and lack of teachers due to the harsh condtions.

Some children were sent to out of reservation boarding schools, which taught essential skills. They had their hair cut short and had to wear uniforms which were uncomfortable. 

Children were harshly punished if they spoke in thier native language, they would be beaten, smacked and given diets of bread and water. 

They were sent to live with white families for 3 years where they laboured or were servants. 

The end result was to try to cut ties with old traditions for the new generation of Indians, hence the curriculum was designed to determine their future. 

However, after education many returned back to the reservations, but were known as untrustworthy as they had been schooled to be models of 'Americanisation'. Stuck. 

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Dawes Act 1887

It was in response to the failure of forming reservations to 'Americanise' Indians. The decision was made in Congress to divide the land into 160 acres per NA family to farm. 

He believed that the ownership of land would be a civilising influence. 

In terms of desroying reservations it was largely successful, by 1990 only 78 million of the original 150 million acres of reservations remained. 

Land-owning Indians payed taxes so gained full rights of citizenship, however they faced discrimination and prejudice. 

Those unuccessful returned to reservations and reisted assimilation, their loss of tribal lands just increased their determination to remain separate. 

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Indian Education Act 1893

Made going to school compulsary.

Those that did not send their children to school had their rations reduced and other government aid removed.

An 1893 court ruling increased pressure to keep Indian children in Boarding schools. It was not until 1978 with the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act that Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in off-reservation schools.

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Curtis Act 1898

Was an amendment to the Dawes Act which proposed the termination of the rights of these tribes to be self-governing by 1906. 

Congress also combined the Indian territory and Oklahoma territory into the state of Oklahoma in 1907.

It made mandatory the allotment of land to the 5 civilised tribes of Oklahoma, who had previously been exempt from the Dawes Act.

Took away their freedom and right to still practice tribal laws. 2 million acres of their land was taken away by white setttlers. 

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Indian Rights Association

Set up in 1882.

Concentrated on assimilation of Native Americans in order to improve their wellbeing.

Concentrated on religious aspects of tribal life.

Shaped Indian Policy in the 1930's.

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The Melting Pot 1908

A play that promoted the idea that in the USA people of different nationalities and origins fuse together into one nation.

It was a challenge to the American government presented by the mass of imigration, the challenge was how these people, speaking so many different languages, bringing their own traditions and religious beliefs, could be assmiliated into one nation. 

the majority of NA's who had already demonstrated resistance to assimilation in the 19th century continued to resist any attempt at integration and continued to claim their right to be separate. 

The melting pot underpinned policies of Indian Assimilation.

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Lone Wolf v Hitchcock 1903

Lone Wolf was a Kiowa chief who, along with the Commanches, made the Midicine Lodge Treaty in 1867 that established reservation lands for the use of the tribes.

it contained a clause stating that the agreement of 4/5 of the male population would be needed to change the terms of the treaty. 

When Congress went against this, Lone Wolf took legal action against Hitchcock.

The Supreme Court supported the power of the US government to revoke all treaties made with the NA tribes. 

In making this decision the Court described the NA's as being "an ignorant and dependent race" who weren't citizens of the US and therefore had no rights.

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The Society of American Indians 1911

A group of 50 educated AI men and women that advocated assimilation and it was the first attempt to form an inter-tribal pressure group.

They lobbied for improvements in healthcare and education on Reservations and right to citizenship.

However their lack of funding meant they were unable to challenge discrimination in court, and meant that their impact was limited. 

They had no mass support as most indians were against the idea of assimilation, and communication was difficult due to the fact they were sprea out over vast areas of the US.

It collapsed in the early 1920's, achieving very little. 

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Approximately 10,000 Indians served in the war, all of which were intergrated with the white troops. This was important as it allowed for socialisation with the white american. This also helped them gain recognition by the government for their bravery.

The government sponsored some famililes to move away from the reservations to work in defense industries. This was the first stage of urbanisation for AI's. For some, their experiences of working beyond the reservations inclined them towards assimilation. 

Many thought the war had a civilisong influence.

In 1919- NA war veterans were granted citizenship.

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The Dance Order 1923

In 1921, the Pueblo Indians lost most of their land as a result of a Supreme Court decision in 1913 that declared them as incapable of managing their own land.

This was followed up in 1921 and 1923 by what became known as the 'The Dance Order' which banned Pueblo Indians from performing traditional, ritual dances.

It was seen as a direct attack on their civil and religious rights.

Led to the set up of AIDA (led by John Collier) in 1923, whose aim was to protect the rights of Indians to their lands, beliefs, cultures, traditions and their arts and crafts. It was successful in blocking the Bursum and Leavitt bills that posed a threat to the Pueblos. 

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Indian Citizenship Act 1924

Gave them citizenship and voting rights.

It was partly given to them as a reward for WW1, however more to add to the governments relentless drive for total assimilation. 

Citizenship was given to them whether they wanted it or not. 

2/3 of Indians could already vote, therefore its doubtful that the act actually made a difference. It was more goven to them to promote assimilation, rather than empower them. 

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Meriam Report 1928

Condemed goverement for depriving Indians of land and basic education, health care on the reservations and additional support to achieve economic security. 

It also claimed that the policy had robbed them of their self-esteem and destroyed their families and communities. Critised assimilation for the first time.

It wasn't condeming assimilation, just the policy of allotment.

Hoover appointed a new Indian commissioner, Charles Rhodes, to put together a reform package along the lines of those suggested in the report. This included improved reservation schoolsand improved medical facilities.

Even through the depression federal aid was increased to relieve the suffering and improve the quality of life for the reservation Indians.  

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Indian Reorganisation Act 1934 (New Deal)

Pushed by John Collier - it was the revival of Indian culture. It included indians being able to: have more authority over land, indian women to be educated, funding to tribes to buy back land, reservations enlarged, new ones formed and better conditions.

  • Successes:
  • By 1938- population had increased rapidly due to better healthcare.
  • reintroduction of native americans into indian Bureau --> make indian policies.
  • revival of tribal councils --> re-emergence of tribal cultures.
  • Ended alottment process + received funding from govt to support economic development.
  • Failures:
  • attempt by govt to further push assimilation - recognising benifits of education and healthcare.
  • Many native americans didn't want the change- liked alotments/ assimilation.
  • Federal funds not sufficient enough to buy back land.
  • a lot of John Collier's original bill was compramised- didn't want to give full authority back to native americans. 
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  • 100,000 indians left reservations to either fight or take jobs in urban cities. 25,000 went to fight, 75,000 moved to urban areas to work in the defense industry. 
  • Those that remained on reservations were met with great hardship, due to lack of resources and funding from the government due to it being spent on the war.
  • Many Japanese americans were also relocated to indian reservation land.
  • Returning indian soldiers were forced back to reservations due to discrimination, rather than being able to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered to white American war veterans.
  • Most workers driven back to reservations due to discrimination and competition for jobs after the war.
  • NCAI set up 1944.
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NCAI 1944

The most lasting and significant outcome of the war. Represented a realisation that in order to bring change, NA's had to unite in protest.

Worked through the courts challenging discrimination in employment, education and breaking of treaties.

The view of the majority of its NA supporters that this was the way forward. 

It was the beginning of the Indian protest movement and the first sign that the tribes would join together to pursue justice. 

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Indian Claims Commission 1946-78

In response to pressure from the NCAI.

The means whereby indians could file in order to regain land.

However, many claims weren't settled, and when they were money was given instead of the land, therefore they did the Indians few favours. 

In instances such as the Sioux Indians claim to the Black Hills of Dakota, their financial compensation was refused and so the tribes continued to fight for their land. 

Further drive by the government to complete assimilation of the NA population and end its responsibility for the reservation Indians. They were seen as a drain on financial resources. 

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Harrison v Laveen 1948

Regarded as one of the most important legal cases in American Indian history.

When they went to register their vote the county recorder, Laveen, refused to allow it. They claimed that their rights had been violated when they weren't allowed to register their vote. 

Fought by NCAI.

Although the court decided in ther favour, many other states (especially in the west) still ignored the decision and discriminated against NA's. 

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Termination Policy 1953

Hasten total assimilation. The government stopped viewing indians as wards of the government and stopped recognising tribes and treaty rights.

Plans were set in motion to end federal control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and to make NA's subject to the same laws and give them the same rights as as all other American citizens. 

The policy gave Indians american rights, and they were recognised as self, supporting american citizens. The indian land was sold on. They were given financial support until they found work and houses. Only in order to lure them away from reservations. Attractive to young NA's. 

Due to high unemployment, BIA encouraged Indians to move to urban cities from reservations, initial response was high, however it was ultimately perceived as a failure. 

Ended in 1968 by Lyndon Johnson who saw the poor position of Indians and set up housing and education programmes for the Indians. Also promoted Indian self-help and respect.  This gave them help eoth education, better houses and legal aid so they knew their rights.

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Urbanisation 1960's

By 1960, 60,000 left reservations for cities. Relocation was forced and traumatic. 

Benifited to some extent from the policy of affirmative action that banned discrimination in the workplace on account of ethnicity, however they still faced white hostility, this was new to them as they had little contact while on the reservations. 

However, by 1960 highest unemployment rates (18%) and extremely poor housing, 25% were classed as poor. Their life expectancy was also 20 years lower than national average.

Instead of assimilation- it achieved quite the opposite as the culture shock was enormous, there were language barriers and so 40-70% returned to reservations. This meant worse quality of life but they formed ghettos where they could be themselves. Young Indians becomming more militant as 60's progressed.

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American Indian Movement 1968

Young Urban Indians.

Direct and militant confrontation with US government was the only way to redress historical grievences and gain contemporary civil rights.

Tribal governments under IRA not truely legitimate in preserving Indian culture.

Advocated red power.

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Seige of Alcatraz 1969-1971

Led by Richard Oakes - believed and campaigned for NA's to control their own destinies, to retain their land, culture and their way of life.

The aim was to reclaim the island land that formally belonged to a tribe- however this was rejected.

The site was chosen as a symbol of the life imprisonment in poverty on the reservations and in urban areas of the NA's as a result of federal policies and neglect.

It had huge media coverage as the police and militia tried to end the occupation- reversed the story of old western films, this time the Indians were the heroes.

It galavanised many other young indians into action under AIM- many started occupying other pieces of federal land and defying federal laws.

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Red Power 1970's (AIM)

They demanded to be called 'Native Americans'. By 1968 protest as growing stronger. 

In 1968 they asserted their old treaty rights to fish adn held a 'fish in'. AIM was established to take up the issue of racial discrimination against NA youths. Patrolled streets monitoring police activity. decline in the arrest and imprisonment of NA's. 

1972- AIM took control of the BIA in washington.

1973- wounded knee occupation.

High publicity of the AIM protests showed the world previous injustices and brought about change in policy.

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1973 Wounded Knee Occupation

Disputes between AIM and supporters of BIA.

AIM leaders and 200 activists took over the village of wounded knee and declared it an independent state and showed its boundries as those stated in the 1968 Fort Laramie Treaty.

It lasted 71 days and involved resistance to federal marshals, FBI agents and military personnel. 

AIM finally surrendered on the condition that a full investigation was made on their demands and grievances.

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Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance

Gerald Ford.

Self determination act- allowed tribes to negotiate contracts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take responsibility for own health, education and social service.

Had federal funding.

tribes --> self suficiency.

Education Assistance Act- gave parents some say in education by being allowed to be members of health boards.

However funding reduced in 1970's --> reduced effects of act.

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NARF 1970

Defend rights of N.A. and preserve tribal culture + way of life, reinstated terminated tribes and restored lost tribal lands.

Was responsible for supreme court cases:

  • 1974- oneida v oneida and Madison Counties- sue for loss of land- supreme court supported this.
  • 1980 US v the Sioux Nation- sioux indians due $17.5 million dollars compensation, but the Sioux refused this as they wanted their land.
  • 1986- any remains dug up in lousianna belonged to Native Americans --> many states passing laws protecting Indian Burial Grounds.

By reasserting rights under treaties, a number of tribes regained some lost land + financial compensation.

Recognition of self- determination and spiritual freedom brought greater pride in their heriatge.

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Regained much of what had been lost since 1865 + federal govt finally abandoned policy of assimilation.

Indians abandoned tribal rivalries and united as one to fight for rights.

Unemployment still remained high.

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