The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887

Decent Essays
There has been much documentation on the plight of Native Americans throughout the beginnings of this nation. In spite of the attempts by the early government of the United States, the culture of many Native American tribes has survived and even flourished. The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 is just one of many examples of how our government attempted to wipe out Native American culture. This paper will discuss the Dawes Act, particularly the time leading up to the act, the act itself, and finally its failure. By understanding the past failures in the treatment of a particular race of people, the government can learn how to protect the rights of all people, especially in a day and age of cultural diversity. Times were a lot different back in the 1800s as compared to today, and unfortunately, for the minorities of the day, most white people did not see them as equals. The Civil War was testimony to this horrific fact. America was expanding rapidly on the heels of the gold rush and the boom of industry. This expansion posed a major problem in regards to the Native American. Most of the southern and eastern tribes had already been removed from their lands and forced to move west in the 1830s.1 Later, in 1867, a peace commission was appointed to persuade western Native Americans to relinquish their land and move to reservations. Once moved onto these reservations, the Native Americans would be wards of the government until they learned to be more like the white people.2
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