Indian Relations Essay, Research Paper
Between 1875 and 1925 the friendly relations with Indians prevented the loss of many
By 1890 Americans had migrated all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The frontier era had
ended. Well before that date, however, it had become clear to many that a new policy had to be
adopted toward Native Americans, whose dwindling numbers seemed to threaten extinction.
Congress began moving in this direction in 1871, when it unilaterally decided to abandon the
treaty process and legislate on the behalf of Native Americans. Whereas a century before they had
functioned as sovereign nations, Native Americans were now wards of the United States
The new plan to rescue Native Americans from extinction called for an aggressive assault
on tribalism by parceling out communally owned reservation land on an individual basis. The plan,
called the Dawes Act (or General Allotment Act), went into effect in 1887. Hundreds of
thousands of acres remaining after the individual 160-acre allotments had been made were then
sold at bargain prices to land-hungry or land-speculating whites.
This allotment, designed to absorb the Native Americans into the society of the United
States, turned out to be a monumental disaster. In addition to losing their “surplus” tribal land,
many Native Americans families lost their allotted land as well, despite the government s 25-year
period of trusteeship. The poorest of the nation s poor many of them now landless and the
majority still resisting assimilation Native Americans reached their lowest population numbers
shortly after the turn of the 20th century. In June 1924 the U.S. Congress granted these original
Americans United States citizenship.
The basic distinction that sets Native Americans apart from other groups of people
in the United States is their historic existence as self-governing peoples, whose nationhood
preceded that of the United States. As nations, they signed treaties with colonial authorities and
later with the U.S. government, and today, on what remains of their former lands, they continue
to function as separate governments within the federal framework.
The United States has long acknowledged a special “government-to-government”
relationship with the recognized Native American groups and with the Alaskan Native Villages.
Also, the United States government is deemed to have a trust relationship with Native American
people which means that the United States, in return for vast tracts of Native American lands,
assumed contractual and statutory responsibilities to protect remaining Native American lands and
to promote the health, welfare, and education of Native Americans.
The actions between the Americans and the Native Americans from 1875 to 1925 helped
to contribute to an era of good feeling between both of these peoples. The United States
government treated the Indians as if they were their own nation. These two nations signed
treaties, pacts, and past important laws which were needed at the time because of settlements
beginning near the Pacific Ocean. But when some Native Americans lost most of their tribal land,
they were very mad because they knew the Americans could have wiped them out, but instead the
Americans reserved land especially for the Indians . The population soon decreased of the
Native Americans. Soon many of them would be extinct, but their way of life would continue to
affect the lives of the people of the future.