Federal Policies - The governments intention to merge the...

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Federal Policies 1) Indian Removal Act • The Indian Removal Act , passed in 1830, called for the relocation of all Eastern tribes across the Mississippi River. The act was very popular with Whites because it opened more land to settlement through annexation of tribal land. Almost all Whites felt that Native Americans had no right to block progress, defining progress as movement by White society. Among the largest groups relocated were the five tribes of the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Seminole, who were resettled in what is now Oklahoma. The movement, lasting more that a decade, has been called the Trail of Tears because of the tribes left their ancestral lands under the harshest conditions. 2) Dawes Act • The federal government tried to limit the functions of tribal leaders. If tribal institutions were weakened, it was felt, the Native Americans would assimilate more rapidly.
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Unformatted text preview: The governments intention to merge the various tribes into White society was unmistakably demonstrated in the 1887 Dawes Act (or General Allotment Act ), which bypassed tribal leaders and proposed to turn tribal members into individual landowners. Each family was given up to 160 acres under the governments assumption that, with land, they would become more like the White homesteaders who were then flooding the unsettled areas of the West. The effect of the Allotment Act on the Native Americans was disastrous. To guarantee that they would remain homesteaders, the act prohibited their selling of the land for 25 years; however, no effort was made to acquaint them with the skills necessary to make the land productive. Many tribes were not accustomed to cultivating land, considered such labor undignified, and they received no assistance in adapting to homesteading....
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