Dawes Act Facts

Dawes Act Facts
The Dawes Act was named after its creator Senator Henry Dawes, from Massachusetts. The act was adopted by Congress in 1887 and is also known as the General Allotment Act and the Dawes Severalty Act. The Dawes Act was meant to allow the government to divide Indian tribal land into lots for Indians. Meant to incorporate Native Americans into mainstream society, U.S. citizenship was to be granted to any Native American who chose to live separately from their tribe. Land remaining after the land was granted to Native Americans was to be sold on the open market. The Indian reservation system was nearly destroyed by the Dawes Act.
Interesting Dawes Act Facts:
Each Native American family head was given 320 acres of grazing land or 160 acres of farmland. If they were single or an orphan older than 18 then they were given 80 acres. Singles under 18 were given 40 acres of land.
Prior to the Dawes Act, 150 million acres belonged to Native Americans. Twenty years later two-thirds of this land no longer belonged to the Native Americans.
The land allotted to each Native American family could be sold after a period of twenty-five years.
The Dawes Act, despite its creator's good intentions, became the most disastrous legislation ever passed by Congress in regards to Native Americans.
The Dawes Act did not originally affect reservations in Indian Territory. In 1893 the Dawes Commission and the Curtis Act in 1898 made Indian Territory subject to allotment as well.
The Dawes Act did not apply to the Seneca Nations of New York, the Osage, Sac and Fox Indians in Oklahoma Territory, and some territory in Nebraska that adjoined the Sioux Nation.
Some critics believe that the act was designed to allow white people to gain control of Indian land.
Most Native American beliefs and practices do not believe in individual land ownership.
Even if they had wanted to become farmers, most Native Americans at the time were not equipped to live such a lifestyle.
Most of the intentions of the Dawes Act were never accomplished.
The four main objectives of the Dawes Act were: the allotment of land; vocational training; education; the divine intervention.
Indian reservations gave Native Americans the ability to govern themselves; the Dawes Act removed this ability from Native Americans.
The Dawes Act was amended in 1891.
The Burke Act in 1906 amended the Dawes Act again.
In 1881 Senator Henry Teller of Colorado opposed the Dawes Act because he believed it was an attempt to take Indian land and displace them from their homelands.
The Great Plains, which was the land being granted to Native Americans, was not very suitable for farming.
The land allotted to Native Americans was subject to taxation by the United States government.
Hunting for survival by Native Americans came to an end when the land was depleted because of the division and allotment.
Prior to the Dawes Act Native American women had more equal roles in society. The Dawes Act made it impossible for a Native American woman to receive the 160 acres they were to be entitled to until she married.


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