American Indians History 1865-1900

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American Indians

History 1865-1900

After 1865

  1. After the Civil War, the US moves to finish its conquest of the American Indians

  2. The pressure on the land is due to the enormous rates of immigration into the US from Europe

  3. Indigenous Americans lose the rights of self-government and self-determination

Immigration to US, in 1000s

Immigration to US as a % of Base

European Americans 1870-1900

  1. High rates of immigration (see charts)

  2. Much ethnic conflict, riots in the streets: descendants of European migrants violently attack the new migrants as “foreigners” who are too “different” to fit in to democracy

  3. Northern Europeans view eastern and southern Europeans (and Jews, Gypsies etc.) as different “races” that are sub-types of “White”

  4. Capitalism consolidating, middle classes seizing political control from the immigrant working classes

The Final “Indian” Wars 1870-1900

  1. 1871 Indian Appropriations Act. US decides it will no longer sign treaties, will just legislate. Land belongs to EurAms.

  2. NOTE: the treaties are legacies of the period when the US was NOT strong enough to just legislate. Were not consolation prizes from the conquerors, but the price of gaining land from relatively powerful opponents

  3. US Army battles native people on the western plains, forcing them all onto reservations.

Cultural Destruction

  1. “Friends of the Indians” 1883. Goal of US policy is to eliminate Indians as Indians. Force them to adopt European-American ways

  2. Boarding schools, ban their religions, language

  3. Dispirited, broken people, starving on reservations or battling to the death

  4. 1889 Wokova “Ghost Dance” sweeps American Indians. Spiritual practices will restore land to American Indians. Banned by US

1887 Dawes (General Allotment) Act

  1. Break up the AmerInd reservations, give land to individuals; "surplus" land to whites.

  2. Much land passes to white hands, reservations shrink by 60-70%.

  3. Indians not permitted to manage their own land, instead Bureau of Indian Affairs manages it as a trust. If land is leased or sold, money collected by BIA and supposed to be paid to the Indian owner.

  4. [Recent lawsuit: $20-40 billion dollars is missing, unaccounted for by BIA; BIA shredded documents, uncashed checks.]

Oklahoma 1890


  1. After removal, American Indians organized stable self-government in “Indian Territory,” coped with continuing influx of American Indians displaced by the wars.

  2. 1889 Despite treaty, the “unassigned” parts of "Indian Territory" [Oklahoma] is opened to whites in a "land run."

  3. 1893, Congress passes law requiring tribes to sell their land, tribes hold out.

  4. 1898 Congress passes Curtis Act, forcing allotment and division of their other property, terminating their government. Dept of Interior takes over their schools.

  5. 1901 Tribal citizens declared citizens of US and Territory of Oklahoma

  6. 1907 Oklahoma admitted to the Union as a state.

Final Battles

  1. 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn. (Crazy Horse vs. Custer) The last major Sioux victory.

  2. 1886 Geronimo surrenders after a decade of guerilla warfare

  3. 1890 The Battle/Massacre at Wounded Knee. 300 Sioux, including women and children, and 25 soldiers are killed after the army breaks up a Ghost Dance.

  4. 1890 census, American population down to 200,000. Its low point.

What’s Left

South Dakota

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