Native American History Timeline

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Native American History Timeline
1775-1783-Joseph Brant, Cornplanter, Dragging Canoe, and Alexander McGillivray support the English against American rebels
1786-Secretary of War made responsible for Indian affairs
1787-Northwest Ordinance calls for sanctity of tribal territory, but sets guidelines for development increasing white settlement
1799-Handsome Lake founds Longhouse Religion among Iroquois
1803-Louisiana Purchase add 828,000 square miles and large Indian population to U.S.
1804-1806-Lewis and Clark Expedition guided by Sacagawea encounters more than 50 tribes
1807-Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet and brother of Tecumseh, preaches a return to tradition
1809-1811-Tecumseh’s Rebellion of allied tribes in Old Northwest Territory
1812-1813-Georgia militia invade Spanish Florida after Seminoles offer refuge to runaway slaves
1812-1814-War of 1812; Tecumseh leads pro-English warriors in Old Northwest
1817-1818-First Seminole War; Andrew Jackson and Creeks under William McIntosh invade Florida and attack Seminoles
1819-Federal government allocates funds for the “civilization” of Indians
1825-Indian Territory west of Mississippi River, including parts of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma defined by Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun
1827-Cherokees under John Ross adopt a constitution based on U.S. mode; later nullified by Georgia legislature
1828-first edition of Cherokee Phoenix published, using Sequoyah’s syllabary. In 1834, Georgia suppresses it.
1830-Indian Removal Act requires relocation of eastern tribes to Indian Territory; Cherokee protest upheld by Supreme Court in 1832, but ignored
1831-1839-Southeast tribes forced to relocate westward; Cherokees march of 1838-1839 known as “Trail of Tears”
1832-Congress formally recognizes Bureau of Indian Affairs within War Department; Black Hawk War - allied tribes under Sac Indians against U.S.
1835-Texas declares itself a republic independent of Mexico
1835-1842-Second Seminole War under Osceola against U.S. in Florida
1840’s-“Manifest Destiny” takes hold as ideological basis for further U.S. expansion
1846-Oregon Country becomes part of U.S.
1848-Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo brings southwest Indians under control of U.S.
1849-Bureau of Indian Affairs transferred to Department of Interior
1851-Treaty of Fort Laramie defines Sioux and other Northern Plains Indian hunting grounds
1853-Gadsen Purchase brings Indians in California, Arizona, and New Mexico into Union
1854-Kansas-Nebraska Act reduces Indian Territory to approximate size of Okalahoma
1855-1858-Third Seminole War under Billy Bowlegs in Florida
1861-1872-Apache Resistance under Cochise and Mangas Coloradas in Arizona and New Mexico
1862-Homestead Act opens Indian lands in Kansas and Nebraska to homesteaders;

Pacific Railway Act authorizes first transcontinental railroad

1862-1864-Satee Sioux Uprising in Minnesota and Dakotas
1863-Shoshone Uprising in Utah
1863-1866-Navaho War under Manuelito in New Mexico and Arizona
1864-“Long Walk” of Navaho from Chuska Mountains in Arizona to reservation in New Mexico; they are allowed to return home in 1868
1864-1865-Cheyenne-Arapaho War with Sand Creek Massacre of Black Kettle’s village
1865-Federal government gives contract to Protestant missionary societies for Indian schools
1866-1868-Sioux War for Bozeman Trail (Red Cloud’s War”) in Montana and Wyoming
1867-Treaties of Medicine Lodge send Southern Plains tribes to reservations in Indian Territory; peace commission reviews Indian affairs and recommends end of treaty process
1868-Treaty of Fort Laramie resolves Bozeman Trail issue and gives Sioux right to Black Hills
1868-1869-Sheridan campaign on Southern Plains against Cheyenne
1871-Congress ends treaty-making with tribes; Indians subject to acts of Congress, executive orders, and “agreements”
1874-1875-Red River War on Southern Plains; Quanah Parker and Santana lead Comanches and Kiowas; Kicking Bird leads Kiowa peace faction
1876-1877-Sioux War for Black Hills under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse; Battle of Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876
1881-Helen Hunt Jackson’s A Century of Dishonor makes public aware of restrictions of Indian rights; Court of Claims opened to Indians
1881-1886-Apache Resistance under Geronimo in Southwest
1883-William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s first Wild West Show; Court of Indian Offenses gives jurisdiction to tribes in all but major crimes

1883-1916-Lake Mohonk Conferences of reformers call for assimilation

1885-Due to wholesale slaughter, plains buffalo herds all but disappear; Major Crimes Act gives federal courts jurisdiction over major crimes involving Indians
1887-Dawes Severalty Act dissolves many tribes as legal entities, wipes out tribal ownership of land, and sets up individual Indian family heads with 160 acres; citizenship to come in 25 years
1889-Wovoka founds Ghost Dance Religion among Paiutes; spreads to Plains Indians
1890-Provisions made for leasing by whites of allotted Indian lands
1890-Sioux participation in Ghost Dance leads to events culminating in attack on Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee, South 29, 1890
1890-1891-U.S. Federal census determines frontier no longer exists
1898-Curtis Act expands allotment policy within Indian Territory
1902-Commissioner of Indian Affairs prohibits wearing of long hair by male Indians
1906-Burke Act authorizes Secretary of the Interior to remove restrictions on allotted Indian lands
1908-In Winters Doctrine, Supreme Court defines rights of federal government to reserve water for Indian tribes
1910-Federal government prohibits Sun Dance among Plains Indians
1911-Society of American Indians, committed to Pan-Indianism and citizenship for Indians, founded
1912-Sac Indian Jim Thorpe wins Olympic gold medals, but has to surrender them in 1913 because of earlier semi-pro baseball career
1914-1916-During World War I, many Native Americans enlist in U.S. Army; Choctaw “code talkers” use native languages as battlefield code
1917-first time in 50 years that Indian births exceed Indian deaths
1923-Indian Defense League founded
1924-Indian Citizenship Act bestows citizenship on all Native Americans
1928-Meriam Report deplores Indian living conditions and blames allotment system
1932-The book, Black Elk Speaks (about Sioux beliefs) sparks interest in Native American religions
1934-Indian Reorganization Act reverses allotment policy, providing tribal ownership of land and self-government
Adapted from Waldman, Carl. Timelines of Native American History. New York: Prentice Hall, 1994.

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