U. S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs 810 Seventh Street, N. W. Washington, D. C. 20531 Janet Reno

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1887 Dawes Act - In 1887 Congress passed the Dawes Act (also known as the General Allotment Act). Each family head was to receive 160 acres, and a single person was to receive 80 acres. Title to land was to be held in trust for at least 25 years. If an allottee was declared competent to handle his own business affairs, the agent could recommend a fee patent prior to 25 years. This proved disastrous to family unity while dissolving the tribal systems of communal holdings. Jurisdictional issues are becoming paramount as allotment lands began to checkerboard the nation.

  • 1920 – Federal law passed which sanctioned the Native American Church, however, in practice American Indian people were not allowed to engage in Native religion and the use of peyote was still seen as a criminal violation. The Native American Church beliefs and practices were continuously challenged until 1989 when the U.S. Supreme Court determined religious practices are protected.

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