Dawes Act

Also found in: Wikipedia.

Dawes Act


General Allotment Act,

1887, passed by the U.S. Congress to provide for the granting of landholdings (allotments, usually 160 acres/65 hectares) to individual Native Americans, replacing communal tribal holdings. Sponsored by U.S. Senator H. L. DawesDawes, Henry Laurens,
1816–1903, U.S. Senator (1875–93), b. Cummington, Mass. He was U.S. district attorney for W Massachusetts (1853–57) and a Republican member of the House of Representatives (1857–75).
..... Click the link for more information.
, the aim of the act was to absorb tribe members into the larger national society. Allotments could be sold after a statutory period (25 years), and "surplus" land not allotted was opened to settlers. Within decades following the passage of the act the vast majority of what had been tribal land in the West was in white hands.

The act also established a trust fund to collect and distribute proceeds from oil, mineral, timber, and grazing leases on Native American lands. The failure of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage this trust fund properly led to legislation and lawsuits in the 1990s and early 2000s to force the government to properly account for the revenues collected.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
The two most important congressional acts that shaped modern institutions on Native American lands were the Dawes Act and the Indian Reorganization Act.
Their topics include apostates in the woods: Quakers, praying Indians, and circuits of communication in Humphrey Norton's New England's Ensigne; strong expressions of regard: Native diplomats and Quakers in early national Philadelphia; the meddlesome friend: Philip Evan Thomas among the Onondowa'ga 1838-61; of African and Indian descent: creating mission and memory in western Ohio 1805-50; and Quaker roles in making and implementing federal Indian policy: from Grant's peace policy through the early Dawes Act era 1869-1900.
Issues: The Perkinses first contended that the gravel income was exempt from tax under the General Allotment Act of 1887 (also known as the Dawes Act), which was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland.
The final chapter, Legacy of Settlement covers the Dawes Act, last resistance of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, the impact of mission schools with intent to erase or wipe out native heritage, and the ongoing struggle, in which native peoples today are fighting for the restoration of rights and land decisions within the legal system.
The Dawes Act of 1887 and the reservation system dramatically changed daily life and political dynamics, particularly for the Oglala Lakotas.
Each man held the rank of governor for a time between the years of 1855 and 1892, and they would witness the harsh consequences of Indian Removal, the American Civil War, and the Dawes Act (a law created to compel American Indian assimilation into mainstream society, by forcing the sale of Native American lands).
The Navajo Nation escaped some of the dreadful results from the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Act) of 1887 and actually regained lands during the latter part of the 1800s and well into the 1900s, but other legal issues arose for the Navajo Nation early in the twentieth century.
The friends' crowning achievement, known variously as the Dawes Act of 1887 or the General Allotment Act, had several primary goals, including:
The Allotment Plot makes a persuasive case that teasing out these seemingly conflicting approaches to implementing the Dawes Act of 1887 (the federal law that required reservation lands be divided up into individual and family tracts) demands that historians explore several different kinds of records and place them in conversation with each other.
Beginning with a discussion of theories of tribal sovereignty, the work covers policy and treaties from the middle eighteenth century, the revolutionary period, the Indian Trade and Intercourse Acts, federal recognition of tribes, Jackson and the westward removal, the Dawes Act, and the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
It's been compared to the 1887 Dawes Act, south of the border.