Dawes Act Facts

The Dawes Act was adopted by Congress in 1887 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:

The main goals of the Dawes Act were the allotment of land, vocational training, education, and the divine intervention.

Each Native American family head was given 320 acres of grazing land or 160 acres of farmland. If they were single, they were given 80 acres.

Most Native Americans at the time were not trained to be farmers.

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 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.

In 1893 the Dawes Commission made Indian Territory subject to allotment as well.

Some critics believe that the act was designed to allow white people to gain control of Indian land.

Indian reservations gave Native Americans the ability to govern themselves; the Dawes Act removed this self-governance.

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.

Most Native American faiths do not believe in individual land ownership.

The division and allotment of the land ended hunting as a way of life for Native Americans.

Native American women had held equal roles within tribal society. The Dawes Act made it impossible for Native American women to receive an allotment until they were married.

Source: Dawes Act Facts
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