Native American Land Case Study

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2. One of the most life-threatening deficits that the American Indians had to face because of the United States was the loss of their land. In the case of Johnson V. McIntosh, Johnson bought land from a Native American tribe, The Piankeshaw, in what is now known as Illinois. Later, when the United States actually acquired Illinois, McIntosh obtained a land patent for the same land from the United States Government. The US Supreme Court found that people such as Johnson were not allowed to buy land directly from the Native Americans because the land wasn’t technically theirs to sell. The US government had attained the title to Native American lands.
I think the significance of this case was very influential in the cases to come. There were
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Passed in 1887 the Dawes Act, also known as The General Allotment Act, assigned portions of Native American reservations into individual and family hands. Individuals received either 80 or 160 acre plots, and in some instances families received higher acreages. In 1887, over 135 million acres of American soil belonged to Native Americans. In 1934, that number had been reduced to a little over 45 million. The remaining land was sold to settlers, much of it for little or no money.
The Dawes Act had a negative effect on American Indians, as it ended their shared holding of property which gave them a home and a spot in the tribe. The allotted land granted to most of the Native Americans was not adequate for making a profit (crops, trading, selling). Most of the allotted land, which was able to be sold after 25 years, was in time sold to non-Native buyers at extremely cheap prices. Furthermore, the remaining land, outside of what was necessary for allotment, was opened to white settlers. In less than fifty years, Native Americans lost about 90 million acres of treaty land, which was nearly two-thirds of the initial land they had in 1887. Ultimately, about 90,000 Native Americans were left without land which was very detrimental to the Native American community as a
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American settlers wanted to settle in lands that the Indians had been given after signing treaties with the U.S. government. The settlers demanded the government force them out, but the Indians had a legal right to be there. Finding a way to break the treaties and force the Indians out became known as the “Indian problem.” With the intention of assimilating Native Americans into American society, the policy of Indian Termination was established. The belief that the Native Americans should rid themselves of their traditions and culture and become "civilized" had been the foundation of policies for decades. What was new was that with or without consent, tribes must be terminated and begin to live as Americans

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