The Dawes Act

This document was created to divide and distribute land back to the Native Americans. This act was named after U.S. Senator Henry L. Dawes and was signed on February 8, 1887. The Dawes Act divides the large reservation lands into small pieces of land for individual distribution. The land that was not given to the natives were used to build railroads.

This division of land caused the Native Americans to lose their tradition and values. The Native Americans were forced to abandon their communal way of life. After losing their own culture American culture was forced upon them. This caused many tribes to scatter which lead to the lose of many Native American traditions.

I think the lawmakers created the Dawes Act in order to cleverly steal the land away from the native Americans to build railroads and expand capitalism. By dividing their land, the native’s culture was destroyed and they were forced assimilate in order to survive in this country. We will never know if the intentions of this act were good or bad but one thing is for sure, the native Americans suffered once again in the hands of the United States.

One thought on “The Dawes Act

  1. Not only was Henry L. Dawes a senator, he was also chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs. Dawes intended to pass the Dawes Act in hopes to help Native Americans assimilate with the larger nation. However, the Dawes Act in actuality broke up the Indian Reservations into small sections and ended up hurting Native Americans instead. Nonetheless the Dawes Act is very important as it helped set the way for rail road companies. Good summary.

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