US Government and Native Americans Essay

            In the second half of the nineteenth century the US government, with its perpetual influx of immigrants from Europe and Asia seeking to settle in America and the discovery of gold, was intent on expanding into the Great Plains and the west where many native Americans had been confined within Indian Territories; in fact the US government helped and the US military guarded and defended numerous settlers to journey west and set up homes in the Indian Territories.

            A variety of agreements and treaties were signed between US governments and different Indian tribes but they were not able to decrease conflict and prevent encounters and clashes between native and non-native Americans, and a new era of violence emerged. In an effort to stop such violence and induce a move from armed subjugation, removal and the taking of land, the US government set about establishing policies in which relocation, assimilation, reorientation and allotment were the key objectives; the idea was to turn American Indians into Indian Americans. In 1887 Congress presented the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Act) in an effort to break up Indian tribes, provide opportunities and assistance for Indians to become farmers and self sufficient, by providing them with land which was held in title by the government for twenty five years before being handed over; the American Indians then became American citizens and were required to pay taxes. Remaining land was made available to immigrants, who could later lease land from the Indians.

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            The tribes responded in different ways; some resisted, others succumbed and endeavored to live with allotment and some succeeded, but overall the policies failed; poverty increased and society became even more fragmented.

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