|R is for Reservation|
While the concept of Indian reservations had been around since North America was first settled, reservations as we know them today came about in 1867. During this time period many people, encouraged by government actions such as the Morrill Land-Grant Act and the Homestead Act, left the Eastern cities to settle in the West. The federal government wanted people to settle the west, because it would result in more money for the country. The federal government formed the Bureau of Indian Affairs (IBA) to manage the reservations. The IBA still exists today and works with the United States government to improve the welfare of Native Americans. While some Native Americans agreed to be relocated onto the reservations, many resisted, leading to bloody conflicts.
A big aspect of Native American culture was the idea of working together for the benefit of the community, instead of the individual. Many tribes also had a very nomadic lifestyle, which conflicted with the more western standards in the US. In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act, dividing up the reservations into individual plots of land. The act assigned plots of land to each Native American. It was an attempt by the government to force Native Americans to become farmers and to assimilate to American culture. However, the Dawes Act severely weakened the Native American culture and changed their way of life.
Native American boy with authentic tribal face paint
stands in front of ancient petroglyphs.
Appleby, Joyce, et al. The American Vision. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print. 542-545.
Tiller, Veronica E. Velarde. “Indian Reservation.” The World Book Encyclopedia. Ed. Scott Fetzer. Chicago: World Book Inc., 2005. 188-189.