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False Friends: How the Dawes Act Deceived Native Americans
Educator Overview

ABC-CLIO Database: American History
Time Period: Industrialization and Immigration, 1850-1900
Topic: Federal Policies and Native Americans
Skill: Describe
Process: Define and Illustrate an Idea

Inquiry Question: What was the Dawes Act, and how did it impact Native peoples?

Objectives: Using the primary and secondary sources provided, students will define the Dawes Act and describe its impact on native populations.

What students will discover in the sources: The video explains how the Dawes Act allotted lands to Native peoples and promised citizenship as part of the overall goal of assimilation, but how, ultimately, tribal government and family structures were disrupted and Native peoples were confined to a much smaller geographical area than before. The image of the allotment official, interpreter, and American Horse illustrates the need for an interpreter as well as the difference in attire between American Horse and the allotment official, the former still rooted in his native culture and not assimilated. The reference entry on allotment policy explains how this policy was intended to assimilate Native Americans into European American culture and motivated by the desire to open lands held in common by Native peoples to white settlers. The poster uses a photograph of a Native American for context and perhaps intrigue, along with large print to announce the land sale and push positive selling points. These selling points indicate landownership is well within white settlers' reach. The poster also depicts the land being sold as spanning hundreds of thousands of acres across 12 states, showing the enormity of the so-called "surplus" land that Native Americans lost control of. Together, these resources provide the scaffolding and context to help students describe the effect of the Dawes Act on American Indian populations.
MLA Citation

"Investigate: False Friends: How the Dawes Act Deceived Native Americans." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/InvestigateOverview/2230734?tab=1. Accessed 14 Nov. 2019.

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