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The West, 1850-1900
Guide: Federal Policies and Native Americans

These resources provide insight into the federal government's policies toward Native Americans. Use these resources to support your students' evaluation on the effect of federal policies on Native American life. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Opportunities have been extended to certain groups of Americans while denied to other groups.
  • Social and economic changes due to technological advancement can have positive and negative effects.
  • Wealth can be used to influence people and politics in positive and negative ways.
  • Immigrants' decisions to leave their homeland are based on push and pull factors.
  • Organizations and people can advocate for and obtain social change.

Key Questions

  • What were some of the factors that encouraged white settlers to move west? How did Native Americans respond to the increase in white settlers in the West?
  • Who were the buffalo soldiers and what was their role in western settlement?
  • Explain what happened at the Wounded Knee Massacre. How did this event affect Native American resistance to white settlers?
  • What was the Dawes Act? How did the act lead to a further breakdown of Native American life?


  1. Overview: Federal Policies and Native Americans
  2. Visuals: Federal Policies and Native Americans (Visual)
  3. Outlines: Outline
  4. Transcripts: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Buffalo Soldiers
  7. Lesson: 2-Life on the Plains
  8. Lesson: 3-Dignity in Dishonor
  9. Lesson: 4-Dissolution of Native Communities
  10. Lesson: Closing
  11. Investigate Activities: Native American Lands
  12. Investigate Activities: Native American Sovereignty
  13. Photos & Illustrations: Buffalo soldiers
  14. Photos & Illustrations: Ghost Dance, Arapaho
  15. Photos & Illustrations: Indian War of 1867-1869: Battle of the Washita
  16. Facts & Figures: Native American Lands Purchased by the U.S. Government, 1795-1838
  17. Reference Articles: Little Bighorn, Battle of the
  18. Reference Articles: Long March (Nez Percé)
  19. Reference Articles: Indian Removal
  20. Reference Articles: Wounded Knee Massacre
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: Dawes Act (1887)
  22. Political, Government & Court Documents: Fort Laramie Treaty (1868)
  23. Political, Government & Court Documents: Indian Removal Act (1830)
  24. Political, Government & Court Documents: Jackson, Andrew: Indian removal message to Congress (1829)
  25. Political, Government & Court Documents: Jackson, Helen Hunt : A Century of Dishonor (1881)
  26. Political, Government & Court Documents: Sherman, William T.: report on the end of the Indian problem (1883)
  27. Letters & Narratives: Two Moon: account of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876)
  28. Letters & Narratives: Wounded Knee Massacre: testimony of the Sioux (1890)

MLA Citation

"Federal Policies and Native Americans." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2153111?cid=256. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153111

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