Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dawes Act of 1887
Leonard A. Carlson
Early in the history of relationships between the U.S. government and Native Americans, the government began to grant allotments—legal title to pieces of land—to American Indians. The first allotments were issued in the Southeast in the 1830s and 1840s as part of the removal to Oklahoma of tribes such as the Cherokee and Creeks. The Dawes Act of 1887 (also referred to as the General Allotment Act) generalized this process, which had occurred on a case-by-case basis for many years. Under the Dawes Act, an Indian who received an allotment became a citizen of the United States (before 1924, reservation Indians were not U.S. citizens). An Indian's allotment was placed in trust by the federal government for a 25-year period; during that time, the recipient of the allotment could neither lease, sell, nor will the land. This entry looks at the history of the allotment process and the Dawes Act ...