BY: Raina Pruitt

Dawes Act

  1. This act established a trust fund to collect and distribute proceeds from oil, mineral, timber, and grazing leases on Native American lands.
  2. The failure of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage this trust fund properly led to legislation and lawsuits in the 1990s and early 2000s to force the government to properly account for the revenues collected.
  3. Under that allotment legislation, for which there was no legitimate constitutional basis, Indian land holdings dropped from 138 million acres down to 48 million acres, for a loss to Indian nations of some 90 million acres of land. During a period of 47 years under the Act, some 60 percent of all Indian lands at that time are characterized as having passed to the United States, thereby resulted in tremendous boost to the economic growth of the U.S. economy.
  4. Indian Country is still dealing with the aftermath of the Dawes Allotment Act.
  5. Indian nations are making present day efforts to reacquire portions of their traditional territories under the Wheeler-Howard Act of June 18, 1934.

  6. Otherwise known as the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), it created a legislative framework whereby American Indians could organize themselves as “federally recognized Indian tribes” and reacquire additional lands.