BY: Raina Pruitt
- This act established a trust fund to collect and distribute proceeds from oil, mineral, timber, and grazing leases on Native American lands.
- 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.
- 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.
- Indian Country is still dealing with the aftermath of the Dawes Allotment Act.
- Indian nations are making present day efforts to reacquire portions of their traditional territories under the Wheeler-Howard Act of June 18, 1934.
- 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.
- Joseph the Elder was one of the first Nez Percé converts to Christianity and an active supporter of the tribe's longstanding peace with whites.
- In 1855 he even helped Washington's territorial governor set up a Nez Percé reservation that stretched from Oregon into Idaho.
- But in 1863, following a gold rush into Nez Percé territory, the federal government took back almost six million acres of this land, restricting the Nez Percé to a reservation in Idaho that was only one tenth its prior size.
- Feeling himself betrayed, Joseph the Elder denounced the United States, destroyed his American flag and his Bible, and refused to move his band from the Wallowa Valley or sign the treaty that would make the new reservation boundaries official.
- In December 1888 the National Agricultural Wheel and the Southern Farmer’s Alliance met at Meridian, Mississippi where the national farmers convention was held that current year.
- In that meeting they decided to consolidate the two parties pending ratification. This consolidation gave the organization a new name, the Farmers and Laborers’ Union of America, and by 1889 the merger had been ratified, although there were conflicts between “conservative” Alliance men and “political” Wheelers in Texas and Arkansas, which delayed the unification in these states until 1890 and 1891 respectively.
- The merger eventually united white Southern Alliance and Wheel members, but it would not include African American members of agricultural organizations.
- Ellis Island was the principal federal immigration station in the United States from 1892 to 1954
- . More than 12 million immigrants were processed here. Over time, the immigration station spread over 3 connected islands with numerous structures including a hospital and contagious disease wards.
- It is estimated that over 40 percent of all citizens can trace their ancestry to those who came through Ellis Island. In its early years, when the greatest number of immigrants entered the country, Ellis Island mirrored the nation's generous attitude and open door policy
- After passage of immigration laws in the 1920s, it was used more for "assembly, detainment, and deporting aliens," and symbolized a closing door.
- Immigrants were required to pass a series of medical and legal inspections before they could enter America.
- The actual experience of going through inspection or detainment on Ellis Island was often nerve wracking.
- Those who did not pass these inspections were returned to their country of origin on the boats that brought them here.
- Even though only 2 percent of those coming to America were turned away at Ellis Island, that translated to over 250,000 people whose hopes and dreams turned to tears .