Indian Reservation And Assimilation Policies

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Indian Reservation and Assimilation Policies Throughout the history of the United States of America dealing with Native Americans has been a sensitive and important topic. In the 1800’s America dealt with its greed for land by taking Indian lands in treaties. Treaties did not take all of the land from Indians, but left reservations for them to live on by treaty, statute, or executive order. The era of reservation policy comes to a close with the beginning of Indian assimilation.

The end of the War of 1812 gave the United States a new sense of security. They no longer feared foreign influence and began to concentrate on westward expansion. However, an effect of this expansion was friction between the native Indians who owned the land and the non-Indians who wanted it. In order to open up the lands the Federal government began negotiating treaties with the various Indian tribes for the lands.

Those tribes that resisted cession of lands were forcefully removed to the Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma. In 1830 the Indian Removal Act was passed making Indian Removal a formal policy and the primary concern of treaty making. During this period over 15 tribes were removed from their homelands. Resettled in the west amongst the plains Indians the eastern Indians would be robbed of more land before an end to the treaties is arrived at.

Westward expansion continued steadily, in 1849 the discovery of gold in California increased the amount of western bound settlers to an all time high. Conflicts with Indians were inevitable; army troops were dispatched to the west. This resulted in Indian wars on the plains. In the 1850’s national Indian policy was again altered to deal with that eras “Indian problem.” Removal of the Indians to the open plains was unsuccessful; the next step...