Native Americans By Sara Stien and Ella Bacher

The Dawes Act

The Dawes Act, which was also known as the General Allotment Act or the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, was written by Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts.

What was the Dawes Act?

The Dawes Act was an act passed by Congress on February 8th, 1887. It was created to break up the previous Native American reservations by giving small portions of the land to individuals and families who had previously lived on the reservation. The idea of the Dawes Act however, ended up failing.

Why was the Dawes Act created?

The Dawes Act was created to split up large chunks of land onto smaller portions which were then given to individuals and families. Congress created becuase it reduced the amount of Native American territory, and becuase some people believed that if Native Americans adopted white clothing and ways, such as owning your own farm, he would drop his Indian-ness and become a part of their society.

Why it failed?

The Dawes Act failed becuase the small amounts of land given to the Natives was not enough to profit from so they ended up selling the land to white settlers. Natives also sold the land becuase many of the Natives got married and moved onto new plots of land and many of their family trees became so confusing that they couldn't keep track of who should inherit the land.

Indian boarding schools

Indian boarding schools were an idea originally thought up by people called reformers, who believed that they were "reforming society."

What are Indian boarding schools?

Indian boarding schools were an idea originally though of by reformers. It was an idea for a school in which Native American children would be taken, where celebrating their culture was punished. The reformers eventually persuaded Congress who went through with the idea of creating these schools. The first one was founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt in Pennsylvania in 1887. It was called the Carlisle Indian School. They soon started sprouting up all over the country.

Why were they created?

They were created to essentially strip Native Americans of their culture. It was believed by the general public that by punishing the children for celebrating their culture, the Native Americans could "change." Their slogan was "kill the Indian, save the man." In these boarding schools Native American children were taken and forced to give up all parts of their culture and religion. If they were found doing anything related to their culture they would be punished. The schools did not even allow them to speak with their families besides scheduled meeting times. Students were kept here for 8 or 9 months. The schools even took before and after photos. The before photo is of the children in their traditional Native American attire, and the after photo would be one of them in a Victorian style outfit.


-Native American spirituality includes a strong reverence for animal life, the environment, and each other

-Native American spirituality differs from other religions because oraganized meetings are not a part of it, and it is more of a way of life

-Each tribe has its own spirituality

-Native American religion revolved around the growing of the Earth and hunting. They would exhibit practiced rituals before or after hunting. It is said that they did this to ensure that hunting would be successful.

-Each tribe also had a leader called a Shaman who was responsible in overseeing religious practices within the tribe

-In their religion it is believed that Native American spirits entered the Shaman, so they trusted the Shaman over anyone else

-They also believe that spirits would control the weather

-Some Native Americans believed that all animals were human in a past life and that they shared the same ancestors

-Another large party of Native American spirituality is the Sun Dance. It was a dance that promised continual life and good health, friendship with the other tribes and the Creator who oversaw their spirituality.


-There are over 566 federally recognized Native American tribes and villages in the U.S. amd each of them has their own culture, language and history

-Every tribe has its own unique traditions, style of housing, dress and food.

-In most tribes, Native American men wore breechclouts or breechcloths, a long rectangular piece of hide or cloth tucked over a belt, so that the flaps fell down in front and behind.

-Native American clothing for women usually consisted of skirts and leggings, though the length, design, and material of the skirts varied from tribe to tribe.

-They mostly eat corn, beans, and squash.

Native Americans tOday


Created with images by Grand Canyon NPS - "Grand Canyon_Native American Heritage Day_0298"

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