The Dawes Act of 1887, also known as the General Allocation Act, was a law passed under President Grover Cleveland that allowed the federal government to divide up tribal lands. The goal of the act was to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society by encouraging them to engage in agriculture and other activities. This meant that tribal lands were divided into individual parcels and only those Native Americans who accepted the division of tribal lands were allowed to become U. S.
citizens. The result of this law was that more than 90 million acres of tribal land were stripped from Native Americans and sold to non-native American citizens. The Dawes Act regulated land rights in the tribal territories of the United States and authorized the President to subdivide Native American tribal communal properties into parcels for Native American heads of household and individuals. This imposed a capitalist, proprietary relationship with property that did not previously exist in their cultures.
The law also allowed tribes the option of selling the land that remained after allocation to the federal government. Before private property could be dispensed with, the government had to determine which Indians were eligible for allocations, prompting the official search for a federal definition of indigenicity. In addition, land considered to be in excess of what was necessary for allocation was opened to white settlers, although the profits from the sale of these lands were often invested in programs intended to help Native Americans. The Dawes Act of 1887 was passed to help encourage assimilation.
It provided for the dissolution of Native American tribes as legal entities and the distribution of tribal lands among individual members (with a maximum limit of 160 acres per head of household, 80 acres per single adult). The remaining lands were declared surplus and offered to non-indigenous settlers. Among other things, he established indigenous schools where Native American children were instructed not only in reading and writing, but also in the social and domestic customs of white America. Because of opposition to many of these provisions in the Indian country, often by major European-American ranchers and industries that leased land and other private interests, most were removed while Congress was considering the bill.
This law gave tenants the power to decide whether to keep or sell their land, but given the harsh economic reality of the time and lack of access to credit and markets, liquidation of indigenous lands was almost inevitable. The Dawes Act violated the United States' promise that Indian territory would remain indigenous land in perpetuity. It completed the elimination of tribal land titles in Indian territory and prepared for the territory's admission to the Union as a state of Oklahoma. Between 1887 and 1934, Native Americans ceded control of about 100 million acres of land (the United States has 1.9 billion acres) or roughly two-thirds of their land base they had in 1887 as a result of this law.
The Dawes Act also established a trust fund managed by the Office of Indian Affairs (BIA) to collect and distribute revenues from oil, mineral, timber and grazing leases on Native American lands. This New Deal for Native Americans renewed their rights to reorganize and form autonomous governments in order to rebuild an adequate land base. Tribes already controlled a fraction of their returned land surface, Native Americans were not used to a life of standardized livestock and agriculture, and the land allocated to them was often unsuitable for agriculture. In conclusion, The Dawes Act had a significant impact on land ownership in Indian Land, South Carolina.
It completed the extinction of Indian land claims in the territory, prohibited any other land allocation, provided for assimilation into mainstream American society by encouraging them to engage in agriculture and other activities, opened up surplus lands for non-indigenous settlers, established indigenous schools where Native American children were instructed not only in reading and writing but also in social customs, created a trust fund managed by BIA for collecting revenues from oil, mineral, timber and grazing leases on Native American lands, renewed rights for tribes to reorganize and form autonomous governments in order to rebuild an adequate land base.