Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Legal Theft On Western Wednesday...!

Over the years, the government and others of the PTB have tried to find different ways of stealing tribal lands from the American Indian tribes. The Dawson Act was one of those "legal" ways.

Feb 8, 1887:
Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act

In a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings.

Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands. Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots. The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres. Women received no land.

The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands. The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites. Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings.

Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed. Many religious and humanitarian "friends of the Indian" supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture. Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between "barbarism and civilization" if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, "Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition... into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity."

In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized. Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership. Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government's heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades. In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations. The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.

Seems to me that this is just another case of the age old saying "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you!" Know what I mean? Any one in their right mind would cringe now days after hearing those words! I know I would, for sure! At some point in time, I'm sure that the government had the interest of the American people at heart. At least, some of them did, you would think. It would be nice if we could find our way back to whenever that was!

Coffee inside again today. Care for some more hot buttered gingerbread?


Mamahen said...

You would think we would learn from history, wouldn't you..
Would love to join you in a cup and some of that hot gingerbread :))

Chickenmom said...

Still too much darn 'government' in our lives. We are all sick of it.

linda m said...

I run the other way any time I hear the words from the government "I'm here to help you". I'm like the little kid that puts his hands over his ears and keeps saying "na, na ,na" until the PTB stop talking. A nice hot cup of coffee with some warm buttered gingerbread sounds great on a cold WI morning.

JO said...

These stories make me cringe now.

I missed coffee with you all so please pass the pot.

Dizzy-Dick said...

The government gets very scary when they try to help us. Or should I say, I get very frightened when they try.

BBC said...

What did you think of Obama’s speech? I think that monkey is a fine speaker, and a fine dreamer, and a fine bullshitter.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
Don't reckon we will ever learn, do you?

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
Guess we will always have too much "regulation" for our own good, ya know?

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Linda M...
Sounds like a phrase we don't like to hear. Most of us, anyway!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Jo...
Should make all of us cringe, I think!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping in today!

Hey Dizzy...
I do know what you mean! I feel the same!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey BBC...
I try and not think about much to do with what he says. Didn't watch the speech!

Thanks for the visit.

Mamahen said...

BBC I agree on all three!