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The Dawes Act of 1887 sought to assimilate Native Americans by, among other things, transforming their traditional uses and attitudes about land and land ownership to more mainstream American values of private ownership and settled farming. Some Native Americans did become farmers, convinced that assimilation into white society and a property deed…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: Circa 1880

Federal bureaucrats devised several methods to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American values and culture. One tact was to change Native Americans' traditional sense of communally held land to a system of individually held plots. Under the Dawes Act of 1887, the U.S. distributed parcels of land to Indians in severalty, meaning to…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1881

Native American warriors in the 19th century attacked the various people and institutions that threatened their way of life on the Great Plains. In these speeches to federal agents during the Indian Wars of the 1860s, Indian leaders attempt to explain the sources of conflict.

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1866

Native American warriors in the 19th century attacked the various people and institutions that threatened their way of life on the Great Plains. As these reports from various federal agents, including the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and General Custer, show, white leaders agreed with Native Americans on two points: the railroads would destroy…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1872

Red Cloud, an Oglala Lakota chief, led a two year war against white settlers and railroad outposts between 1866 and 1868. Red Cloud's War, sometimes called the Powder River War, took place in parts of the Wyoming and Montana territories that were the traditional homelands of Lakota, Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples. Spotted Tail, who refrained from…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1867

This account of Native American life in Pennsylvania was published by the colony's founder, William Penn, who hoped to encourage settlement in the colony. Describing the physical appearance, diet, shelter, rituals and mannerisms of the Lenni-Lenape, or Delaware, people, Penn is lavish in his praise. While his description of the Indians as "light…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1683

Russell Means, who was born on the Ogalala Sioux reservation in South Dakota, became a leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the late 1960s. In often dramatic ways, AIM protested the government and society's treatment of Native Americans. Over the years AIM activists occupied Alcatraz Island, the Mayflower II, Mount Rushmore, the Bureau…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1977

Crazy Horse, orTashunka-uitco,led the Lakota resistance to the U.S. Army and the forced movement of his people onto reservations in the 1860s and 1870s. He helped lead a victorious coalition of Native Americans against Custer's soldiers at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 and held out against U.S. troops until 1877. After surrendering, he…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1877

In this address to Jonathan Trumbull, the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut who sided with the Revolutionary cause, the chief of the Oneida Indians declares his tribe's intention to remain neutral in the impending conflict. The Oneidas express their dismay at the prospect of war between the "two brothers of one blood," and request that the…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1776

John White, a painter who traveled with several English exploration companies in North America, made many illustrations of the people, plants and animals that inhabited the area around the Jamestown colony. Theodor de Bry later made engravings based on White's paintings; this image, and 27 others, were included in a 1590 book about the "New World"…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1585