Indian Reservations

As many of us know the Native American land were taken from them by the American government.  There were a number of reasons the United States government did this.  The first was to open up Indian lands to settlers; the second was to continue the exploration for gold within the Indian territories.  (This was especially true in the Black Hills and California.  The third reason for the formation of Indian reservations was so the United States government could keep watch over and control of the Native American Indians.

As far back as 1786 the US government has been taking land from Native Americans.  It started with the colonists.  Initially the Native Americans were asked to cede or give their land to the US government.  When this first happened the Native Americans were pushed off into a smaller section of their land.

In 1825 there was to be a removal effort by the United States government.  All Natives East of the Mississippi were to be removed and relocated to the west of the river.  A majority of the Native Indian tribes this were relocated to Okalahoma and parts of Kansas.

This area of the country was known as Indian Territory and by 1889 forty different tribes had been grouped into this area.  The area as a whole was later declared a state and is the present day Oklahoma.

The Gold rush and Homestead Act were the biggest reason Native Americans were forced onto Reservations.  The lust for gold and land had penetrated to the very core of American society.

This trend of relocating Native Americans was to continue and be supported by the American public.  This trend was so rampant that by the early twentieth century there were over one hundred and sixty reservations stretching over more the fifty two million acres of land.

Currently there are approximately three hundred Native American Indian reservations in the United States.

Joseph Paige 2006

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