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The Dawes Commission

Richard Green

Tribal historian Richard Green notes that not long after removal, the 1887 Dawes Act set the stage for abolishment of the tribes and their domains. The Commission set a price on Indian allotments, which divided Indian lands held in common into individually owned parcels. Many Indians lost their allotments to fraud.

Not long after removal, the 1887 Dawes Act set the stage for abolishment of the tribes and their domains

Dawes Act

1887


In 1887, Congress enacted the General Allotment Act, also known as the Dawes Act. The purpose and effect of this Act was to destroy tribal land tenure and open treaty lands to private ownership—most notably, to non-Indian private ownership. Division of land was against the tribe’s culture; land held in common was the Chickasaw way. The legacy of the act was the decimation of tribal land bases. In addition, the Chickasaw government prohibited freedmen (former slaves of Chickasaw families) from registering as citizens on the Dawes Rolls.

For more information on the Dawes Act click here.

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