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Native American Reform in the Progressive Era
Transcript of Native American Reform in the Progressive Era
Native American land was coveted by white Americans.
Tribal ownership of land and tribes themselves were meant to disappear by progressives.
To advance their goals, reformers sought to dismantle Indian culture by seizing land (Dawes Act) and “Americanize” children in segregated schools.
American Indians could not reject U.S. federal policy or become citizens.
In one month in 1908, 2.9 million acres of reservation opened to white settlement (Hepler).
Christian missionaries were burdened to educate the indigenous about their heathen practices.
“Kill the Indian and save the man.”
Indians were taught to develop skills in the workplace. Progressives aimed to help Indians step away from the traditional hunter and gatherer lifestyle.
Printer, bookkeeper, musician, dentist
If Indians could not become fully American, progressives asserted to keeping them separate from the rest of society.
Indian boarding schools
Given land in order to change into farmers & send children to school
Assimilation Through Education
1st effort: Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt in 1879
Reservation boarding school and day schools
Day schools were the most economical but provided only a minimal education
Reservation boarding schools had lower transportation costs because they were closer to Indian communities
Indian boarding schools
English language, Christianity, & ways of white people
Military style regimen, English language only, emphasis on farming
Schedule: equally split academic and vocational training
Indian boarding schools
Society of American Indians
In 1911, middle class, also known as the “Red Progressives”, Native American’s formed the Society of American Indians (SAI)
They worked for better education, civil rights, and healthcare
Important Figures of SAI:
Dakota Sioux Charles Alexander Eastman, was a Red Progressive and founding member of the SAI (first Indian Rights organization created and run by Indians)
Susan and Suzette LaFlesche, sisters from Omaha tribe, petitioned for Indians to become full American citizens under the United States Constitution
The Red Progressives emphasized racial pride
They encouraged “American Indian Day” to cultivate their pride and eliminate the stereotypical images of “savages”
The Red Progressives wanted to educate the abilities and aspirations of Native Americans
How Successful was the SAI?
The SAI was unsuccessful and fell apart in the 1920s
The SAI started to support their own selfish interest
The SAI had no effect on the American Indians poverty
The SAI did not accomplish their long term goals of better education, civil rights, and healthcare
By: Jenna Hugo, Tiffany Tran, Kimberly Delacruz, and Laticia
Tom, Holm. "The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era | American Indian Studies." <i>The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era | American Indian Studies</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ais.arizona.edu/publication/great-confusion-indian-affairs-native-americans-and-whites-progressive-era>.
"The Dawes Act." <i>PBS</i>. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/eight/dawes.htm>.
Hoxie, Frederick E., ed. Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices from the Progressive Era. Boston: Bedford, 2001.
"About the SAI." <i>Home</i>. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://americanindianstudies.osu.edu/SAISymposium/AboutTheSAI>.
The Dawes act:
· On February 8, 1887, the Congress passed the Dawes Act. This law changed the legal status of Native Americans from tribal members to individuals subject to federal laws and closed many tribal affiliations.
· Its goal was to improve the Native Americans lives by incorporating them into white culture.
· Under the Dawes act, the head of each Native American family received 160 acres in an effort to encourage them to take up farming. The government held lands in trust for 25 years, until they could prove themselves self-sufficient farmers.
· The land allotted to the Indians included desert or near-desert lands unsuitable for farming, the techniques of self-sufficient farming were very different from their tribal way of life.
Dawes Act Cont.
· Many Indians did not want to take up agriculture, and those who did could not afford the tools, animals, seed, and other supplies necessary to get started.
· There were also problems with inheritance. The children who inherited allotments could not farm because they were sent to boarding schools.
· Native Americans lost about 90 million acres of treaty land, and about 90,000 Native Americans were made landless.
· The Dawes Act was finally abolished in 1934, during president Franklin Roosevelt’s first term.