Indigenous Peoples & US Government Chronology
1830 - 1890 - 1998
Indian Removal Act passes Congress, calling for relocation of eastern Indians to an Indian territory west of the Mississippi River. Cherokees contest it in court, and in 1832, the Supreme Court decides in their favor, but Andrew Jackson ignores the decision. From 1831-39, the Five Civilized tribes of the Southeast are relocated to the Indian Territory. The Cherokee "Trail of Tears" takes place in 1838-39.
Influenza epidemic among tribes of British Columbia. In 1830-33, there are outbreaks of European diseases in California and Oregon.
George Catlin travels among and paints the Plains Indians.
Black Hawk War in Illinois and Wisconsin between combined Sauk and Fox tribes and the United States.
Missouri River Expedition of two Europeans, Prince Maximilian and the painter Karl Bodmer.
Congress reorganizes the Indian offices, creating the U.S. Department of Indian Affairs (still within the War Department). The Trade and Intercourse Act redefines the Indian Territory and Permanent Indian Frontier, and gives the army the right to quarantine Indians.
Texas declares itself a republic independent from Mexico. The Texas Rangers are organized to campaign against the Comanches.
Toledo War among the whites (also called the Ohio and Michigan Boundary Dispute).
Second Seminole War. Osceola dies in prison in 1838.
Smallpox epidemic among Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes of the upper Missouri. From 1837-70, at least four different smallpox epidemics ravage western tribes.
Mayan ruins rediscovered in Central America by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood.
John Charles Fremont (U.S.) explores the Far West with Kit Carson as a guide.
Russian-Greek Orthodox Church establishes the first mission school for Eskimos in Alaska.
The first issues of the Cherokee Advocate are published in Oklahoma. Federal soldiers confiscate the press.
War between the United States and Mexico over the American annexation of Texas. With the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the Spanish Southwest and its many Indian tribes become part of the United States.
Oregon Country becomes part of the United States as a result of a settlement with England.
Paul Kane travels among and paints Indians of southern Canada and the American Northwest.
Mormon settlers reach site of present-day Salt Lake City.
Outbreak of measles among the Cayuses.
Cayuse Indian War in Oregon.
Commercial whalers first arrive in Alaska.
Gold discovered in California, starting the California Gold Rush and attrition of California and Plains Indians.
Bureau of Indian Affairs transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior.
The Courthouse Rebellion in Canada, involving the Metis of the Red River.
The first of a series of treaties between Canada and Canadian tribes are enacted, a policy continuing until 1923.
Mariposa War in California between miners, and Miwoks and Yokuts.
Cholera epidemic among the Indians of the Great Basin and southern plains.
Yuma and Mojave Uprising in California and Arizona.
Treaty of Fort Laramie between whites and tribes of the northern plains.
Gadsden Purchase. American acquisition from Mexico of lands in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Liquidation of northern portion of the Indian Territory, with creation of the state of Kansas and Nebraska Territory.
United States acquires 174 million acres of Indian lands through 52 treaties, all of which are subsequently broken by whites.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs calls for end of the Indian removal policy.
Grattan Affair in Wyoming, involving the Sioux.
Walla Walla Council in Washington between white officials and tribes of the Columbia Plateau.
Yakima War in Washington, involving the Yakimas, Walla Wallas, Umatillas, and Cayuses.
Rogue River War in Oregon, involving the Takelmas and Tututnis.
Third Seminole Uprising in Florida.
Battle of Solomon Fork in Kansas, involving the Cheyennes.
Coeur d'Alene War or Spokane War in Washington involving the Coeur d'Alenes, Spokanes, Palouses, Yakimas, and Northern Paiutes.
Colorado Gold Rush (Pike's Peak Gold Rush).
British government transfers control of Indian affairs to the Canadian provinces.
Paiute War (also called the Pyramid Lake War) in Nevada, involving the Southern Paiutes.
Civil War. In 1861, the Confederate government organizes a Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most tribes remain neutral. The South, however, makes promises to Indians concerning the return of their tribal lands to encourage their support. After the war, as punishment for their support of the Confederacy, the Five Civilized Tribes are compelled to accept a treaty relinquishing the western half of the Indian Territory to 20 tribes from Kansas and Nebraska.
Apache uprisings under chiefs Cochise and Mangas Colorado in the Southwest, resulting from the Bascom Affair.
Homestead Act opens up Indian land in Kansas and Nebraska to white homesteaders, who are deeded 160-acre plots after inhabiting them for five years.
Santee Sioux stage an uprising in Minnesota under Chief Little Crow. In 1863-64, it spreads to North Dakota and involves the Teton Sioux as well. Thirty-eight Indians are sentenced and hanged.
Shoshoni War (also called the Bear River Campaign) in Utah and Idaho, involving the Western Shoshonis.
Navajo War in New Mexico and Arizona. In 1864, Navajo prisoners are forced on the "Long Walk" to Bosque Redondo. Manuelito surrenders in 1866.
Cheyenne-Arapaho War in Colorado and Kansas. In 1864, Chivington's Colorado Volunteers kill more than 300 Indians in the Sand Creek Massacre.
Indians regarded as competent witnesses under federal law and allowed to testify in trials.
United States gives contract to Protestant missionary societies to operate Indian schools.
Jesse Chisholm, a mixed-blood, opens the Chisolm Trail.
Mexican Kickapoo Uprising in the Southwest.
Railroad Enabling Act appropriates Indian lands for railway use.
War for the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming and Montana, involving the Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahos under Chief Red Cloud. A second Fort Laramie Treaty resolves the conflict in 1868.
Snake War in Oregon and Idaho, involving Northern Paiute bands of Yahuskins and Walpapis.
British North American Act establishes Confederation of Canada. First Dominion Parliament assembled. In 1868, an Indian Act shapes new administrative machinery for Indian affairs.
United States purchases Alaska from Russia, adding Eskimo and Aleut population to its own.
Hancock Campaign against the Cheyennes and Arapahos on the central plains.
Treaty of Medicine Lodge in which Plains tribal leaders accept permanent lands within the Indian Territory.
"Peace Commission" makes a survey of Indian affairs and recommends that the current treaty process be abandoned. This commission and the Nez Perce Indians negotiate the last of 370 treaties between the federal government and tribes.
Commissioner of Indian Affairs estimated that Indian Wars in the West are costing the government $1 million per Indian killed.
Indians are denied the right to vote as a result of the 14th Amendment.
Southern Plains War (also called the Sheridan Campaign), involving the Cheyennes, Sioux, Arapahos, Kiowas, and Comanches.
President Grant's so-called "Peace Policy" is inaugurated and lasts until 1874.
Brigadier General Ely Parker (Donehogawa), a Seneca, becomes the first Indian commissioner of Indian Affairs, serving until 1871.
Transcontinental railroad completed; the Union Pacific and Central Pacific join up at Promontory Point, Utah.
Hudson's Bay Company sells its vast holdings of land (Rupert's Land) to the Dominion of Canada.
First Riel Rebellion in Canada of Red River Metis.
Smallpox epidemic among Canadian Plains Indian including Blackfeet, Piegans, and Bloods.
John Wesley Powell, geologist and ethnologist, explores the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.
Use of peyote spreads from Mexican Indians to Comanches, Kiowas, and other tribes.
President Grant gives control of Indian agencies to 12 different Christian denominations instead of army officers.
Treaty-making period formally ends as Congress passes law forbidding further negotiations of treaties with Indian tribes. The Cherokee Tobacco Case of 1870, ruling that the Cherokees are not exempt from taxes on produce (as established in an earlier treaty), sets the stage for the new law. Indians are now to be subject to acts of Congress and executive orders.
General Sheridan issues orders forbidding western Indians to leave reservations without permission of civilian agents.
White hunters begin wholesale killing of buffalo.
Indian burial grounds invaded by whites seeking bones for manufacture of buttons.
Modoc War in California and Oregon. Indian leader Captain Jack hanged in 1873.
Crook's Toronto Basin Campaign against the Apaches and Yavapais in the Southwest.
First International Indian Fair held in Oklahoma.
North West Mounted Police organized in Canada.
Gold discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Treaties protecting Indian lands ignored by miners.
Red River War on the Southern Plains, involving the Comanches, Kiowas, and Cheyennes, under Quanah Parker.
Canada enacts Canadian Indian Act which defines Indian policy and gives individual Indians the right to seek enfranchisement as Canadian citizens by renouncing their rights and privileges as Indians.
Sioux War for the Black Hills, involving the Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahos, under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. In 1876, the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Blackfeet cede land to the Dominion of Canada.
Flight of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph in the Northwest.
Apache Resistance in the Southwest under Victorio.
Bannock War in Idaho and Oregon, involving the Bannocks, Northern Paiutes, and Cayuses.
Congress makes appropriation to provide for Indian Police, a policy which in 1883 brings about the Court of Indian Offenses with authorization for tribal units to administer justice in all but major crimes. In the Major Crimes Act of 1885, federal courts are formally given jurisdiction over Indian cases involving major crimes.
Flight of the Northern Cheyennes under Dull Knife on the plains.
Sheepeater War in Idaho.
Ute War in Colorado.
Richard Pratt founds the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, with the philosophy of assimilating Indians into white culture.
Bureau of American Ethnology, a branch of the Smithsonian, is founded for anthropological studies.
Federal Court at Omaha, Nebraska, responding to a habeas corpus trial brought by Standing Bear, a Ponca, gives Indians the right to sue.
Many "Friends of the Indian" organizations are founded, including Indian Protection Committee, Indian Rights Association, Women's National Indian Association, and National Indian Defense Association.
Sitting Bull and his band of 187 surrender to officials at Fort Buford, North Dakota.
Court of Claims is opened to Indians when the Choctaws are granted access to it.
Apache Resistance under Geronimo in the Southwest. Geronimo surrenders in 1886.
Canadian Parliament passes the Indian Advancement Act, encouraging "Democratic" election of chiefs by Indian bands. The Mohawks at St. Regis, Ontario, resist the provision, wanting to keep their traditional method of choosing leaders.
Canada outlaws the Potlatch Ceremony among Northwest Coast Indians.
Congress acknowledges the rights of Eskimos to Alaskan territorial lands.
Last great herd of buffalo exterminated.
Second Riel Rebellion of Metis living along the Saskatchewan River in Canada. Cree Indians surrender to Dominion troops.
Canadian Pacific transcontinental railroad is completed.
Mohawk Indians of the Caughnawaga Reserve in Quebec are trained in high-steel construction to work on a bridge across the St. Lawrence River. This starts a tradition among the Iroquois.
Congress passes the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Act) in which reservation lands are given to individual Indians in parcels. Indian lose millions of acres of land.
Two million acres of the Indian Territory are bought from Indians and given to white settlers for the Land Run.
Ghost Dance Movement led by the Paiute prophet Wovoka gains influence among western Indians. At Wounded Knee, United States troops massacre 350 Sioux Indians en route to a Ghost Dance celebration.
San Carlos Apache Tribal Government is taken over by the people. The first time since confinement the people gathered as the nation.
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