Federal Policies’ Impact on Native Americans’ Tribal Life
As the US government engaged in Western expansion in the 19th century, it came across the Native Americans who had historically occupied these lands. Various Federal policies were implemented to remove the native population or assimilate these people into white America. The policies had some notable impacts on Native American tribal life. The Policies enacted in the first half of the 19th century essentially forced the Natives out of their land or restricted them to regions referred to as Native Reserves. The tribal life of the natives was disrupted as they were forced out of their traditional land, and they could no longer continue living in their traditional ways.
The General Allotments Act of 1887 required lands owned by the Native Americans to be subdivided among individual members of this community. This effectively disrupted the communal ownership that had been practiced by the native population for generations. Native Americans lost their ability to be self-sustaining economically due to the Federal policies. The policy also promised US citizenship to Natives who took steps towards assimilation to white American lifestyles. This “civilizing” process caused young Native Americans to lose touch with their culture as they were moved to boarding schools away from their family and inculcated with Western values. In the beginning, the Native Indians responded with violence to the Federal policies imposed on them.
They attacked American settlements with the hope of forcing the white Americans out of their lands. Between 1860 and 1890, the Native Americans engaged in armed resistance against the Americans, but the overwhelming defeats led to an end in armed resistance by the 1890s. From this point, the Native Americans had no option but to adopt the policies imposed on them by the Federal Government.