Dakota Grammar by Franz Boas

By Franz Boas

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We Indians Will Be Indians All Our Lives,” 1890–1920 of the southeastern United States. The state of Georgia, with the full support of President Andrew Jackson, was trying to justify its attempts to deny the Cherokees their rights to remain within Georgia’s borders. Georgia, in essence, denied that the Cherokees had any right to exist as any kind of separate entity. Marshall’s decision in Worcester did not prevent the removal of thousands of Cherokees from their home country. It did establish the legal foundation for the movement for modern Indian sovereignty through which tribes, as Wilkinson has written, attempt to achieve or maintain a form of self-rule that sustains self-determination and self-identity.

Regarding land, most Native Americans persisted in honoring the old values of reciprocity and generosity. They saw the kind of personal acquisition lauded by Gates as hoarding; they generally shared their resources rather than keeping them solely for themselves. Passage of the Dawes Act did not spell instantaneous disaster for all Indians. In the first eight years after the law went into effect, relatively few reservations were allotted. Leasing rarely occurred. This deliberate speed, however, soon accelerated as more western states joined the Union and gained additional representation in Washington.

The population of the United States grew from 63 million in 1890 to 106 million in 1920. Both immigrants and migrants sought to generate their fortunes on lands previously owned and occupied by Indians. The federal government clearly bowed to public pressure and relinquished its trust responsibility in its acquiescence to non-Indian demands. The northern Plains were particularly hard hit by allotment and subsequent sale, but other parts of Indian country were also affected. Timber and mineral leases as well as farming and ranching leases subdivided more and more Native land.

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