Danielle Cram
AmIn 210 Section A

Since 1789, Presidents have developed policies and appointed people to positions of influence that have affected the lives of thousands of Native Americans. Most of the decisions made by the Presidents were influenced by their own views and resulted in actions being taken against or for the Native American population. From views that resulted in the death or displacement of thousands to promises of assistance, the lives of many Native Americans have been defined by the Presidents.

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Native Americans were viewed as uncivilized or savages by the Founding Fathers. They were seen as obstacles in the westward expansion of the United States and would be a problem the Founding fathers would address in the best interest of White Civilization. As Thomas Jefferson stated, Native Americans had the choice of cultural obliteration or military obliteration. Today, the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincon are carved into stone in the Black Hills for their accomplishments as Presidents. Ironically, the Black Hills are sacred to many Native Amercan Tribes and these Presedents views and actions towards Native Americans resulted in many Native Americans loosing their land and their lives.

The Trade and Intercourse Act
Native Americans were not Citizens of the United States after the American Revolution but rather had their own nations. As the first President, George Washington saw the countries need to expand west into the Native Americans Territory. Washington intended to keep negotiations honorable with the Trade and Intercourse Act. This act was intended to regulate who could interact with the Native Americans in an attempt to ensure fair trading and protect Indian Territory from being taken without a treaty. Despite these efforts, individual states continued to allow the taking of Indian Land. Though Washington made an attempt to protect Native Americans, they were still viewed as an obstacle preventing the countries expansion. Because of this, Washington also ordered the attack of Native American Tribes such as the Iroquois when peaceful agreements could not be achieved. These actions and views set the tone for the views and actions of Presidents to follow.

Indian Removal Act
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson viewed Native Americans as children that needed guidance and saw the removal of tribes as beneficial to them. A year after taking office in 1829, President Jackson got the Indian Removal Act passed allowing him to negotiate treaties for the removal on Native American east of the Mississippi River. The act was passed under the pretence that removal would be voluntary but Jackson used force and authorized the negotiation of treaties with non-authorized tribal representatives. As a result, many Native Americans lost their lives and Tribes lost their lands. A well known example of this is often refered to as the Trail of Tears. Despite their assimilation to white society, the Cherokee nation was forcibly removed in 1838 because of a treaty signed by 500 wealthy Cherokee slave owners who received $5 million to move west in 1835. A quarter of the Cherokee population was lost along the walk to the west.

Office of Indian Affairs
Established March 11, 1824, the Office of Indian Affairs was part of the United States Department of War. In 1832 congress authorized the commissioner of Indian Affairs be appointed by the president and the only qualification became support for the President and his political party. Andrew Jackson was president at this time and he appointed Elbert Herring. Herring supported President Jackson’s Indian removal act. Like Jackson, Herring viewed Native Americans as savage and did not believe they had a culture worth preserving. As a result of this, Commissioners of Indian Affairs often cared more about non-Indian interests on Indian lands than they did about the Indians living on the lands. The Commissioner also would have similar views to the Presidents in regards to Native Americans.

Lincolns Inattention
Lincoln removed U.S. Troops from Indian Territory during the civil war, leaving the Native Americans unprotected. As a result civil war broke out between pro-union and pro-confederate Indian nations. In addition to this, the United States Indian Office became corrupted and many Indian began to be taken advantage of. The Dakotas were one tribe that lost most of their land and money as a result of a swindle that benefited Alexander Ramsey. In response to this, the Dakota went to battle, killing hundreds of Minosota settlers. Lincoln responded by sending soldiers to restore order but General John Pope declared that the Sioux should be exterminated. A military tribunal was then held when the fighting was over and 303 Dakotas were sentenced to be hanged.

Appalled, Lincoln ordered for the review of trial transcripts because the Native Americans were tried by those who had fought the Sioux with no access to council. Of the original 303 Dakotas sentenced to be hanged 265 were sentenced to prison instead. Though Lincoln prevented the hanging of 264 Dakotas, he supported the removal of Native Americans from their lands and promoted westward expansion as the Presidents before him had. Because of the civil war Lincoln left the handling of Native Americans to the corrupt Bureau and his Generals in the field.

Peace Policy
In 1869 Ulysses S. Grant became president and appointed the first Native American to Commissioner of Indian Affairs. At this time, Native Americans were still seen as a problem and to resolve this problem, Grant established a peace policy with the intent to assimilate Native Americans to western culture. The intentions of the peace policy were to reform a corrupt Bureau of Indian affairs by appointing Christian Missionaries to supervise Indian reservations in replace of corrupt civilian agents. Because the policy was established under the same views as the Indian Removal act, forced removal from lands continued and many massacres resulted from the Peace Policy.

Because removing Native Americans form their land to reservations did not influence them to adopt the American culture and values, Presidents, like Rutherford B. Hayes, implemented assimilation through boarding schools. Under the opinions that Indian culture had little value in society, curriculum was developed for these schools without consulting Native leaders or parents. At the boarding schools the children were baptized, their hair cut and they were given Christian names. These changes as well as restrictions not allowing Indian children to speak in their own languages were designed to impress the white cultures beliefs and values on the children.

Dawes Act
The Dawes Act, or General Allotment Act of 1887, was passed by Congress to reduce the size of Indian Reservations. This Act also provided Presidents with power over Native American nations. Presidents were allowed to divide reservations into family plots for the tribal members and then sell any remaining land to settlers. Native Americans were still seen as uncivilized and allotments were a way to teach them about individualism and private property as well as dissolve tribal bonds. As a result of the Dawes Act, a great deal of Native American land was lost and many Native Americans became dependent on the Government.

The 1900s
The Presidents of the early 1900s began to change the standard for how Native Americans were treated. In 1901 when Theodore Roosevelt became president, he praised allotment as a way to break up the tribal mass as many other Presidents had before him. Unlike the Presidents before him, Roosevelt was an advocate for the humane treatment of Native Americans. To demonstrate this, Roosevelt invited six Native leaders to participate in his inauguration in 1905 after he was reelected. During this term, Roosevelt also met with several Native leaders but refused to meet with those who received American citizenship.
Six Indians on horseback (Courtesy NMAI)
Six Indians on horseback (Courtesy NMAI)
Almost two decades later, the Indian Citizenship Act was passed by Congress. In response to this Act, Presidents began to view Native Americans as Americans rather than members of tribal nations. Also at some point, President Wilson recorded a message that was played on each of the reservations. In this message, Wilson emphasized that he would now consider Native Americans his brothers rather than his children. He remarked on their progress in education, agriculture and trade. In the same speech, Wilson also stated that though there were some black marks in history between Native Americans and the White Population the Policies implemented by the United State were beneficial and just.

President Hoover then took office in 1929, and like other Presidents after the issuance of the Meriam Report, he wanted to find a solution to the difficulties Native Americans faced living on the reservations. Hoover himself had lived on a reservation where he was taught how to make bows and arrows from the Osages. While in office, Hoover defined how Indian Policy would be handled for years to follow. His objective was to make Native Americans self-supporting and part of the mainstream society. In addition to supporting the full citizenship of Native Americans, Hoover also worked to prevent further exploitation of Indian property and to reaffirm treaty rights.

The Indian New Deal
In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president and he appointed John Collier Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Collier implemented the Indian New Deal in an effort to preserve Indian culture and to respect Indian lands and treaties. The key bill of the Indian New Deal was the Wheeler-Howard Act. This act, also known as the Indian Reorganization act of 1934, reversed previous U.S. policy that favored assimilation and allotments. This Act allowed the Native Americans to take a part in finding the solution to their problems.

Under the New Deal, mandatory assimilation was ended and Native Americans were allowed to establish their own governments. They were also able to manage their own economic and political affairs. President Roosevelt saw the Wheeler-Howard Act as the new standard for Indian affairs. He pointed out the devastation caused by the allotments of reservations as well as the conditions of poverty and poor health found on the reservations. Roosevelt believed that to correct these new policies needed to be established and that Native American consent and cooperation were vital for success.

Full Citizenship
By the end of Roosevelt’s presidency the New Deal was loosing steam and
Congress was pushing for full citizenship. President Truman believed that Native Americans should enter into the American lifestyle. Believing that Native Americans were people of wisdom that had been treated dishonorably, Truman saw Native Americans as a racial minority. Under Truman, the Indian New Deal was undone and policies resorted back to those under the Hoover Administration when Native Americans were encouraged to assimilate to American life and reservations were dismantled.

Following the President Truman, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy also saw Native Americans as they did social minorities. They promoted citizenship and increased federal aid as the solution to Native American problems. The Eisenhower administration supported the termination of Indian reservations and full citizenship as did Truman. Unlike Eisenhower and Truman Administration, the Kennedy Administration recommended ending termination policies. After Kennedy was assassinated, Johnson appointed Robert Bennett to Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Under the Johnson Administration the idea of self-determination was introduced. This idea put to rest the discussion of termination of Indian policies and stressed a relationship where Native American were treated as full citizens but allowed to control the pace and direction of change within their communities.

The policy of self-determination laid out by President Johnson allowed Native Americans to reap the benefits of United States Citizenship while asserting their rights as American Indians. When President Nixon took office he continued down the path of self-determination. Nixon rejected the policy of termination and pushed for a break from past policies. Under self-determination, Native Americans could control their own lives and the government would play a complimentary role to the Indian community. As a result of the Nixon Administration, future Administrations recognized Native American nations as sovereign entities and their acknowledgements of tribal self-determination resulted in positive gains Native Americans.

Ford to Obama
After Nixon, President Ford handled Indian affairs in much the same way and went on to sign the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975. By signing this act, Ford moved the Nation forward in its relations with Native nations. Then in 1976, Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency and his administration endorsed the Indian Self-Determination act but opted to leave the position of special assistant on Indian Affairs empty. This was done to prevent pressure to create similar special-interest group positions.

When President Reagan took office, he opposed termination programs and supported self-determination as did the previous Presidents, but he believed the current policies treated Native Americans as wards of the government. Under the Reagan Administration, budget cuts were made and tribes were encouraged to enter into enterprise to reduce their dependence on federal funding. Reagan also supported states’ rights over those of the reservations. As a result of this, the gaming industry grew on Indian reservations.

Following Reagan, President George H. W. Bush’s Indian policies were similar to those set by President Carter and he continued with President Reagan’s policy of governing by committee. President Clinton then took office in 1993 and became proactive in Indian Affairs. Clinton reaffirmed government-to-government relations during his time in office as well as amended the Self-Determination Act to allow Native Americans to manage funds as well as programs and services previously managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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Unlike Clinton, President George W. Bush did not take a proactive position in Indian affairs. Bush did reassure Native Americans of the government-to-government relation ship between Native nations and the United States but he also believed state rights were above tribal rights. President Obama then took office in 2009 with the promise of providing Native Americans with a voice in the White House. Under the Obama Administration, Native Americans have been appointed to high profile positions and the Tribal Law and Order Act was passed to strengthen law enforcement.

In the beginning Native Americans were viewed as an obsticle to the expansion of the country by Presidents and many of their actions involved the removal of Native Americans from their land. After the turn of the 20th century, Native Americans were no longer viewd as obsticles but rather as minorities. Many Presidents pushed for Native American to adobt the American way of life while others worked to preserve their culture. Today, the views of the Presidents still effect the lives of Native Americans and can still hinder or assist the Native Americans in the preservation of their culture and practices.

Annotated Webliograpy/Bibliography

[1] http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/06/964167/-Indians-101:-The-19th-Century-Indian-Office-
This site provided information on the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

[2] Linder, Douglas O., "The Dakota Conflict Trials," Accessed April 13, 2011, http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/dakota/Dak_account.html
This site provide information on the Dakota conflict trials and President Lincolns involvement with the dicison to hang 38 Dakotas.

[3] "History of Indian Education," Accessed April 14, 2011, http://www.nrcprograms.org/site/PageServer?pagename=aief_hist_1776
This site provided a brief overview of the use of boarding schools for assimilation and the requirements of students.

[4] Wilma, David, "Wheeler-Howard Act (Indian Reorganization Act) shifts U.S. Policy toward Native American right to self-determination on June 18, 1934," August 2000, Accessed April 14, 2011, http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=2599
An article about the Wheeler-Howard Act and how it changed Indian policy.

[5] "President Nixon, Special Message on Indian Affairs July 8, 1970," Accessed April 14, 2011, http://www.epa.gov/tp/pdf/president-nixon70.pdf
This site provided information on President Nixon's Indian Policies. It proveded his stance against termination and paternalism as well as is support for self-determination.

[6] Kaufman, Stephen, "Obama Appoints Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs," Accessed April 14, 2011, http://www.america.gov/st/peopleplace-english/2009/June/20090617160905esnamfuak0.3701593.html
This site is an article about the appointment of Kimberley Teehee, a member of the Cherokee Nation to the position of Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs to keep his promise to proved Native Americans with a voice in the White House.

[7] "Indian Removal," Accessed April 3, 2011, www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html
This site provided insight into the removal of Native Americans from their land under President Jackson.

[8] "American Indian Policy," Accessed April 14, 2011, http://www.epa.gov/tp/pdf/president-reagan83.pdf
This is PDF details the Reagan Administration's Indian Policy and his stance on self-determination, Tribal Government and the development of Reservation Economies.

[9] Clarkin, Thomas, "Federal Indian Policy in the Kennedy and Johns Administrations, 1961-1969," Accessed April 15, 2011, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27502883
This is an article from the Journal of American Ethnic History / Winter 2002 and provides information about the Kennedy and Johnson administrations push for self-determination.

[10] Finney, Dee, "A Thousand Lies, The Native American," Accessed April 3, 2011, www.greatdreams.com/lies.htm
Information about the founding fathers and their views. This includes information about the views of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

[11] Jewett, Tom, "Thomas Jefferson's Views Concerning Native Amercans," Accessed April 3, 2011, www.earlyamerica.com/review/2002_summer_fall/tj_views.htm
This site provides information on Thomas Jeffersons views on Native Americans.
[12] "An Act to Regulate Trade and Intercourse With the Indian Tribes (1790)," Accessed April 3, 2011, http://pages.uoregon.edu/mjdennis/courses/hist469_trade.htm
This site provides the sections of the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790.

[13] "How the South Was Won," Accessed April 3, 2011, http://www.amren.com/ar/2001/12/
How the South Was Won provides an overview of Adrew Jackson's policy for Indian removal.

[14] Robbins, William G., "Termination," Accessed April 15 2011, http://www.ohs.org/the-oregon-history-project/narratives/this-land-oregon/people-politics-environment-1945/termination.cfm
Information regarding termination of Indian reservations can be found in this site. What termination is and how it was implemented by the federal government was briefly explained.

[15] Sandusky, Trent, "Bill Clinton: Effects of a President on the Native American Gaming Industy," Accessed April 13, 2011, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/69077/bill_clinton_effects_of_a_presidency_pg3.html?cat=37
This site discusses the Indian Gaming Industry during Clinton's Administration but it also dicusses some of the funding Native American received during his administration. Also, the article mentions Clinton's efferots to preserve Native American Culture and Languages.

[16] Trafzer, Clifford E., "American Indians / American Presidents," Copyright 2009, Smithsonian Institution.
This book is a detailed overview of the interactions between Presidents and Native Americans throught the History of the United States.

[17] Sturm, Circe, "Blood Politics," Copyright 2002, Reagents of the University of California
This ethnography is an anthropolicigical study that provided past history of the Cherokee Nation. The removal of Native Americans and the allotment of land were discussed as they applied the the Cherokee.

[18] Nabokov, Peter, "Native American Testimony," Copyrighted 1999, Peter Nabokov.
This is a collection of articles or stories told by Native Americans about what their lives and experiences. Introductions to these articles provide information about the events that were taking place at the time the event took place and the article provides a firts hand account.

[19] "Indian Reoganization Act (1934)," Accessed April 11, 2011, http://tm112.community.uaf.edu/unit-2/indian-reorganization-act-1934/
This site provides information about the Meriam Report and the Indian Reorganization Act under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

[20] "Native American Program," Accessed April 15, 2011, http://www.diversity.hr.va.gov/spi/programs/nativeamerican.htm
Provides a brief overview of George W. Bush's reafirmation of the previous administrations Indian Policies.

Sources for Pictures

[1] Mount Rushmore: http://openbytes.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/more-faces-than-mount-rushmore-microsoft-loves-open-source/

[2] Andrew Jackson's Indian Children: http://www.amren.com/ar/2001/12/

[3] Native American Chiefs that rode in Theodore Roosevelts Inaugural Parade: http://usinfo.americancorner.org.tw/st/arts-english/2009/February/20090213154252GLnesnoM0.3933069.html

[4] President Obama speaking to Native Americans: http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2011/01/17/native-americans-see-progress-with-obama-administration/