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Indian Reorganization Act


The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), known also as the Wheeler-Howard Act for the two United States Senators sponsoring the bill, was the first major effort from the U.S. federal government to allow tribes to govern their own affairs. The IRA provided tribal nations with resources to create a written constitution, halted the allotment process, and authorized funds for use by …

Indian Self-Determination Act


In the years following the disastrous policy of Termination, the United States federal government began shifting its energies towards investing in tribal autonomy as a way of managing Indian affairs. Beginning formally with a 1961 Commission on the Rights, Liberties, and Responsibilities of the American Indian concluding that top-down initiatives lacking cooperation with tribal community members are destined for failure, …

Oklahoma Organic Act


By the late-19th century, more settlers than ever flooded into the Indian and Oklahoma Territories. With the first of the land runs occurring in 1889, greater numbers of settlers were staking a claim to “Unoccupied Lands” west of Indian Territory. Amid the increase in white settlement, Congress began discussions about establishing a new territory to encompass the rising population of …

Oklahoma Statehood


Until the mid-1800’s, the region later known as “Oklahoma” was called home by the Quapaw, Caddo, Osage, Waco, Apache, Kiowa, and Comanche peoples, among others. As the United States’ border shifted further west, greater numbers of settlers sought out more “unoccupied” lands in these region beyond America’s eastern boundary. Settlement by non-Indians was later stimulated through Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Homestead …

Termination Era


As Indian nations utilized the resources made available through the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) to restructure their governments, opponents to Indian self-determination pushed back in the wake of the Second World War. With the 1946 departure of John Collier and Harold Ickes from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and as Secretary of the Interior respectively, both staunch supporters of …

Trail of Death


In early September 1838, General John Tipton called for a council of Potawatomi leaders at Menominee’s village near Twin Lakes in Indiana to discuss the issue of removal. In reality, the General had no intention of talking about removal. He had been assigned the task of removing Indiana’s remaining Potawatomi population by Governor David Wallace who believed the Potawatomi couldn’t …

Treaty with the Chippewa, Etc. [1833]


The contested treaty of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin was contracted between the United States and the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians. With the cession of two large tracts of land in northern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin, the tribes were to receive sixteen thousand dollars and fifty barrels of salt, annually, forever as well as twelve thousand dollars …

Treaty with the Potawatomi [1815]


On July 18, 1815, the Potawatomi entered into a treaty with the United States at Portage des Sioux, Missouri. The treaty was a means to affirm previous compacts and ultimately draw peace between the Potawatomi Nation and the United States, resulting from the depredations caused and faced by both sides during the War of 1812.

Treaty with the Potawatomi [1861]


On Nov. 15, 1861, eight designated “chiefs” and more than seventy other members of the Potawatomi Nation met with federal agents to sign a treaty that would forever alter their community’s relationship with other Potawatomi and the U.S. government. The 1861 treaty initiated the process for acquiring fee-simple land allotments and U.S. citizenship for almost two-thirds of its members. This …

Treaty with the Potawatomi [1867]


On February 27, 1861, the Citizen Potawatomi entered into a treaty with the United States that established a new reservation for the Tribe in Indian Territory. Drafted to alleviate pressures the Citizen Potawatomi were facing following the Treaty of 1861 and subsequent allotment of reservation lands in Kansas, the new 1867 treaty stipulated that those who would move south were …