Native Americans Allotment Era

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The federal government is obligated by treaties and laws to supply adequate housing to Native Americans, but the housing needs on reservations have historically been neglected. Present issues concerning Native American housing are largely the result of past governmental policies, and although the government has attempted to rectify the resulting consequences, areas of concern regarding housing in Indian country still exist. The term ‘Indian Country’ refers to reservation land, dependent Native communities, and lands held in trust by the government for a Native American tribe or individual. The government has conducted surveys in Indian Country, and these surveys find that there are a few areas of Native American housing that need to be improved…show more content…
The Allotment Era begins with the passing of the Allotment Act in 1887 and ends with the publishing of the Meriam Report in 1928. In 1887, Congress formally passed the Allotment Act—also called The Dawes Act; its goal was to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American society and to open up more land for white settlers. This act authorized the president to examine Native American land and separate the area into allotments for individual tribal members and families. Tribal members were either given permission to select pieces of land—40, 80, or 160 acres—for themselves and their families, or the areas were assigned. The remainder of the land (60 million acres) was ceded or sold as “surplus land” to the government for non-Indian residents and businesses. The Allotment Act caused “Indian land holdings to plunge from 138 million acres in 1887 to 48 million acres by 1934 when allotment ended” (History of Allotment). This decimation of land happened primarily because the most productive land was labeled as “surplus to Indian needs” (Davis) and sold to non-Indians or corporations; consequently, some landholders sold their land after the 25-year trust period. Overall, the Allotment Act of 1887 diminished Indian land by two-thirds, started dispersing Native families, and began the destruction of the traditions of community in…show more content…
Again the government decided to respect tribal self-determination. This marks the beginning of the Self-Determination period that started in 1961 with the construction of cluster houses and continues into modern day. In his campaign speech, John F. Kennedy stated that the housing conditions on reservations were “a national shame” (State of Nations), and soon after—in 1961— the federal government enacted the policies from the 1937 Housing Act. Native tribes were included in the housing programs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). And soon, the BIA established a Native housing program—the Housing Improvement Program (HIP). The HUD housing program sought to improve housing conditions on reservations through the establishment of cluster houses. The federal government wanted to provide “modern housing and utilities” (State of Nations) in a cost effective way. Originally, the Pueblo layout was in rings around the plaza, but when HUD started building houses on reservations, the arrangements differed from the traditional housing organization. The HUD houses were constructed and placed like a suburban neighborhood so that they could run electrical and gas lines easily to the homes. Cluster homes impacted tribal communities by disrupting social networks and consequently causing increases in drug and crime problems. The negative results of HUD housing were that

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