US Govt & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2016
ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™
1819 – Mar 3 Civilization Fund Act encouraged activities of benevolent societies in providing education for Native Americans and authorized an annuity to stimulate the “civilization process”
1824 – Mar 11 U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency established,
1830 – May 28 Indian Removal Act of 1830 aka The Trail of Tears was the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations (Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others) from southeastern parts of the United States. Many suffered from exposure, disease, starvation and death.
1832 – Aug 1 – Battle of Bad Axe
1834 – Nonintercourse Act is the collective name given to six statutes passed by the United States Congress in 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834. The Act regulates commerce between Native Americans and non-Indians.
1843 – Hawai‘ian Kingdom’s independence recognized; Great Britain and France sign a reciprocal agreement in which both nations formally recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
1846 – Mar – Sacramento River Massacre
1847 – Feb 3–4 Storming of Pueblo de Taos
1848 – Hawai’ian King Kamehameha III divides land; paves way for foreign ownership
1850 – May 15 – Bloody Island Massacre, Kingdom of Hawai‘i – U.S. treaty ratified
1851 – Feb 27 – Appropriation Bill for Indian Affairs allocated funds to move western tribes onto reservations
1853 – Before Dec 31 – “Ox” Incident Massacre
1854 – Aug 19 – Grattan Massacre
1855 – Sep 2 – Harney Massacre
1860 – Dec 18 Pease River Massacre
1861 – Jan 27 Bascom Affair a key event triggering the 25-year-long 1860s Apache Wars, Apr – Native Americans join to fight in the Confederate and Union Armies in the American Civil War
1862 – Aug–Sep – Dakota War of 1862
1863 – Jan 29 – Bear River Massacre, Apr 19 – Keyesville Massacre
1864 – Nov 29 – Sand Creek Massacre
1865 – Mar 14 – Mud Lake Massacre
1866 – Apr 9 Civil Rights Act of 1866 is a U.S. federal law declaring that everyone born(except certain Native Americans) in the U.S. and not subject to any foreign power is a citizen, without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, Jul 2 – Kidder Massacre
1867 – Aug 1 United States purchases Alaska from Russia
1868 – Nov 27 – Washita Massacre
1870 – Jan 23 – Marias Massacre
1872 – Dec 28 – Skeleton Cave Massacre
1875 – Apr 10 – Sappa Creek Massacre
1877 – Aug 8 – Big Hole Massacre
1879 – Jan 9–21 Fort Robinson Massacre
1879 – May 12 U.S. Federal Court rules that an Indian is a man with rights
1882 – The U.S. Navy shells Alaska Native villages
1883 – President Chester Arthur visits the Shoshoni and Arapaho Indians in Wind River, Wyoming
1885 – Major Crimes Act places 7 major crimes under federal jurisdiction if they are committed by a Native American against another Native American in Native territory.
1887 – Dawes Act adopted by Congress, authorized the President of the US to survey Indian tribal land, divide it into allotments for individual Indians and opeining up any “excess land” for settlement by non-Indians, Hawaiian King Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped the king of much of his authority.
1893 – Jan 17 Overthrow of the Hawai’ian Kingdom – local businessmen and politicians, composed primarily of American and European residents, overthrew the Queen Lili’uokalani, her cabinet and her marshal, and took over the government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi
1896 – June 8 Hawai’ian language restricted
1898 – Curtis Act of 1898 an amendment to the United States Dawes Act that brought about the allotment process of lands of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory: the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee, Cherokee, and Seminole, Nelson Act of 1889 United States federal law intended to relocate all the Anishinaabe people in Minnesota to the White Earth Indian Reservation in the western part of the state, and to expropriate the vacated reservations for sale to European Americans.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to control the travel of Native Americans off Indian reservations. Since Native Americans did not obtain U.S. citizenship until 1924, they were considered wards of the state and were denied various basic rights, including the right to travel.
1906 – Burke Act designed to correct certain defects in the General Allotment Act (“GAA”), May 17 Alaska Native Allotment Act permitted individual Alaska Natives to acquire title to up to 160 acres, Former Indian reservations in Oklahoma The US Federal government broke up collective tribal landholdings through the allotment process before the establishment of Oklahoma as a state in 1907. Instead of reservations, Oklahoma Indian tribes have tribal jurisdictional areas, with Osage Nation being the one exception, June 8 Antiquities Act passed meant for the preservation of American antiquities
1907 – Mar 2 Lacey Act of 1907 revised federal Indian Law to provide for the allotment of tribal funds to certain classes of Indians.
1915 – Alaska Natives must renounce cultures to become citizens
Dec 18 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act the largest land claims settlement in US history was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon
1919 – Nov 6 The Act of November 6, 1919, Indian who had fought with honorable discharge after World War I was also considered a citizen
1921 – Jul 9 Hawai’ian Homelands the US federal government set aside as approximately 200,000 acres in the Territory of Hawai’i as a land trust for homesteading by Native Hawai’ians.
1923 – President Warren Harding visits Indian Country in Alaska
1924 – Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted full U.S. citizenship to America’s indigenous peoples
1927 – President Calvin Coolidge visits the Oglala Lakota dancers at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
1928 – Meriam Report commissioned by the Institute for Government Research (IGR, better known later as the Brookings Institution) and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The IGR appointed Lewis Meriam as the technical director of the survey team, to compile information and report of the conditions of American Indians across the country
1934 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the Blackfeet Tribe, Montana, Apr 16 Johnson–O’Malley Act subsidize education, medical attention, and other services provided by states to Native Americans, especially those not living on reservations. It was effective only in Minnesota, Jun 18 The Indian Reorganization Act sometimes known as the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans (known in law as American Indians or Indians), including Alaska Natives. These include actions that contributed to the reversal of the Dawes Act‘s privatization of communal holdings of American Indian tribes and a return to local self-government on a tribal basis. The Act also restored to Indians the management of their assets (being mainly land) and included provisions intended to create a sound economic foundation for the inhabitants of Indian reservations.
1936 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited The Cherokee Tribe, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act a United States federal law that extended the 1934 Wheeler-Howard or Indian Reorganization Act to include those tribes within the boundaries of the state of Oklahoma. Federal recognition extended to Alaska Native villages
1937 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Quinault People, Washington State
1940 – Nationality Act of 1940 – Congress reaffirmed Native people’s citizenship
1941 – Hawai‘i under martial law; U.S. military takes sacred lands
1945 – Alaska’s territorial legislature adopts Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945
1952 – President Harry S. Truman stopped over at the Fort Peck Reservation, Montana
1953 – Aug 1 House concurrent resolution 108 declared it to be the sense of Congress that it should be policy of the United States to abolish federal supervision over American Indian tribes as soon as possible and to subject the Indians to the same laws, privileges, and responsibilities as other US citizens, Aug 15 Public Law 280 (Pub.L. 83–280, August 15, 1953, codified as 18 U.S.C. § 1162, 28 U.S.C. § 1360, and 25 U.S.C. §§ 1321–1326, is a federal law of the United States establishing “a method whereby States may assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians,” as stated in McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Commission. 411 U.S. 164, 177 (1973).
1956 – Indian Relocation Act of 1956 – Public Law 959 or the Adult Vocational Training Program was a United States law intended to encourage Native Americans in the United States to leave Indian reservations, acquire vocational skills, and assimilate into the general population.
1959 – Jan 3 Alaska becomes the 49th State of the United States of America, Aug 21 Hawai`i becomes the 50th State of the United States Of America
1966 Oct 15 National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the US
1968 – Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) in 1968, also called the Indian Bill of Rights, Native Americans were guaranteed many civil rights they had been fighting for’
1971 – Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 18, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history
1972 – The Indian Education Act empowers parents; funds student programs
1973 Feb 27- May 8 200+ Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to protest the corruption and abuse of of tribal president Richard Wilson and demand his impeachment. Dec 22 Menominee Restoration Act returned federally recognized sovereignty to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.
1975 – Jan 4 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) authorized the Secretaries of the Department of Interior, Health, Education and Welfare and some other government agencies to enter into contracts with, and make grants directly to, federally recognized Indian tribes. The tribes would have authority for how they administered the funds, which gave them greater control over their welfare.
1976 – Tobeluk vs. Lind was a landmark case in Alaskan Native education. The 27 teenage plaintiffs brought suit against the State of Alaska, claiming that Native American boarding schools were discriminatory and unjust.
1978 – Aug 11 American Indian Religious Freedom Act Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469, enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians,Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawai’ians., Sept 30 Rhode Island Claims Settlement Act Aboriginal title claim, Nov 8 Indian Child Welfare Act (Pub.L. 95–608, 92 Stat. 3069, codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1901–1963.) is a Federal law that governs jurisdiction over the removal of Native American (Indian) children from their families.
1979 – 0ct 31 Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 regulated access to archaeological resources on federal and Indian lands
1980 – Oct 10 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act – Aboriginal title claim
1982 – Indian Claims Limitations Act The Indian Claims Limitations Act of 1982 (ICLA) is a United States federal statute of limitations that governs some types of claims by Native American tribes and claims by the federal government on behalf of tribes, Dec 31 Florida Indian (Miccosukee) Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
1983 – Oct 18 Connecticut Indian Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim. U.S. denies responsibility for overthrow of Hawai’ian monarchy , First Gathering of Nations Pow-wow
1985 – President Ronald Reagan met with trival leaders in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
1986- Oct 27 Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Supplementary Claims Settlement Act – Aboriginal title claim
1987 – Aug 18 Massachusetts Indian Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim, Dec.31 Florida Indian (Seminole) Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
1988 – Aleut Restitution Act of 1988 a reparation settlement passed by the United States Congress in 1988, in response to the internment of Aleut people living in the Aleutian Islands during World War II, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act established the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming
1989 – Jun 21 Washington Indian (Puyallup) Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
1990 – Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of American Indian or Alaska Native arts and crafts products within the United States, Oct 30 – Native American Languages Act of 1990 Public Law 101-477 of 1990 gave historical importance as repudiating past policies of eradicating Indian Languages by declaring as policy that Native Americans were entitled to use their own languages., Nov 3 – Seneca Nation (New York) Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim, Nov 16 – Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American “cultural items” to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawai’ian organizations, Nov 26 – Aroostock Band of Micmacs Settlement Act – Aboriginal title claim
1993 – Nov 23 President Bill Clinton (D) signs legislation apologizing for the U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawai’ian monarchy. The apology, known as the Apology Resolution , meant as a means of reconciliation with Native Hawai’ians, acknowledges the historic significance of the event—but the apology does not provide federal recognition to Native Hawai’ians as other federal laws provide to American Indian tribes, Nov 16 President Bill Clinton (D) signs The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488; the Supreme Court soon struck down RFRA as an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional powers in City of Boerne v. Flores
1994 – Oct 19 Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim, Nov 2 Crow Boundary Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
1996 – Oct 26 Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 simplifed and reorganized the system of providing housing assistance to Native American communities to help improve the unsatisfactory conditions of infrastructure in Indian country. The legislation proposed to accomplish this reform by reducing the regulatory strictures that burdened tribes attempting to use their housing grants, and created a new program division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that combined several previously used programs into one block grant program committed to the task of tribal housing. U.S. Court recognizes land rights of Venetie Tribe of Neetsaii’ Gwich’in Indians
1997 – Jun 5 – Secretarial Order #3206 American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act.
1998 – Former Indian reservations in Oklahoma are the Indian reservations in the lands that are now the state of Oklahoma. Prior to statehood, both Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory contained suzerain Indian Nations that had legally established boundaries, Supreme Court overturns Neetsaii’ Gwich’in tax levy
1999 -President Bill Clinton visits the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Montana
2000 – Nov 1 Santo Domingo Pueblo Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim, Dec 20 Native American Code Talkers Receive Congressional Gold Medal, Dec 27 Torres-Martinez Desert Cahiilla Indian Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim, President Bill Clinton visits the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico
2001 – Jan 19 – Secretarial Order # 3225 Endangered Species Act and Subsistence Uses in Alaska (Supplement to Secretarial Order 3206)
2002 – Dec 13 Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nation Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
2004 – Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act of 2004 established the legal framework for the distribution of the “Western Shoshone Judgement Funds” stemming from docket 326-K before the Indian Claims Commission
2005 – May 23 Secretarial Orde #3261 Realignment of Functions Relating to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
2006- Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act Public Law No: 109-394, It authorized funding for new programs for tribes to prevent the loss of heritage and culture, Sept 27 Pueblo De San Ildefonso Claims Settlement – Aboriginal title claim
2007 – Sep 13 United Nations adopted The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2009 – Apr 30 U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States for a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes, May 8 President Barack Obama (D) signed a law repealing the Bennett Freeze section10(f) of Public Law 93-531, Nov 5 President Barack Obama hosts the first White House Tribal Nations Conference
2010 – Mar 23 President Obama (D) signed into law the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),commonly called Obamacare thus making The Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), the cornerstone legal authority for the provision of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives permanent, Jul 29 Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 signed into effect by President Obama (D) that expands the punitive abilities of tribal courts across the nation. The law allows tribal courts operating in Indian country to increase jail sentences handed down in criminal cases. This was a major step toward improving enforcement and justice in Indian country. Before this law, tribal courts were limited in the scope of punishment they could hand down in criminal cases, giving them the impression of a lower, less serious court. They now possess the power under the Tribal Law and Order Act to pass increased sentences in order to incarcerate defendants longer, Dec 8 President Obama (D) signed into law the Claims Resolution Act which includes the Cobell, Keepseagle, and other settlement agreements, Dec 16 President Obama (D) endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2010 White House Tribal Nations Conference
2011 – Jul 5 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act rule 10.11 moderated requirements for cultural affiliation causing museums to consult with tribes that request the repatriation of culturally unidentifiable human remains. Dec 2 White House Tribal Nations Conference
2012 – Dec 5 White House Tribal Nations Conference
2013 – Mar 5 Federal Agencies Announce Action Plan to Guide Protection of Indian Sacred Sites, Mar 7 Pres Obama signs VAWA 2013 and Tribal Jurisdiction Over Crimes of Domestic Violence ,Nov 8 Interior Expands Land Buy-Back Process Across Indian Country, Nov 13 – White House Tribal Nations Conference, Nov 20 Native American Code Talkers Receive Congressional Gold Medal
2014 – Jan 6 Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, S. 1948. The legislation “would establish a grant program to fund Native language educational programs, May 9 Jewell announces $700K in tribal energy grants, May 28 Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act is a bill that would transfer to the Sandia Pueblo of New Mexico some land from the United States Forest Service, provided that land remains an “open space in its natural state.”, Jun 8 Attorney General Eric Holder office consults with tribes to increase voting access for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Jun 13 President Obama visits the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Jun 18 Washington Redskins football team’s trademark registration for its nickname was canceled by a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board, Jun 18 The Interior Department issued a press release announcing it is taking “a first step to consider reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community, Jul 16 Senators introduce Tribal Adoption Parity Act, Aug 20 Secretary Jewell Issues Secretarial Order Affirming American Indian Trust Responsibilities, Sep 8 USDA appoints members to Native Farming, Ranching Council, Sep 26 “Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014,” excludes Indian general welfare benefits from gross income in calculating income tax; and establishes a Tribal Advisory Committee to advise the Treasury Department on matters relating to the taxation of Indians and “Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe – Fish Springs Ranch Settlement Act,” which ratifies a water settlement agreement between the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Fish Springs Ranch, Dec 16 President Obama designated the pristine waters of Bristol Bay as off limits to consideration for oil and gas leasing, Dec 18 President Obama signed into law S. 1474, Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act of 2014, which repeals current law limitation on jurisdiction of Indian tribes in the State of Alaska over domestic violence,
2015 – Jan 13 Jodi Gillette, Special Assistant to President Obama for Native American Affairs, responds to the White House Petition “Stop Apache Land Grab, Feb 2 President Obama takes historic step in recognizing and reaffirming true government-to-government relations and in honoring the trust responsibility to American Indian tribes pursuant to treaties and the U.S. Constitution., Feb 28 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, on behalf of the U.S., signed an historic agreement guaranteeing the water rights of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes in Nevada, Revised Guidelines of Indian Child Welfare Act, Mar 23 Tribes Get $6 Million in Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency Projects, Apr 29 Obama Administration designates Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe a Promise Zone, Jun 12 US State Department launches initiatives to provide technical assistance and support to civil society organizations responding to hate crime and bias-motivated violence targeting LGBT persons globally, Jul 9 White House Youth Tribal Gathering, Jul 15 President Obama visits The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Aug 31 President Obama signs a “secretarial order” that the Federal Government has officially restored the Koyukon Athabascan name of Denali to the tallest mountain in North America (PNA Mt. McKinley).
2016 – Jun 3 President Obama signs S. 184, the “Native American Children’s Safety Act,” it amends the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are made by tribal social services agencies, Sept 23 President Obama signs the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act
Timeline by Region
Arctic (51) California (36) Great Basin (35) Great Plains (40) Hawai‘i (17) Northeast (36) Northwest Coast (56) Plateau (35) Southeast (35) Southwest (39)
- List of Prominent Native Americans of the United States
- List of Prominent Native Hawaiians Trace Indian Ancestry Tribal Leaders Directory
- Native American Tribes A-Z
- List of Native American Tribe Websites A-Z
- National Museum of the American Indian
- US Department of the Interior: Indian Affairs
- Generation Indigenous | The White House