Indian and Non-Indian Relations

The materials on this page are intended for use by students enrolled in ANTH 329 North American Indians. This page and its references are periodically up-dated.

Reading Assignments

Oswalt and Neely 1999:31-68 and 501-508

Gill 1982: 140-179

Suggested Video

Ishi: The Last of the Yahi, University of California.


Among the topics and issues considered in this section will be the early contact history with Europeans, the influence of disease on the indigenous population, the United States policy toward the Indian (including treaties, the Dawes Act, and the Indian Reorganization Act), Pan-Indianism, political activism, and self-determination. In the preceding lessons, the specific impact of European and American contact history on individual tribes will be considered.  

For a summary of some of the legal principles underlying the US Government's relation to the Tribes, go to:  Sovereign Status.

For a short synopsis of the "s" word, go to:  "squaw."

For the full text of the Dawes Act

Self-Study Guide Questions

  1. What was the impact of European-introduced diseases, such as smallpox, on the Indian peoples? In considering your response, also compare the consequences of disease among the Yupik, Tlingit, and Coeur d'Alene.
  2. Discuss the nature of United States "treaty" formation and relationship with Indian tribes. In this context, what is an "executive order" tribe?
  3. What were the prevailing underlying intentions of United States Federal Policy toward the Indian before 1932?
  4. What was the Indian Reorganization Act? What were its key features? What were its primary consequences?
  5. Discuss "Pan-Indianism."
  6. Discuss the development and issues associated with "political activism" and "tribal self-determination."
  7. Discuss the issues associated with "reservation gaming."
  8. Outline the history of United States Federal Policy toward the Indian. Include in your discussion the role of treaties, the Dawes Act, the Indian Reorganization Act, and Termination policy. What were the general underlying intentions of this policy?
  9. Outline the varied responses to Euro-American contact by the Rio Grande Pueblos, Yaqui and Plains Indians, focusing on their religious expressions. 

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