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Word Count: 535
Between 1875 and 1925 the friendly relations with Indians prevented the loss of many American lives By 1890 Americans had migrated all the way to the Pacific Ocean The frontier era had ended Well before that date however it had become clear to many that a new policy had to be adopted toward Native Americans whose dwindling numbers seemed to threaten extinction Congress began moving in this direction in 1871 when it unilaterally decided to abandon the treaty process and legislate on the behalf of Native Americans Whereas a century before they had functioned as sovereign nations Native Americans were now wards of the United States government The new plan to rescue Native Americans from extinction called for an aggressive assault on tribalism by parceling out communally owned reservation land on an individual basis The plan called the Dawes Act or General Allotment Act went into effect in 1887 Hundreds of thousands of acres remaining after the individual 160-acre allotments had been made were then sold at bargain prices to land-hungry or land-speculating whites This allotment designed to absorb the Native Americans into the society of the United States turned out to be a monumental disaster In addition to losing their surplus tribal land many Native Americans families lost their allotted land as well despite the governments 25-year period of trusteeship The poorest of the nations poormany of them now landless and the majority still resisting assimilationNative Americans reached their lowest population numbers shortly after the turn of the 20th century In June 1924 the US Congress granted these original Americans United States citizenship The basic distinction that sets Native Americans apart from other groups of people in the United States is their historic existence as self-governing peoples whose nationhood preceded that of the United States As nations they signed treaties with colonial authorities and later with the US government and today on what remains of their former lands they continue to function
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