October 28th, 2020 Last Updated on: December 16th, 2021
Native American history is full of both beautiful triumphs and unexpected calamities. Wars, treaties, civil rights victories, and so much more. So, as you can imagine, indigenous peoples have a rich ancestral heritage and legacy.
We’re going to go over some of the most important dates in Native American history. Each one of these carries with it a great deal of historical significance and is worth knowing about even if you aren't Native American or Alaska Native.
Let's dive into the list!
January 1, 1899
A Native American named Wovoka had a mystical experience that urged him to tell other natives to change for the better and take part in the Ghost Dance ritual to prepare for an age of peace and prosperity.
February 8, 1887
This law, passed by the U.S. government, said that every head of each Native American family was to get 160 acres of tribal land, while every individual would get 80 acres. This act was predominantly seen as an alternative to mass genocide by U.S. forces.
Trail of Tears
April 5, 1838
President Andrew Jackson ordered the Cherokee off their Native American tribal land against a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The path they took became known as the Trail of Tears.
A loosely-knit confederation of Native American tribes in the Great Lakes, Illinois, and Ohio regions rose up against the British forces. They were successful and persuaded the British government to change national policies to be more favorable toward Native Americans.
Indian Citizenship Act
June 2, 1924
This law granted U.S. citizenship to Native Americans living in the United States. This act removed the ambiguity of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding who was considered to be a citizen. It's without a doubt, one of the most important dates in Native American history.
Indian Reorganization Act (Indian New Deal)
June 18, 1934
This act helped reverse much of the “cultural assimilation” imposed on Native Americans earlier in U.S. history. Its goal was also to strengthen, encourage, and continue Native American cultures in the U.S.
Battle of Little Bighorn
June 25, 1876
Native chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull led armies of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Native American tribes to a glorious victory over the vicious assault of U.S General George Custer and his army.
Native American Heritage Month
August 3, 1990 (Observed every November)
This is a relatively new holiday providing a national platform for Native Americans to share aspects of their culture with others. It also offers the opportunity to express their concerns and proposals. Now, every November, we get to collectively look back on Native American history and pay tribute to the accomplishments of indigenous peoples and American Indian nations that have stood the test of time.
Indigenous Peoples' Day
October 12, 1992 (Observed on the 2nd Monday of every October)
This is a relatively new holiday celebrating and honoring Native Americans, as well as their history and culture in the United States. It has increasingly been replacing Columbus Day in cities and states throughout the United States. It's an important acknowledgment of Native Americans still living in the United States and the land their ancestors once inhabited.
Wounded Knee Massacre
December 29, 1890
US.. cavalry opened fire on Sioux Native Americans at Wounded Knee Creek, resulting in 300 killed, including women and children. This marked the end of armed Native American resistance to hostile Western forces. It marks one of the most significant dates in 19th century Native American history.
Which date in Native American history is most significant to you?
Let us know in the comments!
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