From Then to Now: Native Americans Rights

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by dlrorer
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Social Studies
American History

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From Then to Now: Native Americans Rights

Worcester v. The State of Georgia• July 1791: Treaty of Holston- Between the Americans and the Cherokees - Explicitly recognizes the national character of the Cherokees and their right of self-government, thus guaranteeing ownership of their lands – Ensures protection from the United States government • 1831: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia: Cherokees fight the state of Georgia's attempts to assert jurisdiction over Cherokee lands. Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Marshall, rules that the case is unimportant, and does not need to be looked at.• 1832: Worcester v. Georgia: Supreme Court rules that the Cherokees have the right to retain their own independent political communities and ideas, therefore being allowed to have power over their own lands, as well as being able to decide what happens to those lands, in accordance with past treaties made in the U.S.• 1838: President Andrew Jackson disregards the court’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia, encouraging the Removal of the Cherokees from the Georgia area. The relocation, known as the “Trail of Tears,” begins, forcing the Cherokee Indians to migrate to Oklahoma and other Indian territories in the west, killing many.• Today: Treaty of Holston and the decision of the Worcester v. Georgia are firmly followed, giving full respect to the treaties made in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, many Native Americans did stay in the lands that they were forced to migrate to (though several migrations have occurred in many tribes, mostly to the Northeast and the Southwest) and many Indian Reservations remain intact.

From Then to Now: Native American Rights

December of 1854 and July of 1855: Treaties guaranteed Native Americans “The right of taking fish at usual and accustomed grounds and stations…in common with all citizens of the United States.” - Gave both Americans and Indian nations the freedom to fish wherever they wanted - However, American citizens were not entirely compliant with the treaties. – Native Americans gave up land, but had the right to fish, trade, and sell regularly.

Around 1789: The fully established American government begins making legal treaties with the Native American tribes, forming a total of 371 treaties with them by 1871.

Around 1609: English settlement in America - English colonists begin kicking Native American tribes off of their land - Accomplished by force, not legality.

1924-Today: American Indians are recognized as United States citizens and have all of the same rights as Americans, but at the same time do have their own sense of sovereignty (such as in reservations) which allows them to make their own political decisions.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries: Native Americans and American governments dispute over what rights the Natives did and did not have, as well as whether or not the governments could alter what the treaties had already granted them, such as their guaranteed fishing rights (including arrests and court cases).

1916: A Washington Supreme Court decision ignores the treaties made, stating that Native Americans were “incompetent occupants,” whose opinions and wants did not matter.

1887: Earliest court case on a dispute of fishing rights (violation of treaties) – Yakama Indians challenge a homesteader, Frank Taylor, for building a fence that prevented them from fishing in the Columbia River – Yakama victory.


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