07 Dec 1887
The Dawes Act begins the process of dividing up reservations and creating individual homesteads for resident tribal members, with the goal of assimilating Native Americans by eliminating the social cohesion of tribes and turning them into landowners and farmers. Only Native Americans who accepted the individual allotments were allowed to become U.S. Citizens. Through allotment divisions and the selling of surplus land, the Dawes Act also reduces the amount of land held by the tribes from approximately 140 million acres in 1887 to just 50 million acres in 1934. Since 1934, land holdings have increased to approximately 56 million acres.