The Dawes Commission in Indian Territory

Today in History, April 28: 1897 – The Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, two of the five civilized tribes, agree to relinquish communal control of their lands after being convinced to do so by the Dawes Commission. The Dawes Act had previously ruled that other tribes must give up their lands and adapt to white customs, but the five civilized tribes were exempt; an 1830 treaty gave them control of their lands as long as the grass grows and the rivers run. Soon after convincing the Chickasaws and the Choctaws to give up the rights to their lands, the other civilized tribes followed suit, resulting in most of their land being given to settlers, including in the Sooner’s land run. In FDR’s administration the five civilized tribes would be given back the control over some of their lands, but the damage had been done.

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