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Encounter on the Great PlainsScandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930$
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Karen V. Hansen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746811.001.0001

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The Reservation Land Rush: Allotment and Land Taking

The Reservation Land Rush: Allotment and Land Taking

(p.79) 3 The Reservation Land Rush: Allotment and Land Taking
Encounter on the Great Plains

Karen V. Hansen

Oxford University Press

The convergence of the Dawes Act and the Land Allotment Act of 1904, created the conditions that enabled homesteaders to settle on Indian land at Spirit Lake; it did so at the price of Dakota dispossession. To citizens and foreign–born immigrants, the legislation offered an exchange of land for labor, money, and displacement of Native peoples. Scandinavian settlers moved onto the reservation, quickly dominated demographically, and lived as neighbors with Dakotas. This chapter chronicles how the assimilation project unfolded at Spirit Lake as Dakotas were wards of the government, their land held in trust, and their daily lives monitored by the Indian Office. It probes the sometimes enormous gap between the Indian Office’s stated policy and its on–the–ground execution, examines the post–allotment living conditions of impoverished Dakotas, and outlines the processes that led to Scandinavian landowning dominance on the reservation.

Keywords:   allotment, renaming the Indians, homesteading, assimilation project, opening the reservation, Indian agents, federal Indian policy, field matron program

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