Federal Indian Policy

Federal Indian Policy

Federal Indian Policy

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Federal Indian Policy refers the relationship between the United States Government and the Indian Tribes that exist within its borders. Federal Indian Policy contains several eras in which the way the U.S. Government dealt with the Indians constantly changed.

The Trade and Intercourse Era



The Indian Intercourse Act of 1790 marked the beginning of the Trade and Intercourse Era. This Act established that no sales of Indian lands were to be made between any persons or state(s) unless the sale was authorized by the United States. The United States federal government was then granted management of trade and diplomatic relations that involved Indians and their lands. The main goal of establishing the Trade and Intercourse Act was to keep peace on the frontier and avoid war with the Natives.During the Trade and Intercourse Era, the Natives were also included within the United States Government, to some degree, by the establishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) within the War Department in 1824. However, land disputes and law jurisdiction cases began to appear frequently in the United States Supreme Court. It was concluded that, "discovery also gave the discoverer the exclusive right to extinguish Indian title either by 'purchase or by conquest'." Natives were recognized only as occupants of the land, and not owners.

Westward expansion and Indian relocation

During the early 19th century as the eastern settlers of the United States felt the need to explore...
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