Grading Service: NGC
SKU: 123218
Cert Number: 3319341017

Government relations with Native American tribes have not always been ideal, however in 1824 John C. Calhoun – was Secretary of War at the time – attempted to change that. Prior to Calhoun’s seat, tribal affairs had been handled by the Department of War and had been organized through trading posts. This did not always prove useful as there were still several communicative issues with outside tribes. Once the trading posts had failed, Calhoun set out to establish a more thorough and organized way to handle Native American affairs. On March 11, 1824 Calhoun established the Bureau of Indian Affairs to handle all treaty negotiations, manage native schools, administer trade, and handle all correspondence. Once the Bureau was officially established, Thomas McKenney was appointed as head of the Bureau and Ely Parker – a member of the Seneca tribe – was appointed first director. Calhoun’s intention was to create strong, trusting relationships between the U.S. government and tribes across the country, but this would not carry on for long. By the 1830s relations had changed dramatically between the government and Native Americans, especially once Andrew Jackson won the presidency. Jackson only saw native’s as a burden against western expansion and sought to remove the “obstacle.” Soon the Bureau morphed into a militant force to displace several tribes and allow white settlers to move into the territory. After another decade, the Bureau shifted once again, especially as it was moved into the newly established Department of the Interior. The goal now was to allocate land to these displaced tribes and patch the disrupted relationship. Unfortunately once the Civil War hit, these tasks were blighted and the Bureau’s goals were once again shifted. By the 1870s the goal was no longer to allow Native American’s to maintain their culture, instead they were forced to assimilate into the “American Mainstream.” Soon officials set out to police Native activities, evangelize all tribes’ members, and instruct them in Anglo-American culture. This forced assimilation continued for decades, but today the Bureau of Indian Affairs is attempting to mend these injustices by offering support, resources, and protection.

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