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The Struggle for Self-Determination
Digital History ID 714

Author:   D.W.C. Duncan

Annotation: A Cherokee tells a Senate committee how the Dawes Act had made it impossible to support his family through farming.

Document: Under the old regime, when we were enjoying our vast estate in common here, we all had enough and more than enough to fill up the cup of our enjoyment.... While that was the case I had developed a farm of 300 acres up north of town.... But when the Dawes commission sent its survey party around and cut me off up there all but 60 acres, I went to work on that, and to-day the allotment process...has written destruction of property and capital more terrible than that which visited upon the isle of Galveston [Texas] years ago by the anger of the ocean....

Under the inexorable law of allotment enforced upon us Cherokees, I had to relinquish every inch of my premises outside of that little 60 acres. What is the result? There is a great scramble of persons to find file upon. Some of the friends in here, especially a white intermarried citizen, goes up and files upon a part of my farm.... Away went my crop... Now, that is what has been done to these Cherokees....

The government of the United States knows that these allotments of the Indians are not sufficient.... Why, one American citizen goes out on the western plain in North Dakota to make a home. What is the amount of land allotted to him? Isn't it 160 acres?

Source: Sen. Report No. 5013, 59th Congress, 2d Sess., Pt. I, 180-90.

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