Alice Fletcher Special Agent of the Dawes Commission Speaking with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

James Stuart, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and Alice Fletcher
In 1887, Alice Fletcher was appointed as a special agent by the Dawes commission to allot lands to the Nez Perce and Winnebago tribes.

Previous to the Dawes Act of 1887, tribal lands were owned communally.

The net effect of splitting the tribal land into individually owned allotments was the eventual loss of territory.

Fletcher, who helped write the legislation was convinced that if individuals owned their own land they would assimilate more readily into the white man's way of life.

In reality, it only forced the sale of Native American property to white men.

"The Indian may now become a free man; free from the thraldom of the tribe; free from the domination of the reservation system; free to enter into the body of our citizens. This bill (The Dawes Act of 1887) may therefore be considered as the Magna Carta of the Indians of our country. " 
Alice Cunningham Fletcher

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