Indigenous Dispossession and Displacement
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 authorized the president to negotiate (and/or coerce) treaties that forcibly transferred Cherokee, Muskogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations to territories west of the Mississippi River, known as reservations. Resistance efforts failed, resulting in the “Trail of Tears” in 1838, during which thousands of Cherokees died. Many other tribes faced similar displacements and loss of life.
In 1887, the Dawes General Allotment Act upended centuries-old Indigenous systems of communal land stewardship by opening 100 million acres of “surplus” lands to private sale. These policies disrupted Indigenous communities’ relationship to traditional food sources, replacing fishing, hunting, and gathering with distributions of food rations that forced reliance on government-provided food.
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be