Sovereign Nation Era Ends 1800-1827
U.S. pays missionaries to “civilize” Native Americans
Congress passes the Civilization Fund Act to promote “education” for Native Americans and to stimulate the “civilization process.” Specifically, Congress appropriates $10,000 to pay missionaries to help the U.S. “eliminate Native military resistance and suppress Native traditional practices. Religious denominations are assigned to specific tribes. While encouraging the tribes to convert, the hired missionaries also urge them to adopt white styles of dress, housing, and farming.” The goal is to eradicate Native culture and customs, Christianize Indians, and teach English literacy through mission-run, government-funded schools. This act sets the stage for the Indian Boarding School system at the end of the 1800s. The Act leads to the formation of 52 schools over the next decade, administered by either the federal government or Christian missions. The Bureau of Indian Affairs in the War Department is created in 1824, in part to administer this fund (Native Voices, "1819: Congress pays missionaries to ‘civilize’ American Indians").