In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

Indian Land Dilemma, 1877

Congress hoped to improve the lives of American Indians with the Dawes Act of 1887, but what was meant as reform instead disrupted the Indians' cultural traditions without improving their economic conditions. Previously, the government had established reservations for Native Americans, which tribes ran as sovereign nations. Massachusetts Republican Henry L. Dawes, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, sponsored legislation to transfer these communally owned lands from tribes to individuals and to grant citizenship to those who participated. The Dawes Act aimed to encourage Indians to become farmers and to assimilate into American society, but it also permitted the Indians to sell their surplus land. By 1900, Indian-held land had decreased significantly from the 138 million acres under Native American control in 1887. The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 restored tribal authority over reservations and returned remaining lands to tribal ownership. By the beginning of the 21st century, about 54 million acres were held by American Indians.

 

History of Congress and the Capitol

The Senate 1877-1913

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Young Native Americans are shown...
Image Caption

Young Native Americans are shown at work on tribal lands, 1901.

Young Native Americans are shown at work on tribal lands, 1901.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Young Native Americans are shown at work on tribal lands, 1901.

Young Native Americans are shown at work on tribal lands, 1901.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

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