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Native Americans

More from Elyse about Native Americans.

The relationship between America's native people and its more recent population has dramatically changed over time.

The first Europeans to arrive thought less about conquering Native Americans and more about trading with them.

It's when they resisted European settlement that trouble truly began.

The U.S. government's first attempt at a land ownership was through the instrument of the treaty.

In 1778, the first treaty was signed between the new American government and the native tribe, the Delaware Nation, but the effectiveness of the treaty was short-lived.

By 1830, President Andrew Jackson had signed the Indian Removal Act, forcing some 45,000 Native Americans living East of the Mississippi to move West.

In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court redefined Native American tribes with the Marshall Decision.

This gave them the official title of domestic dependent nations, but these nations received little respect.

The rest of the 19th century saw numerous treaties broken and finally all Native Americans being forced to live on government run reservations.

One of many attempts to remake Native Americans into Europeans, the Dawes Act divided up tribal land and portioned it out to individual tribal members.

The 20th century saw a slow struggle for Native Americans to rediscover their heritage and be a part of American society.

In 1924, after nearly 150 years of struggle, the Native Americans were finally recognized as U.S. citizens.

Today, Native American tribes and nations continue to fight for the right of self-determination in the 21st century.

Image: Northwestern University Library, Edward S. Curtis's 'The North American Indian'. Source: Library of Congress