The Passamaquoddy Indians Essay

2535 words - 10 pages

The Passamaquoddy Indians

For several hundred years people have sought answers to the Indian problems, who are the Indians, and what rights do they have? These questions may seem simple, but the answers themselves present a difficult number of further questions and answers. State and Federal governments have tried to provide some order with a number of laws and policies, sometimes resulting in state and federal conflicts. The Federal Government's attempt to deal with Indian tribes can be easily understood by following the history of Federal Indian Policy. Indians all over the United States fought policies which threatened to destroy their familial bonds and traditions. The Passamaquoddy Indian Tribe of Maine, resisted no less than these other tribes, however, thereby also suffering a hostile anti-Indian environment from the Federal Government and their own State, Maine. But because the Passamaquoddy Tribe was located in such a remote area, they escaped many federal Indian policies.
In order to make more eastern land available for settlement, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. This enabled the President of the United States to have power physically to move eastern Indian tribes to land west of the Mississippi River. Indian Title did not grant the Indians the power to sell their own lands. The result of which was that, the Indians went uncompensated for their lands and the Original Indian Title was forsaken. Although more than 70,000 Indians had been forcibly removed in a ten-year journey westward, a trip that became known as the "Trail of Tears," the Passamaquoddy Indians remained in the northeast. This was possibly due to their remoteness and harsh winters of the North Atlantic coast.
Between 1821 and 1839 the state of Maine allowed timber havesting of the Passamaquoddy land in direct violation of the 1794 treaty and later sold more of their lands without compensation (Brooks 3). The 1774 treaty was signed between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Passamaquoddy Tribe. The treaty stipulated that the tribe would surrender all claims to land in Massachusetts in exchange for 23,000 acres at Indian Township and ten acres at Pleasant Point. Indian Township is located just above Princeton, Maine, and Pleasant Point is located between Eastport and Perry, Maine. This treaty was signed after the enactment of the Trade and Intercourse Acts, which held that no treaties could be made with the Indians, except with federal approval. There was no federal approval with this treaty (Brooks 3).
The State of Maine's courts in 1842 described Indians as charity cases and imbeciles, subject to paternal control by the state. After years of being forcibly removed or displaced by white settlers, the Passamaquoddy were reduced to living a meager existence form hunting, fishing, trapping, and craft making (Brooks 3).
The General Allotment Act of 1887 was passed with the concept that if Indians were given individual plots of...

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