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Allotment Policy | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

U.S. Indian Allotment Policy in Wisconsin, 1887-1934

Allotment Policy | Wisconsin Historical Society
Dictionary of Wisconsin History.


Allotment was an Indian policy of the U.S. Government during the years of 1887 through 1934. It was also called the Dawes Act.

The General Allotment Act of 1887 divided communal tribal lands and placed them in individual ownership, resulting in the loss of 174,785 acres of Wisconsin land formerly held by the tribes.

In 1909, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs authorized an investigation led by Wisconsin Sen. Robert La Follette that held a series of hearings around the state in 1909 and 1910. The hearings called on Indians, Indian agents, state officials, and other concerned citizens to testify on the distribution of land and money. They offer considerable insight into conditions on Indian reservations as well as relations between Indians, the government, and white communities. They also preserve the actual words of many Wisconsin Indians as they described living conditions in the early 20th century.

Learn More

    • Read About Conditions on Wisconsin Indian Reservations, 1909-1910
      View more information, including what Wisconsin Indian witnesses told investigators about its effects, during hearings held on reservations in 1909-1910. The witness statements appear in the document "Condition of Indian affairs in Wisconsin: hearings before the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, on Senate resolution no. 263"
    • U.S. Indian Allotment Policy
      See more images, essays, newspapers and records about the U.S. Indian Allotment Policy in Wisconsin.
    • Dictionary of Wisconsin History
      Explore more than 1,600 people, places and events in Wisconsin history.

[Sources: Loew, Patty. "Indian Nations of Wisconsin," Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2001, and the Indian Land Tenure Foundation]