Curtis Act Law & Legal Definition


The Curtis Act of 1898 brought in changes to the Dawes Act of 1887 that intended to bring in the concept of individual land holdings. The Curtis Act amended the allotment process in the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma: the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole. This Act is named after Charles Curtis, principal author of the Act, and at that time a member of the House of Representatives. The Act is officially titled the "Act for the Protection of the People of Indian Territory". This Act provides protection to the people of Indian territory. This Act helped to weaken and dissolve Indian Territory tribal governments by abolishing tribal courts and subjecting all persons in the territory to federal law. This Act also sanctioned the establishment of public schools.