Dawes Act Law and Legal Definition

The Dawes Act of 1887 is a U.S. federal statute. The Act is also known as the Indian General Allotment Act. This Act aims at providing individual property to Indian tribes in Oklahoma. Thus the Act provides for the distribution of tribally held land to individuals. This Act puts an effort to break the tradition and culture held by tribal people by bringing in the western culture.

The main functions of the Act are:

1. to civilize the native peoples; and

2. to gain use of native-American lands for non-natives.

The Burke Act amended this Act and was made ineffective in 1934.