Contemporary Indian allotment: Appropriating an assimilationist policy

The General Allotment Act of 1887 was a two-pronged policy aimed at assimilating American Indians into the dominant Euro-American society by allotting individual plots of land to Indians, thereby creating surplus lands which would then be opened up for non-Indian settlement. The process of allotment officially ended in 1934 with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act, however, it was used again in the late-1900s to gain an individual trust allotment. Ann-Marie Sayers, a Mutsun Band Costanoan Indian, used the General Allotment Act of 1887 to gain her allotment in 1988. Ms. Sayers appropriated this assimilationist act to promote cultural survival. That is, the General Allotment Act was used to obtain an individual trust allotment, but assimilation was not the outcome. Rather in this case, the outcome was the maintenance and promotion of cultural survival.


Meghan Kensler


Rob Williams





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 K46c


ATT 1395264

UA Library: 

E9791 1991 161
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences