Breaking up the Reservations

"These Indian reservations afford a resistance to which

on-marching civilization and utilization should not be subjected."

"Open the Reservations," The Morning Review, January 23, 1889, page 2.


Less than two decades after James Glover settled Spokane, immigrants to the Inland Northwest became discontented with earlier treaty arrangements which had allocated millions of acres of land for reservations. Settlers claimed that their labors in "civilizing" the West had made the Indian land valuable. So they should have the opportunity to purchase land currently locked up in reservations.

In about 1890 a number of articles appeared in newspapers in the Inland Northwest advocating the breaking up of the reservations, providing allotments for Native Americans and opening the rest of the land to white settlement. These articles reveal the ethnocentric views of the European-American settlers and also provide data about the reservations themselves.


The Case for Breaking up the Reservations: Click here to explore the basic themes in the arguments offered by white settlers for breaking up reservations -- reservations which had been set up by treaty only a few years before.


The stories of individual reservations


The Colville Reservation


The Coeur d'Alene Reservation