Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Michael Tate

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Garver

Third Advisor

Dr. Philip Vogel

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jerold Simmons


Throughout the 19th century, the federal government promoted the assimilation of Native Americans as individuals within white society. Allotment of land in severalty, or the granting of land to individual Indians, was one means to achieve assimilation because it was believed that Indians would adopt the lifestyle of white farmers once they received land. Though the attempt generally failed, the government remailed undeterred in its efforts to achieve that end. In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Severalty Act which made allotment in severalty the standard policy on most reservations throughout the United States. One clear failure of allotment in severalty occurred on the Nemaha Half-Breed Tract, a reservation established in Nebraska to benefit the mixed-bloods of several Great Plains tribes. Though Congress created the reservation by treaty in 11830, it did not begin to allot the land until 1857. Once the land became available to the mixed-bloods, most of them sold their allotments to whites. This thesis describes the major purchasers of mixed-blood land on the Half-Breed Tract, including James W. Denver, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs; Stephen F. Nuckolls, the founder of Nebraska City; a group of German immigrants who sought to establish a socialistic society at their settlement called Arago; and several prominent local land speculators.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1992, William T. Moran

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