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Timeline / Reshaping America / 1819: Congress pays missionaries to ‘civilize’ American Indians

1819: Congress pays missionaries to ‘civilize’ American Indians

Congress appropriates $10,000 to pay what it calls people of “good moral character” to help the U.S. eliminate Native military resistance and suppress Native traditional practices. Religious denominations are assigned to specific tribes. While encouraging the tribes to convert, the hired missionaries also urge them to adopt white styles of dress, housing, and farming.

Federal-Tribal Relations, Native Rights
California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest

Brainerd Mission, from a sketch by Thomas E. Paine, 1821. The Brainerd Mission, located on Chickamauga Creek near present-day Chattanooga, was the largest institution of its type among the Eastern Cherokees. It was created in 1816 by the Boston-based American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Courtesy Chattanooga Public Library