If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.
This is a series of maps charting the shrinkage of Native American lands over time, from 1784 to the present day. Made because I was having trouble visualizing the sheer scale of the land loss, and reading numbers like “blah blah million acres” wasn’t really doing it for me. The gif is based on a collection of maps by Sam B. Hilliard of Louisiana State University. You can see the original map here.
For those who do prefer dealing in numbers, here are some:
By 1881, Indian landholdings in the United States had plummeted to 156 million acres. By 1934, only about 50 million acres remained (an area the size of Idaho and Washington) as a result of the General Allotment Act* of 1887. During World War II, the government took 500,000 more acres for military use. Over one hundred tribes, bands, and Rancherias relinquished their lands under various acts of Congress during the termination era of the 1950s.
By 1955, the indigenous land base had shrunk to just 2.3 percent of its original size.
—In the Courts of the Conqueror by Walter Echo-Hawk
* The General Allotment Act is also known as the Dawes Act.