MCK’s focus on child health and well-being is grounded in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's), Historical Trauma and Structural Racism; we cannot make meaningful change until we understand the origins of inequities impacting Native and African American children and families. The intent of these timelines is to illustrate  the painful unfolding and impact of historical trauma and structural racism throughout U.S. history and how they still manifest today.

Please review the timelines and videos below to learn more about the affects that ACE's, Historical Trauma, and Structural Racism have on these communities. There are also discussion questions available for all to use following the second video. If you have any ideas, revisions or historical events you would like added or changed in regards to any of the timelines please e-mail MCK Project Lead Perran Wetzel:


  • 1619

    First African indentured servants arrive in colonies.

  • Matthias de Souza

    An indentured servant, Matthias was the only black person to serve in the colonial Maryland legislature in 1641. As a result, he is the first African American to sit in any legislative body in what would become the United States. Previously an indentured servant, de Souza was freed after serving his fouryears by his owner Father Andrew White, a Catholic priest. After serving his term from 1641 to 1642, de Sousa was ordered by the court to re enter indentured servitude.

  • Until 1865 Slavery of African Americans: sexual exploitation of slaves; families separated for profit/punishment; slaves inhumanely bred and sold.

  • 1680 - 1705

    VA Slave Codes (slaves = African or Native America, servants = white).

  • Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806):author, scientist, mathematician, astronomer, and publisher

    At the age of 22, Benjamin Banneker was accredited for the creation of the striking clock, made entirely out of wood based on his own drawings and mathematical calculations. Banneker attended an interracial Quaker school and was taught to read by his grandmother Molly Walsh, a freed white indentured servant who had unlawfully married one of her freed slaves. Banneker was good friends with the Ellicott brothers, well known white mathematicians and astronomers at the time. In 1791 Banneker was asked to accompany Andrew Ellicott to the Potomac to help survey the area for the nation’s capital. It was on that trip that he Georgetown Weekly Ledger acknowledged Banneker, stating that Ellicott was “attended by Benjamin Banneker, an Ethiopian, whose abilities, as a surveyor, and an astronomer, clearly prove that Mr. Jefferson’s concluding that race of men were void of mental endowments, was without foundation.” In 1792, Banneker wrote Thomas Jefferson a copy of his almanac consisting of personal calculations of celestial bodies, along with a letter challenging Jefferson's ideas about the inferiority of African Americans. Between 1972 and 1797, Banneker continued his work to publish six additional almanacs in twenty-eight editions, finally passing away in 1806.

  • 1740

    Slaves banned from drumming (e.g. 1740 SC Slave Code after 1739 rebellion). Laws against literacy(e.g. 1740 South Carolina, 1819 Virginia).

  • Captain Paul Cuffe (1759 - 1817)

    On February 9, 1780, Captain Paul Cuffe and six other African American residents of Massachusetts petitioned the state legislature for the right to vote. Claiming the coined term “no taxation without representation”, a concept used to justify the split of the United States from the British Empire. Cuffe demanded that the government of Massachusetts government must either give African Americans and Native Americans voting rights or cease taxing them. Although the petition failed to move the legislature, the courts agreed to award Cuffe and the six other defendants full civil rights. Cuffe also made waves in the abolitionist movement, working with other emancipated African Americans in the Northern stats on anti-slavery campaigns, utilizing his connections in the Quaker community to with sympathetic co-religionists to support his efforts.

  • 1789

    US Constitution: 3/5 clause (African Americans were only worth 3/5 of a White person).

  • Amistad Case (1839)

    In 1839, 53 illegally purchased African slaves being transported from Cuba aboard the Spanish Amistad seized the ship and begin to sail towards the direction of New York. They were later intercepted by an American brig off the coast of Long Island and thrown in jail. The slaves were eventually granted a trial, as their appeal was brought before the U.S, Supreme Court which ruled that since the international slave trade was deemed illegal, persons escaping the trade should be recognized as free under American Law.

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave was published in 1845

    In 1845, Frederick Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The text described the events of his life, and is considered to be one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century in the United States. The eleven chapter book recount the struggles of slavery as well as Douglass’s ambition for freedom. Douglass continued to become a leading spokesman for the abolition of slavery and racial equality.

  • Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

    In 1850, Sojourner Truth dictated her autobiography to Olive Gilbert whom assisted in the publication of The Narrative of Sojourner Truth. The book not only accounted for Truths income but also brought her national recognition. Truth continued to work as an activist meeting with individuals such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony of the women's rights movement along with William Lloyd Garrision and Frederick Douglass of the abolitionist movement. In 1851, she began a lecture tour that included a women’s rights conference where she delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech which challenged the intersectionality of racial and gender inferiority within the women’s rights movement.

  • African American Soldiers in the Civil War

    Despite of the many hardships faced by African American soldiers, they comprised around 10% of the Union Army. Infanties such as the Massachusetts 54th Regiment beacame the first official African American units in the United States army. Although 54th Regiment was run by the white abolitionist Robert Gould Shaw, it was the first time in the civil war that black troops led an infantry attack. In addition to the many who served, sixteen African American soldiers won the Congressional Medal of Honor for their brave service in the Civil War, including the 54th Massachusetts soldier and first black U.S. Medal of Honor Recipient William H. Carney.

  • Mary Ellen Pleasant

    Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th century African American entrepreneur who used her fortune to further the abolitionist movement. Pleasant worked on the Underground Railroad with her husband James Smith harboring slaves on their flour plantation and transporting them north, until the death of her husband. After inheriting a multimillion dollar fortune Pleasant soon remarried and relocated to San Francisco, where she worked on bringing the Underground Railroad to California during the Gold Rush Era. Pleasant took her battled to the courts in the 1860s, winning several civil rights victories including the Pleasant v. North Beach & Mission Railroad Company. The case attacked racial discrimination on California public transportation after her and two other black women were ejected from a city streetcar in 1866. After filing two lawsuits, the case went to the California Supreme Court which after two years resulted in the city outlawing segregation on public transportation. She was awarded with the community title of “Mother of Human Rights of California”.

  • 1857

    Dred Scott v. Sanford (not citizens, cannot sue; "a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect").

  • 1860

    Last slave ship docks in the USA (50 years after ban).

  • Until 1865:

    13th Amendment abolished slavery.

    KKK founded, violent white supremacist group.

  • 1865 - 1877

    Reconstruction - temporary gains in political/economic rights after the Civil War.

  • 1866

    Convict leasing begins (13th Amendment loophole; "slavery by another name" for southern prisoners).

  • 1868

    14th Amendment (citizenship, equal rights).

  • 1870

    15th Amendment (Right to Vote).

  • 1872

    1st African American governor - Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback(only 43 days in office; none elected until 1990).

    Late 1800s onward - African American voter suppression (poll tax, literacy tests, violence).

  • 1877

    Reconstruction ends, Jim Crow Era begins(segregation, lost rights for African Americans in South).

  • 1877 - 1950

    4,075 "racial terror lynchings" of blacks in twelve southern states between Reconstruction and World War II (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA).

  • 1870s - 1950s

    Sharecropping - cycle of poverty for poor Southern farmers (African American & White).

  • Daniel Hale Williams

    After graduating with an M.D. degree in 1883 from Chicago Medical College, Dr. Williams started a medical practice with three other African American physicians in Chicago. In 1889, he was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Health along with founding the Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses. It was the first hospital in the country with a nursing and intern program that hired African Americans, being the first medical facility to have an interracial staff. In 1893, Dr. Williams became the first surgeon to successfully perform open-heart surgery on a human. Later in 1894 he moved to Washington D.C. where he was the Chief Surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital and continued to address health disparities by encouraging the employment of multiracial staff. A year later, he co-founded the National Medical Association, a professional organization for African American medical practitioners. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams became the first African American physicians admitted to the American College of Surgeons and his work and advocacy for African American presence in medicine has been honored by educational institutions worldwide.

  • Ida B. Wells

    Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist and activist who led a historically known anti-lynching crusade in the United States during the 1890s. Wells began to write about issues of race and politics in the South after being forcibly removed from a first class train car in Memphis Tennessee. Using the pseudonym “lola”, a number of her articles were published in black newspapers, and eventually became the owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. While working as a journalist and publisher she wrote articles depicting the lynching and wrongful deaths of African Americans. Putting her own life at risk, she spent two months traveling throughout the South, gathering information on lynching incidents. Shortly after an attack at her newspaper, Wells moved north and worked on an in-depth report on lynching in America for the New York Age, and in 1898 she brought her anti-lynching campaign to the White House, leading a protest in Washington D.C. calling on President William McKinley to make reforms. Wells later established the National Association of Colored Women in 1898 and attended a special conference for the organization known as the NAACP.

  • Sarah Breedlove McWilliams (aka Madam C.J. Walker)

    Sarah Breedlove McWilliams better known as Madam C.J. Walker, was an African American activist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Around 1903 Walker launched African American beauty and hair-care products that was so successful that Walker became the first self-made woman millionaire in America.

  • NAACP Established (1909)

    Founded February 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the oldest, largest, and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights groups in the nation. The group was formed in a response to the tragic recurrence of lynching and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois. The NAACP primarily focused on securing the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution for all people. As the group has evolved, the NAACP’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States and eliminate race prejudice.

  • Matthew Henson

    On April 6, 1909, Matthew Henson became the first man to reach the North Pole while on an expedition with explorer Robert E. Peary. Henson arrived at Camp Jesup 89 degrees 47’, 45 minutes ahead of Peary enough time to plant the American Flag at 90 degrees north. In 2000, the National Geographic Society posthumously awarded Matthew Henson its highest honor - the Hubbard Medal, awarded for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research.

  • 1913

    Wilson administration takes steps towards federal segregation.

  • 1920

    Women gain right to vote.

  • 1920

    3 African American men(Clayton, Jackson, McGee) lynched in Duluth, MN.

  • 1930s

    New Deal (disproportionaly benefits Whites, excludes African Americans → roots of modern middle class, wealth gap).

  • 1930s

    Convict leasing ends.

  • 1934

    Federal Housing Authority established to give loans/subsidies for home ownership(→wealth). "Red-lining":FHA standards discriminate against non-White people and neighborhoods. Of $120 billion in loans from 1934-1962, 98% went to Whites.

  • Jesse Owens and the Berlin Olympics of 1936

    On August 3, 1936, at the Olympic Games in Nazi run Berlin, Germany, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and the long jump. He managed to break or equal nine Olympic records while setting three world records. At the time, Adolf Hitler hoped that the 1936 Berlin Games would further enforce his theory of Aryan racial superiority however, Owens’ achievements challenged the Nazi party and similar ideals back home.

  • 1944

    G.I. Bill increases number of African Americans in college (but more benefits to White population).

  • 1948

    Segregation of U.S. armed forces ends.

  • 1950s

    Urban renewal & highway construction (→ isolated, displaced, & impoverished urban minorites).

  • Nobel Peace Prize of 1950

    In 1950, Ralph Bunche became the first African American man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the prize after arranging a cease-fire between Israelis and Arabs during the war which followed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 for the United Nations. Previously Bunche was the first African American to hold a top job in the US State Department during World. Additionally he was a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and Howard University, along with serving as a member of the New York City Board of Education.

  • 1952

    First year in 70 years with no reported lynching.

  • 1954

    Brown v. Board of Education (Supreme Court case that paved the way for school integration).

  • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (December 1955)

    Rosa Parks became nationally recognized as the “mother of the modern day civil rights movement” in America after her refusal to give up her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955. Parks’ actions triggered a wave of protests throughout the United States which promoted the boycott of city buses.

  • 1955

    Emmett Till killed, age 14.

    Murdered for "whistling" at a White woman.

  • 1958

    Land acquisition finalized for Interstate-94 construction, which led to the eventual displacement and destruction of the entire historic Rondo neighborhood - the largest African-American neighborhood in St. Paul.

  • 1950s / 1960s

    Civil Rights Movement, including Bus Boycott (1955 - 1956) and March on Montgomery(1965).

  • 1960s

    Desegregation efforts (and pushback).

  • 1964

    Civil Rights Act (outlaw race/sex discrimination - in voter registration, workplace, public spaces).

  • ThurgoodMarshall (1967)

    Thurgood Marshall became the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court on August 30, 1967. Marshall spent the entirety of his life battling for civil rights after graduating from Howard Law School, serving as the Chief Counsel for the NAACP as well as a lawyer. Marshall was first promoted in 1954 by President John F. Kennedy to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and later was appointed to the office of U.S. Solicitor General by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government, representing and winning more cases before the United States Supreme Court than any other American.

  • 1968

    Fair Housing Act - Protections against seller/landlord discrimination.

  • 1968

    MLK Assassinated.

  • 1970

    The Bluest Eye- Provides an extended depiction of the ways in which internalized white beauty standards deform the lives of African American girls and women. It also serves as a representation of society’s perception of beauty and the idealization of white beauty standards. A recurring theme; superiority, power, and virtue are associated with beauty, which is inherent in whiteness due to white beauty standards being perpetuated by visual images in the media.

  • 1972

    Tuskegee Syphilis experiment ends (exploited African Americans as test subjects).

  • 1980s

    Crack cocaine brought into inner cities.

    War on Drugs(racial disparities, mass incarceration).

  • Guion Stewart Bluford Jr.

    Guion Stewart Bluford Jr. is an American aerospace engineer, retired U.S. Air Force officer and fighter pilot, and former NASA astronaut, who became the first African American in space. Bluford Jr. participated in four Space Shuttle flights between 1983 and 1992. In 1983, as a crew member of the Challenger on the mission STS-8 he became the first African American in space as well as the second person of African ancestry in space, after Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez.

  • Miss America 1983

    On September 17, 1983, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the first African American Miss America was crowned. At the age of 20, Venessa Williams of New York had won America's foremost beauty pageant.

  • 1984

    Completion of Interstate-94 construction from Brooklyn Center through North Minneapolis, which primarily went through African-American neighborhoods.

  • CEO of Fortune 500 Company

    In 1987, Dr. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. became the Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, distinguishing him as the first black CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Wharton Jr. was also the first African American accepted into the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University earning an MA in 1948. After serving as the Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF Wharton Jr. became the Deputy Secretary of State during President Bill Clinton's administration.

  • 1990s Onward

    Urban Gentrification increased, displacing African American population.

  • 1991

    Rodney King- A video showed 3 L.A. police officers (as their supervisor watched) kicking, stomping on, and beating with metal batons a seemingly defenseless African-American named Rodney King. Despite the videotape, a jury concluded a year later that the evidence was not sufficient to convict the officers. Within hours of the jury's verdict, Los Angeles erupted in riots. When it was over, 54 people had lost their lives, over 7,000 people had been arrested, and millions of dollars’ worth of property had been destroyed.

  • Nobel Prize for Literature 1993

    On October 7, 1993 Toni Morrison became the first African American to win the Nobel Prize for literature. The organization stated that Morrison gave life to an essential aspect of American reality through her writing, specifically her books: the Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved. Besides writing Toni Morrison has studied and taught English at several Universities, including Howard University and Princeton.p>

  • 1996

    Pres. Clinton's Person Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act(reforms aimed at reducing dependence on welfare).

  • 1997 : October 25

    Thousands of African American women participated in the Million Woman March in Philadelphia, focusing on health care, education, and self-help.

  • 1998 : January 15

    Civil rights veteran James Farmer was one of 15 men and women awarded the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton. Born in Marshall, Texas, he was the national director of the Congress of Racial Equality during the 1960s and was one of the most influential leaders of the civil rights movement throughout its most turbulent decade.

  • 1998 : January 18

    Now an annual observance, the New York Stock Exchange closed, for the first time, in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Ruth Simmons

    In 2001, Ruth Simmons made history when she became the first African American president of an Ivy League university, as well as Brown University’s first female president. Previously she had served as the first African American female president of a major college or university when she became president of Smith College in 1995.

  • 2001

    Colin Powell becomes the first African American U.S. Secretary of State.

  • 2005

    Condoleezza Rice becomes the first black female U.S. Secretary of State.

  • 2008

    Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat from Chicago, becomes the first African American to be nominated as a major party nominee for president. On November 4, Barack Obama, becomes the first African American to be elected president of the United States, defeating Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain.

  • 2012

    Trayvon Martin- A 17-year-old unarmed African American high school student was fatally shot by George Zimmerman during an altercation in their gated community. Although Zimmerman was charged with murder, he was acquitted at the trial on self-defense grounds.

  • 2012

    Black Lives Matter- The civil-rights group/movement was started with a hashtag in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The organization has branched out with chapters in 31 cities and has grown into a social juggernaut. It has changed the way people talk about police brutality and racial inequities via rallies, boycotts and other actions across the United States.

  • 2014

    On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by Darren Wilson. On Nov. 24, the grand jury decision to not indict Wilson was announced, sparking protests in Ferguson and cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

  • 2014

    The protests continued to spread throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decided in December not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by Pantaleo in July.

  • 2014

    Flint Water Crisis (lead).

  • Loretta Lynch (2015)

    Loretta Lynch was the first African American Woman, the second woman, and the second African American, named U.S. attorney general in 2015. The Harvard grad previously she held the position for the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York under both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

  • 2015

    Jamar Clark shot by Minneapolis police.

  • 2016

    Philando Castile shot by St. Anthony police officer.

  • Rio Olympics

    Allyson Felix managed to become the only track-and-field athlete ever to win six Olympic gold medals. At the 2016 Rio Olympics Felix took the title, along with being the most decorated woman in U.S. track and field history with a total of nine olympic medals, surpassing former Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

  • Rio Olympics

    Simone Biles became the first African American and woman to bring home four Olympic gold medals in women’s gymnastics at a single game along with a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is the most decorated American gymnast after winning a combined 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. The Associated Press recently named her 2016 Female Athlete of the Year.

  • 1452

    Pope Nicholas V authorizes Portugal to "attack, conquer, and subjugate...pagans and other enemies of Christ wherever they may be found," facilitating slave trade.

  • 1492

    Columbus lands in the Americas

  • 1493

    Pope divides Americas between Spain and Portugal(Pope Alexander VI's inter caetera)

    DISEASE, CONFLICT, DISPLACEMENT devastate Native American population

  • 1621

    American Indians share food and knowledge(re: farming, navigation, medicinal plants) to help Puritan English settlers survive their first years

  • Tisquantum (renamed Squanto)

    Tisquantum was a Native American from the Patuxet tribe who aided the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony. Tisquantum taught the colony how to survive during New England's harsh winters, speaking to them in English he had learned as a harbored slave in Europe.

  • 1713

    Massacre of 950 Tuscarora Native Americans in NC(one of deadliest out of many massacres and conflicts)

  • Pontiac’s Rebellion of 1763

    After the end of the French and Indian Wars of the early 1760s, Native Americans living in former French territory found problems with the new British authorities. In 1762, Ottawa Chief Pontiac enlisted the support from a majority of other Indian tribes around the Lake Superior to lower Mississippi regions in a campaign to expel the British from the previously French land.

  • Sequoyah and the Sequoyan Syllabary

    Cherokee family tradition states that Sequoyah was born between 1760 and 1765 west of the Chilhowee Mountain,eight miles from Echota, the capital of the Old Cherokee Nation. Sequoyah the silversmith was credited for inventing the Cherokee Syllabary. His daughter A-Yo-Ka became the first literate student of the invention however, both Sequoyah and A-Yo-Ka were charged with witchcraft. After proving themselves innocent, the Cherokee Nation adopted the Syllabary and within a few months a large part of the Nation had achieved literacy.

  • 1789

    US Constitution excludes Native Americans from citizenship

  • 1823

    Johnson v. McIntosh(private citizens cannot purchase land from Native Americans)

  • 1824

    Bureau of Indian Affairs established to "civilize" Native Americans

  • Elias Boudinot

    Elia Boudinot, born Gallegina Uwati, was a member of a prominent family of the Cherokee Nation, he was an influential voice during the period of removal to Indian Territory. In 1828 Boudinot became the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first Native American newspaper that published in both Cherokee and English. The newspaper looked to showcase Cherokee achievements as well as to build unity during the Indian Removal. Before his heavy involvement in politics, Boudinot was the president of the American Bible Society and former member and president of the Second Continental Congress.

  • 1830

    Indian Removal Act (allowed Pres. Jackson to grant tribes land West of the Mississippi River in exchange for their land in southern states; paved way for later forced removal).

  • 1831

    Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (case not heard because Cherokees = "dependent" ward of US gov't → makes them vulnerable to forced relocation)

  • 1832

    Worcester v. Georgia - Ruling (for Cherokee sovereignty, IRA unconstitutional) ignored by President Jackson, who expelled Cherokee nation

  • 1830's

    Trail of Tears, and displacement of nearly 100,000 Native Americans

  • September 9th, 1862

    "Our course then is plain. The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of Minnesota." -Governer Alexander Ramsey to a special session of the Minnesota legislature

  • 1862

    Homestead Act (50 Million acres distributed cheaply to white settlers, 100 million acres free to railroad companies)

  • 1862

    US-Dakota War. 38 Dakota hanged for alleged civilian killing/assault (largest mass execution in US history). 130-300 Dakota die during winter in concentration camp near Ft. Snelling

  • Matilda Joslyn Gage

    During the 1870s Gage wrote a series of controversial articles decrying the brutal and unjust treatment of Native Americans. Although Gage was not born a Native American, she was adopted into the wolf clan of the Mohawk Nation. Not only was Gage an activist for Native American rights, she was an abolitionist, suffragist, and author. She co-authored the “Declaration of Rights” and was an officer of the New York State Suffrage Association.

  • 1871

    Indian Appropriation Act (no more treaties with Native American tribes; no longer treated as independent, soverign nations)

  • Sarah Winnemucc

    In 1879, Sarah Winnemucca a Paiute from Nevada and daughter of Chief Winnemucca gave series of lectures in San Francisco and Sacramento on the treatment of Native Americans by the Indian Service. Five years later her autobiography Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims was published. Winnemucca then began to travel throughout the country giving lectures on the contentions in Indian country, often discussing the government's mismanagement of Indian affairs.

  • 1879

    Carlisle Indian School (first of the Native American boarding schools founded)

  • Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (1889)

    Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first person to receive federal aid for a professional education, and became the first Native American woman in the United States to receive a medical degree in 1889. Her father Chief Joseph La Flesche or Iron Eyes of the Omaha Reservation in northeastern Nebraska encouraged his family and people to seek education along with relationships outside of the Reservation community. With strong familial encouragement Picotte attended the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She would later go on to serve more than 1,300 people over 450 square miles, giving financial advice and resolving family disputes as well as providing medical care.

  • Late 1800s - early 1900s

    Boarding Schools (Assimilation, English only, Euro-American culture. "Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.")

  • 1883 - 1886

    (Ex Parte Crow Dog, Major Crimes Act, US v. Kagama) Laws/court rulings limit tribal soveriegnty, gave state/federal government more power over Native Americans

  • Charles Curtis

    Charles Curtis was born January 25, 1860 to a Native Mother and White Father and was the first mixed-raced candidate to have won on a presidential ticket. After his mother died in 1863, Curtis lived on the Kaw Reservation with his maternal grandmother for the next five years and his paternal grandmother in Topeka for the rest of his childhood. Charles Curtis rose to national prominence with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1892, a position he would hold for the next eight terms. He served on the House Ways and Means Committee and Committee on Indian Affairs and Public Lands as well as holding a Senate seat in 1914. In 1925, Curtis was elected Majority leader for the Republican Party. At the 1928 Republican convention Curtis was nominated as Herbert Hoover’s vice presidential running mate, and the team was elected to one term from 1929 to 1933.

  • 1890

    300+ Lakota massacred at Wounded Knee

  • 1903

    Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock gives Congress power to void treaty obligations to tribes

  • Maria Martinez

    Maria Martinez of Tewa heritage of the San Ildefonso Pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico is a world-renowned artist known for her Pueblo black-on-black style pottery. In 1908 when Dr. Edgar Hewett, a New Mexico archeologist and director of the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe had excavated from 17th century black pottery shards and was in need of an artist to revive the art, Hewett was led to Maria. Through trial and error, Maria rediscovered the art of making black pottery, collaborating with her husband Julian who assisted in painting the final products. Martinez’s became an internationally known artist when her first exhibition was held in 1920 at the New Mexico Museum of Art.

  • Jim Thorpe (Wa-Tho-Huk)

    Jim Thorpe was an American athlete and Olympic gold medalist. A member of the Sac and Fox Nations, Thorpe became the first Native American to win a gold medal for his home country. Thorpe is considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports, winning the Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, playing collegiate football, along with professional football, baseball, and basketball. Although he lost his Olympic titles after violating the amateurism rules for playing two plaid seasons of semi-professional baseball, Thorpe continued to thrive throughout his athletic career. He was awarded All-American honors in both 1911 and 1912 from NCAA for football, following his diverse collegiate career, from 1913 to 1919 Thorpe signed with the professional baseball team the New York Giants. During that time, he joined the Canton Bulldogs American football team in 1915, helping them win three professional championships. Thorpe then later continued to play for six different teams in the American Professional Football Association (APFA) which would later become the NFL.

  • 1924

    The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (right to vote for some)

  • Will Rogers

    William Penn Adair Rogers was born in 1879 to two part Cherokee parents at their Ranch in Oologah, Indian Territory, located in modern day Oklahoma. While growing up on the family ranch, Rogers worked with cattle and learned to ride and lasso from a young age eventually turning the skill into a career. Rogers became best known as an actor, a Vaudevillian performer, a social commentator, a comedian, and a presidential candidate for the “Anti Bunk Party” in 1928. Throughout his acting career, William starred in 71 films and several Broadway productions along with 4,000 syndicated columns and six books. In 1934, he was voted the most popular male actor in Hollywood.

  • 1928

    Meriam Reports finds US gov't failing to protect Native American people/land/culture

  • 1934

    Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) - "Indian New Deal" attempts to reserve damaging policies

  • 1934

    Johnson-O'Malley Act funds education, medical, and other services

  • Navajo Code Talkers

    The Navajo Code Talkers were a small group of Chippewas and Oneidas who became a part of the radio communications 32nd Infantry Division during World War II. The group was able to utilize the complex and highly undocumented Navajo language to communicate messages overseas to multiple combat units without ever being decoded by German intelligence. Although code talking was pioneered by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians during World War I, the famous Navajo Code Talkers unit was increased drastically during World War II.

  • Elizabeth Marie Tallchief (Ki-He-Kah-Stah-Tsa)

    Elizabeth Marie Tallchief, was considered to be America’s first major prima ballerina from the 1940s to the 1960s. The daughter of an Osage Tribe member, she was a trailblazer for Native Americans in the world of ballet. In her early career Tallchief danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and in 1947 she became the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet, a position she held for the next thirteen years. She was the first American to dance with the Paris Opera Ballet and was a guest performer for the American Ballet Theatre. In 1996, Tallchief became one of the only five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors for their artistic contributions in the United States. That same year, she was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of fame and awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artist by the U.S. government.

  • 1948

    Right to vote in all 50 states (last state laws against it are overturned)

  • 1953

    HCR-108 begins termination policy (revoke federal recognition/responsibility and legal protections) to integrate Native Americans into the rest of mainstream US society

  • Billy Mills

    Billy Mills is an Oglala Lakota Olympic gold medalist and the national spokesperson for Running Strong. Mills was born on June 30, 1938 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.Surrounded by poverty and orphaned at the age of 12, he started running. He earned a track scholarship from the University of Kansas and then served as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. At the 1964 Olympics, he shocked the world by setting a world record to win the gold medal in the 10k race. Mills is still the only American to ever win a gold medal in the 10k event. In an effort to give back to his community, Billy helped found Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Mills visits Native American communities throughout the U.S. and speaks to youth about healthy lifestyles and taking pride in their heritage. In 2012 he was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal the second highest civilian award in the United States for his work with Running Strong.

  • 1968

    Indian Civil Rights Act - Extends most of Bill of Rights to Native Americans(some parts not included so as not to interfere with tribal governments)

  • 1969

    Kennedy Report on Education (Finds that past coercive assimilation = disaster for Native American children)

  • Fred Begay

    Fred Begay is a Navajo scientists with a degree in nuclear physics. Begay has had experience on NASA’s high-energy gamma ray project, teaching fellowships at Stanford University and the University of Maryland, and a tenure of nearly 30 years in LANL’s laser program; where he worked in the area of thermonuclear fusion since 1971.

  • Vine Deloria Jr.

    Vine Deloria Jr. was an author whose works promoted Native American culture and history. Deloria wrote over twenty books in his lifetime, his most famous being Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian manifesto in 1969. Deloria received many high honors such as Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year Award for his work Spirit and Reason in 1999, the Wallace Stegner award from the Center of the American West in 2002, as well as the American Indian Festival of Words Author Award in 2003.

  • Sacheen Littlefeather and the 1973 Oscars

    In 1973, american actress Sacheen Littlefeather of White Mountain Apache and Yaqui descent refused Marlon Brando’s Oscar for his role in The Godfather in front of millions of viewers. On Brando’s behalf, she used the opportunity to make a political statement decrying the stereotyping of Native Americans in movies and TV, while also encouraging the support of American Indian Movement activists at Wounded Knee S.D.

  • Jerry Chris High Eagle Elliott

    Jerry Chris High Eagle Elliott of Cherokee and Osage descent works as a scientist and engineer at NASA since 1966. First entering the program as a FLight Mission Operations Engineer at NASA’s Mission Control Center, Elliott has held progressively responsible technical and managerial positions with highly successful accomplishments in the fields of spacecraft systems, configuration design, mathematical analysis, mission operations, and scientific experiments. He has served as Staff Engineer at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. on the Apollo/Soyuz Program Office, with partial duties dedicated to onboard spacecraft and ground crew mission operations, requirements and scientific experiments for the world first Russian-American space mission. Elliott was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, for duties as Retrofire Officer at NASA Mission Control Center during the the aborted Apollo 13 space mission in 1970, where he computed the spacecraft trajectory to enable the flight crew's safe return to earth, along with many other honors. Jerry Elliott continues to hold high ranking positions currently at NASA.

  • 1975

    Self-Determination Act (reversed previous policy of termination; gives funds and greater control to tribes)

  • 1978

    Indian Child Welfare Act(ICWA) to address high removal of Native American children from homes and reservations

  • Winona LaDuke

    Winona LaDuke is a modern day activist, author, and politician from the Ojibwe Tribe. Upon graduating from Harvard with a degree in native economic development, LaDuke moved to White Earth Reservation located in northern Minnesota. After arriving to the White Earth Reservation in 1982, LaDuke became involved in a lawsuit to recover lands stolen from the Anishinaabekwe people. In 1989 she founded WELRP, or the White Earth Land Recovery Project with the main goal of recovering and buying back the ancestral lands of the Ojibwe people that was taken by the United States government. LaDuke also founded the Indigenous Women’s Network, which took part in the United Nations COnference on the Status of Women in China. She is also the program director of the Seventh Generation fund, and organization that advocated on behalf of Native Americans and the environment. Winona LaDuke is also a political advocate for many minority groups along with being a published writer.

  • 1985

    MN Indian Family Preservation Act(MIFPA) strengthens/expands ICWA

  • 1990

    Native American Languages Act - This Congressional Act made it US policy to "preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages." Today, many Native American languages have been lost; less than 100 languages currently are spoken by Natives.

  • 1990

    Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) - The Congressional Act is intended to promote Indian artwork and handicraft businesses, reduce foreign an counterfeit product competition, and stop deceptive marketing practices.

  • 1990

    Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act - This Congressional Act required all institutions that receive federal funds to inventory their collections of Native human remains and artifacts, make their lists available to Native tribes, and return any items requested by the tribes.

  • Dave W. Anderson

    David W. Anderson is best known as the founder of the Famous Dave’s restaurant chain. The chain encompasses 200 locations across the globe since the original opened in 1994. Anderson’s dad is Choctaw Indian from Oklahoma while his mom is from the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe tribe from Wisconson.

  • 1994

    American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Amendments - This Congressional Act protected the rights of American Indians to use peyote in traditional religious ceremonies.

  • Oren Lyons

    Oren Lyons is a faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Council of Chiefs, and Haudenosaunee. He has been active in international Indigenous rights and sovereignty issues for over four decades at the United Nations and other international forums. Lyons has traveled the world advocating for environmental justice and treaty recognitions neglected by the U.S. government. He co-founded and serves the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth with the American Indian Institute at Bozeman, Montana and the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse program. He is chairman of the board of directors of Honoring Nation, the Harvard program for Native American economic development. Lyons is also the chairman of the board of directors of Plantagon International AB, the leaders in urban agriculture that is designed to meet challenges of compounding human population, finite resources and global warming.

  • 1996

    National American Indian Heritage Month - President Clinton declared November of each year to be National American Indian Heritage Month.

  • Ryneldi Becenti

    Ryneldi Becenti was a Navajo American professional basketball player to become the first Native American to play in the WNBA when she was signed to the Phoenix Mercury in 1997. Becenti was an All-Pac 10 First Team selection both her seasons at Arizona State University, and a two time All American honorable mention honoree. She went on to play professional basketball before being signed as a free agent in the WNBA. In 1996, she became the first and only woman to be inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame; in 2013 she was also the first women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired by ASU.

  • Chris Eyre

    Chris Eyre of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, is an American film director and producer. His breakout film Smoke Signals (1998) won the Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers Trophy and Audience Award, as well as Best Film honors at the 1998 American Indian Film Festival. In 2006, Eyre won the Directors Guild of America’s award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for his Edge of America, becoming the first Native American to win the award. Chris Eyre has dedicated his film career to give alternative stories of indigenous people to the American public, broadening the horizon for Native film.

  • 1999

    Shannon County, South Dakota, home of the Oglala Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation is identified as the poorest place in the country. About 22% of our country’s Native Americans live on tribal lands. Living conditions on the reservations have been cited as “comparable to Third World”. The overall number of Native Americans living below the federal poverty line is 28.25 (2008, American Indians Census Facts).

  • Jaime Luis Gomez

    Jaime Luis Gomez or better known by his stage name Taboo, is a Mexican American and Native American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and DJ, who is best known as a member of the hip hop group the Black Eyed Peas. Gomez is part Shoshone Indian, who has more recently used his platform to address Indigenous Rights.

  • Sherman Alexie

    Sherman Alexie is a preeminent Native American poet, novelist, performer and filmmaker. A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene tribal member, Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Alexie is well known for his poems and short stories of contemporary Native American reservation life including The Business of Fancydancing, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven, Smoke Signals, and his semi-autobiographical young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian which received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007. Alexie won the PEN/Hemingway Award, named to Granta’s Best Young American Novelist list in 1996, the 2009 Mason Award, the 2008 Stranger Genius Award, a Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, numerous honorary degrees and held the World Heavyweight Poetry title for four years.

  • 2010

    Tribal Law & Order Act (greater power for tribal courts; can increase sentences)

  • Stephen M. Mills

    Stephen M. Mills is the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of AQIWO. Inc. AQIWO is an award winning provider of expert professional technical and technical services in the fields of nuclear forensics/logistics and full lifecycle information technology support based in Virginia. AQIWO client services have been selected by both civilian and defense based U.S. Government organization as well as several global private sector firms. Although AQIWO has many engagements with government clients, Stephen has also operated in international circles. Specifically, he has conducted high-profile business engagement supporting U.S. Government interests in the Russian Federation, as well as living conducting business in Spain and Thailand. As a Native American Chumash of North Central California, he is an advocate for Native American affairs and Commerce, as well as being the model for Native American entrepreneurs.

  • Lolo Jones

    Lori Susan “Lolo” Jones is a Cherokee and Chippewa American hurdler and bobsledder who specializes in the 60 meter and 100 meter hurdles. She won three NCAA titles along with eleven All-American honors while attending Louisiana State University. She is the American record holder in the 60m hurdles and has won four gold and one silver medal in different races while representing the U.S. Jones also competes as a brakewoman on the U.S. national bobsled team, making her one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

  • April 2015

    A Nation’s Neglect, a four-part series released by Star Tribune illustrates the lack of funding for Native schools and reservations. The series goes into painful detail about the everyday struggles that Native American youth face to receive an education, making parallels to war torn countries.

  • 2015

    Feeding Ourselves Report: Explores the complex historical and contemporary challenges to Native American healthy food access, childhood obesity, and health disparities. This report encourages its readers to take the first step toward a solution – becoming aware of the problem of Native health disparities and its deep interconnections to U.S. Indian policy, poverty, historical trauma and food systems.

  • 2015

    UND Fighting Sioux name changed to Fighting Hawks

  • 2016

    Native Americans from across the country gather at Standing Rock, ND to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The DAPL would run underneath Lake Oache, where the Standing Rock tribe gathers water not only for drink but for sacred religious rituals as well.

  • 1691

    First legal use of "White" indentured servants in America include White, African American, Native American. None were in perpetual slavery at first.

  • 1789

    US Constitution enshrines rights of White male landowners (excludes indigenous and African people and women)

  • 1790

    Naturalization Act of 1790. Ban non-White immigrants from citizenship, thus preventing them from voting, owning land (state/territory laws restricted ownership to citizens; land was main way to earn money and pass along as inheritance)

  • 1800s

    Manifest Destiny - idea used to justify US expansion

  • 1830s

    Indian Removal Act and displacement makes 25+ million acres of land available for White settlers.

  • 1854

    The People v. Hall. Non-Whites are barred from testifying in court against Whites.

  • 1858

    Minnesota Statehood

  • 1862

    Washington DC Emancipation Proclaimation - Slaves are freed in DC, but the former slaveowners are paid over $1 million for "lost property." No reparations for slaves/descendants.

  • 1862

    Homestead Act. 50 million acres of former Native American land in the West, taken by US soldiers, is distributed at low cost to white settlers only. 100 million acres given for free to railroad companies.

  • 1870

    15th Amendment. Non-White men gain the right to vote. Voting had been restricted to property-holders until states began changing policies between 1792-1856.

  • 1869

    Plessy v. Ferguson decision enforces the "separate but equal" doctrine

  • 1800s - early 1900s

    Non-Anglo European immigrants face discrimination (e.g. Irish, Italian, Polish); decrease over time with assimilation

  • 1920

    19th Amendment - Right to vote cannot be denied based on sex.

  • 1924

    Johnson Reed Act - immigration quotas imposed, favoring "Nordics" over the "inferior" races of Asia and Southern/Eastern Europe

  • 1930s

    New Deal legislation benefits White Americans more than others

  • 1934

    Federal Housing Authority established to give loans/subsidies for home ownership(→wealth). "Red-lining":FHA standards discriminate against non-White people and neighborhoods. Of $120 billion in loans from 1934-1962, 98% went to Whites.

  • 1935

    Social Security Act excludes agricultural/domestic workers, leaving out majority of African American workers

  • 1935

    Wagner Act gives collective bargaining power to unions (helps White workers enter middle class; permits exclusion and discrimination against non-whites...many craft unions overwhelmingly White until 1970s)

  • 1944

    G.I. Bill disproportionately helps White veterans with loans, college tuition (fewer than 100 of first 67,000 mortgages to non-Whites)

  • 1950s

    "White Flight" to suburbs(concentrates wealth & White population)

  • 1952

    McCarran-Walter Act removes racial barriers to naturalized US citizenship (White racial preference in immigration remains until 1965)

  • 1960s - present

    Affirmative Action

  • 1960s

    2nd Wave Feminism mainly helps straight White women

  • 1960s

    Assassination of African American leaders including MLK; as well as Robert Kennedy

  • 1971

    Nixon's War on Drugs disproportionately targets people of color, a process that continues today. (e.g. Sentencing for crack v. cocaine → race disparities)

  • 1988

    David Duke(former KKK Grand Wizard) runs for President

  • 1990s

    3rd Wave Feminism → more focus on Non-White women

  • 1990s on

    Erosion of affirmatinve action through lawsuits brought by White plaintiffs

  • 1996

    Birth of Fox News

  • 2008

    Barrack Obama elected (all 43 previous presidents were White)

  • 2010s

    Voter restrictions disproportionately affect poor & nonwhite citizens (IDs, voting days - despite lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud).

  • 2016

    Supreme Court upholds affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas)

Childhood trauma isn't something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.