50,000–5,000: B.C. Lithic or Paleo-Indian period
Migratory big game hunting and chipped stone artifacts–Indians already dispersed throughout the Americas (Waldman, 1985).
Before 1492: Precontact Period
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, estimates of between 5 and 10 million population in North America.
1769–1834: Missionary Period in California
Indians were forced into slave labor at Spanish Missions. The California Indian population declined by 72% (Heizer and Whipple, 1971).
1778: First US and Indian Treaty
Treaty between the Delaware Indians and the United States.
1787: The Northwest Ordinance
Ratified by Congress in 1789, declared:
“The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their land and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their property rights, and liberty, they never shall be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.”
Result: Acknowledged the sovereign integrity of Indian tribes.