"The Homestead Act, signed on May 18, 1862, allowed immigrants to homestead on public land for a small fee. This “public land” was actually land that belonged to the indigenous. In August of 1862, the Dakota War began, and ended on December 26 th of the same year with the order to execute the 38 captured warriors, known as the Dakota 38 + 2. It was Abraham Lincoln who sanctioned the largest mass execution in the United States. A few days later, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863.
However, Emancipation did not guarantee freedom for the Africans. Lynching became the way that the newly freed realized that they were not free. At the same time, free Africans generally could not take advantage of the Homestead Act; the Act simultaneously allowed arriving immigrants the opportunity to settle on indigenous land while preventing freed Africans from even considering freedom west of the Mississippi. Black codes or vagrancy laws enacted at the time meant Black men that were arrested for minor infractions and convicted were then committed to involuntary labor. In essence, these laws were used to maintain a steady supply of free labor.
This Land is contested."
--LaDonna Redmond, "Land Justice: Re-Imagining Land, Food, and the Commons"