Corporate Indian Tribes


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Corporate Indian Tribes

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Corporate Indian Tribes

  1. 1. 6 The Rights of Indians and Tribes A History of Federal Indian Policy 7 ished. Although Congress extended United States citizenship Secretary of the Interior to give Indians a preference in employ- to all Indians in 1924,20 this did little or nothing to improve ment within the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This way, Indians their situation. would have some influence in administering, if not in formulat- ing, federal Indian policy. Between 1935 and 1953 Indian landholdings increased by E. 1934-53: INDIAN REORGANIZATION over two million acres, and federal funds were spent for on- reservation health facilities, irrigation works, roads, homes, In the early 1930s federal Indian policy abruptly changed and community schools. Unfortunately, the onset of World and a more humane and considerate approach was adopted. A War II diverted the federal governments attention to other number of factors precipitated the change. For one thing, the problems, and Indian economic well-being once again began onset of the Great Depression all but eliminated the desire of to decline. A IS 0 o~ ;feJ..c..d Zt-. ~ra.-.r ro UJ o-Y :r, whites to obtain additional Indian lands. It also had become widely recognized that the General Allotment Act was very :aL . L...t..,.. l! J L.l W harmful to the Indians, disrupting their reservations, their, F. 1953-68: TERMINATION culture, and their well-being. Mounting public criticism of the federal governments Indian policies encouraged President During the 1950s Congress made another abrupt change in Franklin D. Roosevelt to make some radical changes. 21 policy, abandoning the goals of the Indian Reorganization Act In 1933 John Collier was appointed by Roosevelt as Commis- nnd ending its efforts to improve Indian economic life. The new sioner of Indian Affairs. Collier, who had been personally in- policy Congress adopted brought Indian tribes to the brink of volved in the Indian reform movement for more than a decade, economic coIlapse. This new policy was called termination. the declared in 1934: "No interference with Indian religious life or termination of federal benefits and support services to certain expression will hereafter be tolerated. The cultural history of Indian tribes and the forced dissolution of their reservations. 25 Indians is in all respects to be considered equal to that of any In 1953 Congress adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. non-Indian group."22 108,which declared that federal benefits and services to various In June 1934 Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act Indian tribes should be ended "at the earliest possible time." (IRA),23also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act. The eXQress III the decade that followed, Congress terminated its assistance !Posef.the IRA was to rehabilitate the Indians economic o tll over one hundred tribes. Each of these tribes was ordered :fif8 i e nd to give him a chance 0 eve op t e initiative destroyed oppression an d paterna I uy a century 0I oooressi L Ism. "24 to distribute its land and property to its members and to dis- ~:()Ive government. its Tho mA not only prohibited the further allotment of tribal In an effort to reduce federal responsibility even further, land to individual Indians, it also authorized the Secretary of Congress passed Public Law 83-280,26 generally known as P.L. the Interior to add lauds 1:0 x.isling reservations, to create :lHO. This statute conferred upon certain designated states full new reservations 1111 lalldkss tribes, and to restore to tribal lliminal and some civil jurisdiction over Indian reservations ownership any land lllUl had been removed as surplus under uud consented to the assumption of such jurisdiction by any the General Allotment Ad ullci 1101 as yet sold to non-Indians, ,ulditional state that chose to accept it. State governments had Indian tribes w re ellc()ur:l~ed to adopt their own constitutions, long resented the notion of tribal sovereignty and had made~ to become fedclnl1 chartered corporations, and to assert their repeated efforts to gain control over Indian resources and peo- in loron vowers 0 oea se-~.ovc.rnment. I ie act established. ple. P.L. 280 thus gave powers and responsibilities to the a $l() million revolving credit fund from which loans could fillltes-the traditional enemy ofIndian tribes-that previously be modo to incorporated tribes. Finally, the act require t e hod been assumed by the federal government.