Lone Wolf vs. Hickcock
Supreme Court decision - The
Comanche sued the Secretary of the Interior to stop the
transfer of their lands without consent of tribal members which
violated the promises made in the 1867 Treaty of Medicine Lodge. The
Court ruled that the trust relationship served as a source of power
for Congress to take action on tribal land held under the terms of a
treaty. Thus, Congress could, by statute, abrogate the provisions of
an Indian treaty. Further, Congress had a plenary - or absolute -
power over tribal relations.
Antiquities Act - This
Congressional Act declared that Indian bones and objects found on federal land were the property
of the United States.
Burke Act - This act amended
the Dawes Act to give the secretary of the interior the power to
remove allotments from trust before the time set by the Dawes Act,
by declaring that the holders had "adopted the habits of civilized
life." This act also changed the point at which the government would
award citizenship from the granting of the allotment to the granting
of the title.
- Congress established the State of Oklahoma
by merging Oklahoma
Territory. The former Indian Territory was opened to additional non-Indian
Winters v. United States
Supreme Court decision. Indians from the Fort Belknap reservation in
sued to prevent a white settler from damming the Milk River and
diverting water from their reservation. The Court found that when
Congress created reservations, it did so with the implicit intention
Indians should have enough water to live. Thus,
Indians had federally reserved and protected water rights.
Act to Provide for Determining the
Heirs of Deceased
Indians ("and other purposes"). This act altered the Dawes
Act by dealing with inheritance and leasing of allotments and with
the allotment of land that could be used for irrigated farming,
among many other things.
American Indians - The Society was the first step in the
direction of pan-Indian
unity - was established and managed exclusively by American Indians, most of whom were well-known in non-Indian
society and well-educated. Although members favored assimilation,
they also lobbied for many reform issues, especially improved health
care on reservations, citizenship, and a special court of claims for
US v. Sandoval Supreme Court
decision. The Court upheld the application of a federal
liquor-control law to the
Pueblos, even though Pueblo lands had never been designated by the
federal government as reservation land. The Court ruled that an
unbroken line of federal legislative, executive, and judicial
actions had "...attributed to the United States as a superior and
civilized nation the power and duty of exercising a fostering care
and protection over all dependent Indian communities within its borders..." Thus, once Congress
had begun to act in a guardian role toward the tribes, it was up to
Congress, not the courts, to determine when the state of wardship
World War I - When the US
entered the war, about 17,000 Indians served in the armed forces. Some
Indians, however, specifically resisted the draft because they
were not citizens and could not vote or because they felt it would
be an infringement of their tribal sovereignty. In 1919, Indian veterans of the war were granted citizenship.
Native American Church - This Indian church was organized in
to combine an ancient Indian practice - the use of peyote - with Christian beliefs of
morality and self-respect. The Church prohibits alcohol, requires
monogamy and family responsibility, and promotes hard work. By 1923,
14 states had outlawed the use of peyote and in 1940, the
tribal council banned it from the reservation. In1944, the Native
American Church of the United States was incorporated. Today, the Church continues to play an important role in the lives
of many Indian people.
Indian Citizenship Act - This Congressional Act extended
citizenship and voting rights to all American Indians. Some Indians, however, did not want to become US citizens, preferring
to maintain only their tribal membership.
Indian Health Division - Congress established the
Division to operate under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Meriam Report "The Problem of Indian Administration." - The report, commissioned
by the Department of Interior in 1926, focused on the poverty, ill
health, and despair that characterized many Indian communities. It
recommended reforms that would increase the BIA's efficiency, and
promote the social and economic advancement of
Indians: the termination of allotment and the phasing out of
Indian boarding schools.
Indian New Deal - The brainchild of BIA director John
Collier, the New Deal was an attempt to promote the revitalization
of Indian cultural, lingual, governmental, and spiritual
traditions. This blueprint for reform was written by non-Indians
who felt they knew how to champion Indian rights.
Johnson-O'Malley Act - This
Congressional Act stipulated that the federal government was to pay
states between 35 and 50 cents per day for Indian children enrolled in schools.
Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) -
The IRA was the centerpiece of the Indian New Deal. It encouraged
Indians to "recover" their
cultural heritage, prohibited new allotments and extended the trust
period for existing allotments, and sought to promote tribal
self-government by encouraging tribes to adopt constitutions and
form federally-chartered corporations. In order to take advantage of
IRA funding, tribes were required to adopt a U.S. style
constitution. Tribes were given two years to accept or reject
the IRA. Tribes who accepted it could then elect a tribal council.
174 tribes accepted it, 135 which drafted tribal constitutions.
However, 78 tribes rejected the IRA, most fearing the consequences
of even further federal direction.
World War II - During the
course of the war, about 25,000 American Indians served in the armed forces; another 40,000
Indian men and women were employed in wartime industries. Key among the
American Indians participating in WWII were the Navajo
Comanche Code Talkers.
On January 9, a U.S.
government press release said 40 percent more Native Americans have enlisted to fight in WWII than have been
drafted. Altogether, 25,000
served in the U.S. armed forces, including 800 women. In the
Philippines, a Choctaw scout escaped from the Japanese at the battle
of Corregidor, and led underground guerrilla forces until the war
ended. The Oneida,
Comanche blocked Japanese decoding of military information by
dispatching messages in their tribal languages. Navajo
Code Talkers were instrumental in the landing at Guadalcanal, where
they sent and received reports from field commanders.
Seminole Nation v. United
States. The Court held officials of the United States
were to be held to the "most exacting fiduciary standards" in
performing their duties toward American Indians. Thus, it "has charged itself with moral obligations of the highest
responsibility and trust" towards
American Indian Nations;
i.e., upholding the trust responsibility.
National Congress of
American Indians (NCAI) - About 100 Indian People met to create the nation's first large-scale
national organization designed to monitor federal policies. Today, over 250 member
tribes throughout the US work to secure for Indian People and their descendants the rights and benefits to
which they are entitled; to enlighten the public toward the better
understanding of Indian people; to preserve rights under Indian treaties or agreements with the United States; and to
promote the common welfare of the American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Indian Claims Commission Act - The Commission was created
to do away with tribal grievances over treaty enforcement, resource
management, and disputes between tribes and the US government.
Tribes were given five years to file a claim, during which them they
had to prove aboriginal title to the lands in question and then
bring suit for settlement. The Commission would then review the case
and assess the amount, if any, that was to be paid in compensation.
Until the Commission ended operations in 1978, it settled 285 cases
and paid more than $800 million in settlements.
Trujillo v. Garley
Supreme Court decision - In response to the allegation that many
states had successfully prohibited Indians from voting, the Court ruled that states were
required to grant Native Americans the right to vote.
Termination - Under House
Concurrent Resolution 108, the trust relationship with many
Indian tribes was terminated. Terminated tribes were then
subject to state laws and their lands were sold to non-Indians.
Eventually, Congress terminated over 100 tribes, most of which were
small and consisted of a few hundred members as most. The Menominee
of Wisconsin and the Klamath of
were exceptions with 3,270 and 2,133 members respectively.
Public Law 280 - This Congressional
law transferred jurisdiction over most tribal lands to state
and Wisconsin. Alaska was added in 1958. Additionally, it provided
that any other state could assume such jurisdiction by passing a law
or amending the state's constitution.
Relocation - In order to deal
with increasing unemployment among American Indians, the BIA enacted a new policy to persuade large
numbers of Indians to relocate into urban areas. Using the lure of job
training and housing, brochures depicting Indian families leading a middle-class life were distributed by
the BIA. While the initial response was enthusiastic, within
five years the relocation program was counted a failure, with 50
percent of the participants returning to their reservations. This was the first of many late 20th Century failures to
"mainstream" the Indian population.
Public Law 83-568 - This
Congressional law transferred responsibility for American Indians and Alaskan Natives' health care from the BIA
in the Department of Interior, to the Public Health Services within
the Department of Health and Human Services.
Indian Youth Council (NIYC) - This organization sought,
and still seeks, to resurrect a sense of national pride among young
Indian people and to instill an activist message -
Indians were no longer to bow their heads in humble obedience to
the BIA and other institutions of white society. Instead, they
were to look back to their own great cultural traditions and make
decisions about their lives based upon such traditions.
Vietnam War - At least 43,000
American Indians fought in the Vietnam War.
Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) - This Congressional Act
revised Public Law 280 by requiring states to obtain tribal consent
prior to extend any legal jurisdiction over an Indian reservation. It also gave most protections of the Bill of
Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to tribal members in dealings
with their tribal governments. ICRA also amended the Major Crimes
Act to include assault resulting in serious bodily harm.
American Indian Movement (AIM) - Shortly after the Minneapolis Anishinaabeg formed an "Indian
Patrol" to monitor police activities in Indian neighborhoods, AIM was co-founded by Dennis Banks. The new organization was comprised primarily of young urban
Indians who believed that direct and militant confrontation with
the US government was the only way to redress historical grievances
and to gain contemporary civil rights; and that the tribal
governments organized under the IRA (1934) were not truly legitimate
or grounded in traditional Indian ways. By the 1990s, AIM was still active in
Indian affairs, but was less involved in militant confrontation
of All Tribes" occupation of
- A group of young Indians seized the abandoned Alcatraz
Island in the San Francisco harbor. They issued a "Proclamation to
the Great White Father" in which they stated their claim that
Alcatraz was suitable as an
Indian Reservation and thus, should be converted into an Indian educational and cultural center. The Indians of All Tribes continued to occupy
until June, 1971.
Nixon's "Special Message on
Indian Affairs" - President Nixon delivered a speech to Congress
which denounced past federal policies, formally ended the
termination policy, and called for a new era of self-determination
for Indian peoples.
Trail of Broken Treaties -
Over 500 Indian activists traveled across the United States to
Washington, DC where they planned to meet with BIA officials and to
deliver a 20-point proposal for revamping the BIA and establishing a
government commission to review treaty violations. When guards at
the BIA informed the tribal members that Bureau officials would not
meet with them and threatened forcible removal from the premises,
the activists began a week-long siege of the BIA building. The BIA
finally agreed to review the 20 demands and to provide funds to
transport the activists back to their home. Shortly thereafter, the
FBI classified AIM as "an extremist organization" and added the
names of its leaders to the list of "key extremists" in the US.
Indian Education Act - This Congressional Act established
funding for special bilingual and bicultural programs, culturally
relevant teaching materials, and appropriate training and hiring of
counselors. It also created an Office of Indian Education in the US Department of Education.
Wounded Knee Occupation - At
the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala
trouble had been brewing between the Indian activists that supported AIM, and tribal leaders who had
the support of the BIA. After a violent confrontation in 1972,
tribal chair Richard Wilson condemned AIM and banned it from the
reservation. In February 1973, AIM leaders led by Russell Means and
about 200 activists who were supported by some Oglala traditional
leaders took over the village of Wounded Knee, announced the
creation of the Oglala Sioux
Nation, declared themselves independent from the United States, and
defined their national boundaries as those determined by the 1868
Laramie. The siege lasted 71 days, during which time
federal marshals, FBI agents, and armored vehicles surrounded the
village. AIM members finally agreed to end their occupation under
one condition - that the government convene a full investigation
into their demands and grievances.
Pine Ridge Reservation Shootout -
In June, two FBI agents entered the Pine Ridge Reservation
ostensibly looking for a tribal member on theft and assault charges. Shots were fired under confusing circumstances, resulting in the
death of the two agents and one AIM member. The violence that
ensued was coupled with the criminalization of the AIM movement, the
result of which was an undermining of the Indian movement for self-determination.
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act -
This Congressional Act recognized the obligation of the US
to provide for maximum participation by American Indians in Federal services to and programs in
Indian communities. It also established a goal to provide
education and services to permit Indian children to achieve, and declared a commitment to
maintain the Federal government's continuing trust relationship, and
responsibility to, individual Indians and tribes.
Council of Energy Resource Tribes
(CERT) - Leaders from over 20 tribes created CERT to help
Indians secure better terms from corporations that sought to
exploit valuable mineral resources on reservations.
Leonard Peltier Arrest - Two
years after the siege at Wounded Knee, conditions at the Pine Ridge
Reservation had deteriorated. AIM activists and supporters continued
to clash directly with tribal Chairman Wilson and his men. In 1975,
two FBI agents were killed and AIM activist Leonard Peltier was
arrested, tried, and convicted for the deaths. Sentenced to double
life imprisonment, Peltier's arrest and conviction are still the
subject of heated controversy among many American political
Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs (SCIA) - This Senate resolution
re-established the SCIA. The Committee was originally created in the
early nineteenth century, but disbanded in 1946 when Indian affairs legislative and oversight jurisdiction was vested
in subcommittees of the Interior and Insular Affairs Commission of
the House and Senate. The Committee became permanent in 1984. Its
jurisdiction includes studying the unique issues related to Indian and Hawaiian peoples and proposing legislation to deal
with such issues - issues which include but are not limited to
Indian education, economic development, trust responsibilities,
land management, health care, and claims against the US. government.
Report of the
American Indian Policy Review Commission - The
Commission, established in 1975, issued its report in which it
called for a firm rejection of assimilationist policies, increased
financial assistance to the tribes, and a reaffirmation of the
tribes' status as permanent, self-governing institutions.
Indian Child Welfare Act - This Congressional Act
addressed the widespread practice of transferring the care and
custody of Indian children to non-Indians.
It recognized the authority of tribal courts to hear the adoption
and guardianship cases of Indian children and established a strict set of statutory
guidelines for those cases heard in state court.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act - This
Congressional Act promised to "protect and preserve for
American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe,
express, and exercise" traditional religions, "including but not
limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects,
and the freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional
rites." Although the enactment seemed to recognize the importance of
traditional Indian religious practices, it contained no enforcement
Santa Clara v. Martinez Supreme
Court Decision - When a Santa Clara woman married a Navajo,
the tribal council denied her children membership in the Santa Clara
Pueblo based upon a 1939 tribal ordinance that denied membership to
children of women who married outside the tribe. The woman sued to
grant membership to her children. The Court held that Indian tribes are "distinct, independent political communities
retaining their original natural rights in matters of
self-government." In short, the Court held that the Court itself did
not have the right to interfere in tribal self-government issues
such as tribal membership.
US v. Wheeler Supreme Court Decision
- The Court considered the question of whether the power to
punish tribal offenders is "part of inherent tribal sovereignty, or
an aspect of the sovereignty of the Federal Government which has
been delegated to the tribes by Congress." He concluded: "The
sovereignty that the Indian tribes retain is of a unique and limited character. It
exists only at the sufferance of Congress and is subject to complete
defeasance. But until Congress acts, the tribes retain their
existing sovereign powers. In sum, Indian tribes still possess those aspects of sovereignty not
withdrawn by treaty or statute, or by implication as a necessary
result of their dependent status." In short, Indian nations were sovereign, but such sovereignty was limited
and subject to Congressional whim.
Federal Acknowledgment Project -
This Congressional Act established the Branch of Acknowledgment
and Research within the BIA to evaluate the claims of non-recognized
Indian tribes for Federal acknowledgement. The project created a
uniform process for reviewing acknowledgement claimants with widelly
varying backgrounds and histories. In 1994, the Project regulations
Tribe of Florida and Gaming - The
Seminole were the first tribe to enter into the bingo
gaming industry. Their endeavors encouraged other tribes to begin
gaming enterprises on reservations as a step towards greater
United States v.
Nation of Indians - U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Sioux
Indians were entitled to an award of $17.5 million, plus 5%
interest per year since 1877, totaling about $106 million in
compensation for the unjust taking of the
and in direct contravention of the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux
have refused to take the money and sits in a trust fund in
Washington, collecting interest.
July 9, 1981
The Lakota Times is first
Indian Mineral Development Act. This Congressional Act
encouraged Indian tribes to mine their lands in a manner that would help
them become economically self-sufficient.
Seminole Tribe v. Butterworth
Supreme Court Decision - The Court ruled that tribes have the right
to create gambling enterprises on their land, even if such
facilities are prohibited by the civil statutes of the state. The
ruling enabled reservations to establish casinos, as well as gave
reservations greater authority for tribal governments to levy taxes,
own assets, and create judiciaries.
California v. Cabazon Supreme Court Decision - The
Cabazon tribe in Southern California operated a high stakes bingo game and card club on
reservation lands. The State claimed that it had the legal authority
to prohibit such activities on Indian lands located within
California if such activities were prohibited elsewhere in the
State. The Court found that states which permitted any form of
gambling could not prohibit Indians from operating gambling facilities.
Lyng v. Northwest
Indian Cemetery Association Supreme Court Decision - The Yurok Indians and several other Northern
California tribes argued that the construction of a 6-mile,
two-lane paved road between the towns of Gasquet and Orleans (the
G-O Road) and the implementation of a timber management plan would
interfere with traditional tribal religions. The Court held that
construction of the road did note violate their freedom of religion.
Thus far, the road has not been built due to an administrative
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) - This Congressional Act
affirmed the right of tribes to conduct gaming on Indian lands, but made it subject to tribal/state compact
negotiations for certain types of gaming.
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." Consequently, the federal government
encourages and supports of the use of native languages as a medium
of instruction in schools; recognizes the right of Indian tribes to give official status to their languages for
conducting their own business; supports proficiency in native
languages by granting the same academic credit as for comparable
proficiency in a foreign language; and encourages schools to include
native languages in the curriculum in the same way as foreign
languages. Today, many
American Indian languages have been lost; less than 100
languages currently are spoken by Indians.
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
Native American Grave
Protection and Repatriation Act - This Congressional Act required
all institutions that receive federal funds to inventory their
Indian human remains and artifacts, make their lists available
Indian tribes, and return any items requested by the tribes.
Indian Law Enforcement Act - This Congressional Act created a
unified approach to the BIA's provision of law enforcement service
Foxwoods Casino of Connecticut - The
Mashantucket Pequots opened the first large casino in the United
Religious Freedom Restoration Act
(RFRA) - This Congressional Act stated that state governments
"shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion"
except if such exercise of religion conflicts with "a compelling
government interest." On June 25, 1997, the US Supreme Court
declared RFRA unconstitutional as it applied to the states.
American Indian Religious
Freedom Act, Amendments - This Congressional Act protected
the rights of American Indians to use
peyote in traditional religious ceremonies.
President Clinton's Executive
Memorandum, April 29th - The president sought ěto clarify our
responsibility to ensure that the Federal Government operates within
a government-to-government relationship with federally recognized
Native American tribes. I am strongly committed to building a
more effective day-to-day working relationship reflecting respect
for the rights of self- government due the sovereign tribal
American Indian Heritage
Month - President Clinton declared November of each year to
be National American Indian Heritage
Executive Order, October 21 on
Tribal Colleges and Universities - President Clinton authorized a White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and
Universities within the US Department of Education to continue the
support and development of tribal colleges into the 21st Century.
home of the Oglala
Lakota on Pine Ridge Reservation is identified as the poorest
place in the country.