Indian termination policy

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Indian termination was the policy of the United States from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s.[1] The belief was that Native Americans would be better off if assimilated as individuals into mainstream American society. To that end, Congress proposed to end the special relationship between tribes and the federal government. The intention was to grant Native Americans all the rights and privileges of citizenship, and to reduce their dependence on a bureaucracy whose mismanagement had been documented.

In practical terms, the policy terminated the U.S. government's recognition of sovereignty of tribes, trusteeship of Indian reservations, and exclusion of Indians from state laws. Native Americans were to become subject to state and federal taxes as well as laws, from which they had previously been exempt.[2]

Process[edit]

The House concurrent resolution 108 of 1953 announced the federal policy of termination and called for the immediate termination of the Federal relationship with the Menominee and Klamath tribes.[3] Congress passed termination acts on a tribe by tribe basis. Most such acts included the end of federal recognition and all the federal aid that came along with being federally recognized tribes. From 1953-1964, the government terminated recognition of a total of 109 tribes and bands as sovereign dependent nations. The population of Native Americans who gave up tribal affiliation totaled over 12,000 Native Americans or 3% of the total Native American population. Approximately 2,500,000 acres (10,000 km2) of trust land was removed from protected status during these years. Much was sold by individuals to non-Natives.[4]

The termination of these tribes ended federal government relations with and recognition of those tribal governments and ended federal recognition of tribal jurisdiction over their lands.[5] In addition to ending the tribal rights as sovereign nations, the policy terminated federal support of most of the health care and education programs, police and fire fighting departments available to Indians on reservations. Given the considerable geographic isolation of many reservations and inherent economic problems, not many tribes had the funds to continue such services after termination was implemented. The tribes initially selected for termination had been considered groups who were the most successful in the United States, in some cases, because of natural resources controlled by their reservations. Few tribes were able to fight legal battles in an effort, and success for some, to restore tribal government and the special relationship with the United States federal government.

This article covers the process by which the Alaskan Natives avoided termination and the effects of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The Alaskan Natives are viewed no differently in the eyes of the government to other Native Americans. The Alaskan Natives persevered to retain their lands but suffered negative consequences as well. As a whole, termination had lasting effects on Native Americans and the policies used in negotiation.

Legislation and Policy[edit]

In 1943 the United States Senate commissioned a survey of Indian conditions. It indicated that living conditions on the reservations were extremely poor. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and its bureaucracy were found to be at fault for the troubling problems due to extreme mismanagement.[6] Congress concluded that some tribes no longer needed federal protection and would be better off with more independence, rather than having them depend on and be poorly supervised by the BIA. They also thought the tribes should be part of mainstream American society.[6] Goals of termination included freeing the Indians from domination by the BIA, repealing laws that discriminated against Indians, and ending federal supervision of the Indians.[7][8] Senator Arthur V. Watkins of Utah, the strongest proponent of termination, equated it with the Emancipation Proclamation, which had declared the freedom of all slaves in the territory of the Confederate States of America.[8]

In 1953, the United States House of Representatives and the Senate announced their support for the termination policy, with House Concurrent Resolution 108:[9]

House Concurrent Resolution 108[edit]

House Concurrent Resolution 108 of 1953 was a formal statement issued 1 August 1953 by the United States Congress announcing the official federal policy of termination. The resolution called for the immediate termination of the Flathead, Klamath, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Turtle Mountain Chippewa, as well as all tribes in the states of California, New York, Florida, and Texas. Termination of a tribe meant the immediate withdrawal of all federal aid, services, and protection, as well as the end of reservations.[3] Individual members of terminated tribes were to become full United States citizens and receive the benefits and responsibilities of any other United States citizens. The resolution also called for the Interior Department to quickly find more tribes who appeared ready for termination in the near future.[10]

In a 21 January 1954 memo by the Department of the Interior reviewing the effects of Resolution 108 stated that bills to terminate 66,000 Indians (1/7th of the total population) were under consideration by Congress. In addition to the above list, the memo sets forth bill provisions for the terminations of the Iroquois Confederation of Six Nations, Seneca, and the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin (formerly of New York); the Seminole Tribe of Florida; the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas; a Kansas bill covering the Potawatomi, the Kickapoo, the Sac and Fox and the Iowa Tribe; and 41 California Rancherias.[11]

A memo dated 19 January 1955 for the BIA issued from the Department of the Interior indicates additional terminations are being reviewed in proposed legislation for four Indian communities of southern Minnesota including the Lower Sioux Community in Redwood and Scott counties, the New Upper Sioux Community in Yellow Medicine County, the Prairie Island Community in Goodhue County and about 15 individuals living on restricted tracts in Yellow Medicine County.[12]

Public Law 280[edit]

Public Law 280, passed in 1953, gave State governments the power to assume jurisdiction over Indian reservations, which had previously been excluded from state jurisdiction.[13] It immediately granted the state criminal and civil jurisdiction over Indian populations in California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Special clauses prevented this law from being invoked on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota and the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. After being admitted as a state in 1958, Alaska was added to the list of covered states where termination would be the goal. Public Law 280 also allowed any state to assume jurisdiction over Indian lands by a statute or an amendment to the state constitution. This law made both the states and Native Americans unhappy: the former because they had new responsibilities without any increase in funding to support additional staff and supplies, the latter because they were subject to new laws.[14] The federal goal in implementing P.L. 280 was two-fold: 1) to fill the jurisdictional gap of the native communities' lack of their own formal judicial systems, which led to a general perception of lawlessness in their communities and 2) to assimilate native peoples and their tribes into the cultures of their neighbors by shifting the financial burden of prosecuting crimes in Indian Country to their respective states.[15]

The main effect of Public Law 280 was to disrupt the relationship between the federal government and the Indian tribes. Previously the tribes had been regulated directly by the federal government. In Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Supreme Court had ruled that state laws cannot be enforced on Indian land. While this preserved a kind of sovereignty and independence for tribes on reservations, in other ways they depended on a complex bureaucracy for services.[14]

Indian Relocation Act of 1956[edit]

As part of of the Indian Termination Policy, The Indian Relocation Act of 1956, was passed. It was a federal law encouraging Native Americans, who lived on or near Indian reservations to relocate to urban areas for greater employment opportunities.[16]

It is estimated that between the 1950s and 1980s, as many as 750,000 Native Americans migrated to the cities, some as part of the relocation program, others on their own. By the 2000 census, the urban Indian population was 64% higher than it had been in the pre-termination era of the 1940s.[17]

Regaining federal recognition[edit]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proposed ending termination, building partnerships between tribal governments and the United States, and fostering tribal self-determination and self-development, though the proposal never passed. Subsequent presidents followed this informal approach until 1988, when House Concurrent Resolution 108 was finally formally abandoned.[18]

Of the more than one hundred tribes terminated during this era, a few were able to regain their federal recognition. The tribes achieved this through long court battles, which for some tribes took decades and exhausted large amounts of money.

Some tribes, like the Choctaw and Seneca, were able to delay termination long enough to have it cancelled before implementation. Other tribes were marked for termination, like the Cold Springs, Middletown, and Montgomery Creek Rancherias of California and possibly the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma, but due to errors in process were not successfully terminated. Some tribes like the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and Stockbridge-Munsee Community pursued federal litigation to halt termination.

Being proposed for termination galvanized the Seminole Tribe of Florida. On 9 October, 1953, an emergency meeting was called at the agency headquarters on the Dania Reservation. There were two issues to be considered: 1) convincing the government that the tribe was not ready to take over management of its own affairs and 2) convincing the government that all native people living in Florida were not Seminole. 1-2 March, 1954 designated tribal members testified at a Joint Hearing before the Subcommittees of the Committees on Interior and Insular Affairs of the 83rd Congress. Additional hearings were held 6-7 April, 1955, requesting the continuance for the next 25 years of government supervision and separation of the Seminoles from the Miccosukees and Traditionals. By 26 March, 1957 a committee had been formed to draft a constitution and corporate charter. The constitution and bylaws were accepted by tribal vote on 21 August, 1957[19] and ratified by Congress later that same year. The Miccosukees formed their own government, receiving state recognition in 1957 and federal recognition as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida in 1962. Some Traditionals refused to affiliate with either tribe, not wanting relations with the federal government.[20]

An opinion issued April 8, 1980 in the US District court for the State of Montana confirmed that the Flathead Reservation held in trust by the US Government had not been diminished nor terminated since enactment of The Flathead Act of April 23, 1904. It further clarified that Congress's intent to terminate must be clear and cannot be inferred, stating "A congressional determination to terminate must be expressed on the face of the Act or be clear from the surrounding circumstances and legislative history."[21]

Tribal leaders played key roles in getting their cases heard by the United States Congress, through the political process, and by the Supreme Court in suits and appeals. The tribes garnered publicity by creating resistance groups. These both publicly protested the termination policy, and fought political and court battles in Washington for restoration of tribal sovereignty or other goals.


Tribes which were terminated but regained their status as sovereign states include the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians, Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Blue Lake Rancheria of the Wiyot, Yurok, and Hupa Indians, Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California, Catawba, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California, Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, Coquille, Elk Valley Rancheria, California, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, California, Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians, Guidiville Rancheria of California, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, California, Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, California, Klamath, Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, Menominee, Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria, Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California, Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians, Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California, Pinoleville Pomo Nation, Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Potter Valley Tribe, California, Quartz Valley Indian Community of the Quartz Valley Reservation of California, Redding Rancheria, California, Redwood Valley or Little River Band of Pomo Indians of the Redwood Valley Rancheria California, Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Smith River Rancheria, California, Table Mountain Rancheria of California, United Auburn Indian Community, Wiyot Tribe, California, Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.


Other tribes are still attempting to gain federal recognition, such as the Colfax Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe of California, Mishewal Wappo Indians of Alexander Valley of California, Miwok Tribe of the El Dorado Rancheria of California, Mission Creek Reservation of California, Mono Indians of the Strathmore Rancheria of California, Nevada City Rancheria of Nisenan of Northern California, Strawberry Valley Band of Pakan'yani Maidu, Tsi Akim Maidu of the Taylorsville Rancheria of California and the Mixed Bloods of the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation.

The Lumbee have been recognized as an American Indian tribe by the State of North Carolina since 1885. In 1956, the U.S. Congress also recognized the Lumbee as an American Indian tribe but denied federal Indian benefits. The 1956 Lumbee Act blocked the BIA from fully recognizing the Lumbee and withheld the full benefits of federal recognition from the tribe. Efforts are currently underway to pass federal legislation that will grant full recognition.

The Brothertown Indians of Wisconsin were the first tribe in the US to accept United States citizenship in 1839 and have their communal land allocated to individual households, in order to prevent future western removal. In a 2012 final determination on the Brothertown petition the Department of the Interior determined that since Congress granted them citizenship which terminated their tribal status, only Congress could restore their tribe for federal recognition. They are still attempting to gain restoration.

Repudiation[edit]

Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon favored self-determination instead of termination.

By the early 1960s, some federal leaders began opposing the implementation of any more termination measures, although the administration of President John F. Kennedy did oversee some of the last terminations. The last two terminations, those of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, legally began in 1962—after Kennedy signed the order, at the urging of Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall—and culminated in 1966;[22] and that of the Tiwa Indians of Ysleta, Texas which transferred federal authority to the State of Texas in 1968[23] occurred in the 1960s. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon decided to encourage Indian self-determination instead of termination.[24]

Some tribes resisted the policy by filing civil lawsuits. The litigation lasted until 1980, when the issue made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 1974 Boldt Decision was upheld in 1980 to recognize those treaty rights that were lost.

With problems arising in the 1960s, several organizations were formed, such as the American Indian Movement (AIM) and other organizations that helped protect the rights of Indians and their land.[26] In 1975, Congress had implicitly rejected the termination policy by passing the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, which increased tribal control over reservations and helped with funding to build schools closer to reservations. On January 24, 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued an American Indian policy statement that supported explicit repudiation of the termination policy.[27]

Jurisdictional terminations and Restorations[edit]

Termination acts were passed dealing with particular tribes or groups of tribes because of special circumstances. They followed the basic termination policies, but sometimes had minor variations. In some cases, when termination was reversed, the government granted recognition, but no restoration of federal trust lands occurred. Some of those tribes, specifically in California, are seeking still seeking restoration of reservation lands.

Emigrant Indians of New York[edit]

A 21 January 1954 memo by the Department of the Interior advised that a bill for termination is to be prepared including "about 3,600 members of the Oneida Tribe residing in Wisconsin. These Indians have no land in Federal trusteeship and are not receiving any Federal services in such fields as health or education".[11] Clarification of who these tribes were was found in a Department of the Interior memo entitled Indian Claims Commission Awards Over $38.5 Million to Indian Tribes in 1964, which states that the Emigrant Indians of New York are "(now known as the Oneidas, Stockbridge-Munsee, and Brotherton Indians of Wisconsin.[28]

In an effort to fight termination and force the government into recognizing their outstanding land claims from New York, the three tribes began filing litigation in the 1950s.[29] As a result of a claim filed with the Indian Claims Commission, the group was awarded a settlement of $1,313,472.65 on 11 August 1964.[28] To distribute the funds, Congress passed Public Law 90-93 81 Stat. 229 Emigrant New York Indians of Wisconsin Judgment Act and prepared separate rolls of persons in each of the three groups to determine which tribal members had at least one-quarter "Emigrant New York Indian blood." It further directed tribal governing bodies of the Oneidas and Stockbridge-Munsee to apply to the Secretary of the Interior for approval of fund distributions, thereby ending termination efforts for these tribes. With regard to the Brothertown Indians, however, though the law did not specifically state they were terminated, it authorized all payments to be made directly to each enrollee with special provisions for minors to be handled by the Secretary. The payments were not subject to state of federal taxes.[30]

When guidelines were established in 1978 to regain federal recognition the Brothertown Indians submitted a petition. It was rejected because they had lost federal recognition through congressional legislation granting them citizenship. The Bureau of Indian Affairs acknowledged in 1993 that the federal government had recognized them as a sovereign tribe in treaties for 1831, 1832 and in the "1839 act which granted them citizenship and gave the tribe land in Wisconsin." Based on these findings the tribe petitioned the Department of the Interior again.[29] In 2012 the Department, in the final determination on the Brothertown petition, determined that the tribal status of the group was terminated by the 1839 act granting citizenship. The acting Assistant Secretary noted that only Congress could restore the tribal status.[31] In an on-going effort to regain recognition, the tribe asked the Town Board of Brothertown, Wisconsin for support. In a vote held on 27 December 2013, the town refused to endorse a plan to seek Congressional approval.[32]

Menominee Termination Act[edit]

The Menominee tribe of Wisconsin was one of the first tribes proposed for termination. Observers believed they did not need governmental services because of the value of their timber lands. On 17 June 1954 Congress passed the Menominee Termination Act, ending the special relationship between the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin and the federal government.[14] Though the act was passed in 1954, it was not until April 30, 1961, that they were officially terminated.

The Menominee did not initially cooperate with the new policy. They had recently won a court case against the government over mismanagement of forestry enterprises, and Senator Watkins threatened to withhold the $8.5 million settlement unless the Menominee agreed to termination. Previously, the tribe had been able to support themselves and fund most social programs with revenue generated by the logging industry and lumber mill. Their economic situation, however, was precarious since they only had one resource.[3]

This act was unique because it left out termination of Menominee hunting and fishing rights. The state of Wisconsin tried to subject the Menominee tribe to state hunting and fishing regulations, including requiring individuals to get permits for hunting. When the tribe filed suit against the state to defend their treaty rights, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld these regulations. They ruled that Congress had abrogated all Menominee hunting and fishing rights by passing the Menominee Termination Act.[33]

The tribe appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1968 in Menominee Tribe v. United States.[14] The U.S. Supreme Court found that termination of a tribe did not abrogate treaty rights unless there was specific legislative intent to do so.[14] The Menominees' hunting and fishing rights were guaranteed under the Wolf River Treaty of 1854. Since the Menominee Termination Act made no mention of these treaty hunting and fishing rights, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the treaty rights had not been abrogated. They ruled that the Menominee were still entitled to their traditional hunting and fishing rights free from state control.[14]

The Wisconsin Supreme Court had gone against Public Law 280 when they denied the Menominee their hunting and fishing rights (124 N.W.2d 41, 1963). Public Law 280 explicitly states that "Nothing in this section... shall deprive any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community of any right, privilege, or immunity afforded under Federal treaty, agreement or statute with respect to hunting, trapping, or fishing or the control, licensing, or regulation thereof." [33] These proceedings show that while the abrogation of federal treaties is legal (under Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock), Congressional intent to abrogate these treaties cannot be inferred, it must be explicit. Unless specifically abrogated by Congress, treaty rights remain in effect, whether a tribe is terminated or not.[14]

After they were terminated, the commonly held land and money were transferred to the corporation Menominee Enterprises, Inc. (MEI), and the geographical area of the reservation was admitted to the state as a new county. Menominee County soon became the poorest county in the state. MEI funds were rapidly depleted. Concern about corruption within MEI, including its selling of former tribal land, led community members such as Ada Deer and James White to form a group called the Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee Stockholders (DRUMS) in 1970.

They fought to regain control of MEI and, by the end of 1972, they controlled the corporation. The activists worked to restore Menominee tribal government and regain sovereignty. Their success was reflected in the Menominee Restoration Act, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1973. With the help of the Menominee Restoration Committee (MCR), the reservation was reformed in 1975, a tribal constitution was signed in 1976, and the new tribal government took over in 1979.[34]

Klamath Termination Act[edit]

In the 1950s, the Klamath tribe was one of the strongest and most wealthy tribes in the nation. They had created a vigorous economy based on timber resources and imported livestock, which nearly fully supported the entire tribe. The Klamath tribe was not a burden to the Oregon taxpayers, and was the only tribe in the country paying its share of BIA administrative costs. The Klamath was terminated in 1961 as a result of constant pressure by Senator Arthur Watkins.

The Klamath tribe in Oregon was terminated under the Klamath Termination Act, or Public Law 587, enacted on August 13, 1954. Under this act, all federal supervision over Klamath lands, as well as federal aid provided to the Klamath because of their special status as Indians, was terminated.[35] The legislation required each tribal member to choose between remaining a member of the tribe, or withdrawing and receiving a monetary payment for the value of the individual share of tribal land.[3] Those who stayed became members of a tribal management plan. This plan became a trust relationship between tribal members and the United States National Bank in Portland, Oregon.[36] Of the 2,133 members of the Klamath tribe at the time of termination, 1,660 decided to withdraw from the tribe and accept individual payments for land.[35]

Termination led to lawsuits, as individual Klamath Indians struggled to preserve treaty hunting and fishing rights. Five Klamath Indians who had withdrawn from the tribe after Public Law 587 claimed they retained hunting and fishing rights guaranteed to the Klamath tribe in the Treaty of October 16, 1854. After a U.S. district court ruled against them, they filed an appeal under Kimball v. Callahan.[35]

Based on reasoning similar to that in Menominee v. United States, the U.S. District Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit found that, since the Klamath Termination Act did not specifically abrogate Klamath hunting and fishing rights, these rights remained. The court looked at the stipulation in Public Law 280, providing that no state could deprive an Indian tribe (or individual members) of hunting and fishing rights guaranteed to them by federal treaty.[33]

Within the tribe, termination had been supported only by a few who were loyal to Sen. Watkins. After being terminated, the tribe was cut off from services for education, health care, housing and related resources. Termination directly caused decay within the tribe including poverty, alcoholism, high suicide rates, low educational achievement, disintegration of the family, poor housing, high dropout rates from school, disproportionate numbers in penal institutions, increased infant mortality, decreased life expectancy, and more. But through the leadership and vision of the Klamath people, and the assistance of a few congressional leaders, the Klamath Restoration Act was adopted into law in 1986, reestablishing the Klamath as a sovereign state.[37]

Western Oregon Indian Termination Act[edit]

The Western Oregon Indian Termination Act, or Public Law 588, was passed in August 1954. It called for termination of federal supervision over the trust and restricted property of numerous Native American bands and small tribes, all located west of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon.[38] The act also called for disposition of federally owned property which had been bought for the administration of Indian affairs, and for termination of federal services which these Indians received under federal recognition.[38] The stipulations in this act were similar to those of most termination acts. The Western Oregon Indian Termination Act was unique because of the number of tribes it affected. In all, 61 tribes in western Oregon were terminated. This total of tribes numbered more than the total of those terminated under all other individual acts.[38]

===Coquille===

The Coquille tribe of Oregon was terminated in 1954. Thirty years later, the Coquille regained their tribal status on June 28, 1989, through Public Law 101-42. The Coquille Restoration Act recognized the sovereignty of the tribe. It also recognized the authority of the tribal government to manage and administer political and legal jurisdiction over its lands, businesses, and community members.[39]

Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Termination Act[edit]

On 23 August 1954 the United States Congress passed two laws to terminate the federal relationship with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Public Law ch. 831, §1, 68 Stat. 768 provided that the Secretary of the Interior was to transfer to the State of Texas the tribal lands for the benefit of the tribe. In addition, it terminated the federal trust relationship to the tribe and the individual members of the tribe and canceled any federal debts.[40]

On 22 March 1983, Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox released an opinion (JM-17) stating that the state's assumption of power over the property of the Alabama-Coushatta was a violation of the Texas Constitution. He stated that as the federal government had withdrawn its recognition the tribe was "merely an unincorporated association under Texas law, with the same legal status as other private associations ... the 3,071 acre tract is entirely free from any legally meaningful designation as an 'Idian Reservation'."[41] In response to concerns by the tribe, Representative Ronald D. Coleman of Texas introduced a federal bill on 28 February 1985 to restore federal jurisdiction for the tribe.[42] Because the initial bill HR 1344 allowed gambling, amendments were made and the The Yselta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act was reintroduced as HR 318.[43] Public Law 100-89, 101 STAT. 666 was enacted 18 August 1987 and restored the federal relationship with the tribe. Section 107 specifically prohibits all gaming activities prohibited by the laws of the state of Texas.[44]

Ute Indians of Utah[edit]

On 27 August 1954, the US Congress passed Public Law 671 Chapter ch. 1009 68 Stat. 868 to partition the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah between the mixed-blood and full-blood members. The Act provided for termination of federal supervision over the mixed-blood members, terminated their access to Indian Health Services and allowed for a distribution of assets to them. In addition it created a development program to assist the full-blood members to prepare for federal termination.[45] Anyone with less than 1/2 Ute blood was automatically classified as part of the mixed-blood group. Anyone with more than 1/2 Ute blood quantum was allowed to choose which group they wished to be part of going forward.[46]

Under the Act, the mixed-bloods, were to select representatives in an unincorporated association, the Affiliated Ute Citizens (AUC), which in turn created the Ute Distribution Corporation (UDC) to manage their oil, gas, and mineral rights and unliquidated claims against the federal government as part of the plan for distributing assets to individual mixed-bloods. The UDC issued stock shares to mixed-blood and which could be redeemed through the First Security Bank of Utah. Mixed-bloods who wanted to dispose of their stock prior to August 27, 1964, had to give first-refusal rights to tribe members.[47]

In November 2002, mixed-bloods whose citizenship in the tribe had been terminated filed a civil action in the Washington DC US District Court, titled "Felter vs. Kempthorne," to repeal the Ute Partition Act.[48] On 27 January 2006, the case was dismissed [49] and an appeal was filed. In a decision dated 19 January 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered the remand to the district court for further review.[50]

Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah[edit]

On 1 September 1954 the US Congress passed Termination of Federal Supervision over Paiute Indians of Utah U.S. Code, Title 25, Sections 741-60. The legislation at §742 specification that the included bands were the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe (omitting the Cedar Band).[51] As with other termination agreements, the Act provided for termination of federal trusts and distribution of tribal lands to individuals or a tribally organized entity. It had provisions to preserve the tribal water rights and a special education program to assist tribal members in learning how to earn a living, conduct affairs, and assume their responsibilities as citizens.[52] The Bureau of Land management terminated tribal trusts on 1 March 1957[53] as did the Indian Health Service.[54]

On 3 April 1980, Congress passed the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Restoration Act, Public Law 96-227 94 Stat. 317, which restored the federal trust relationship of the Shivwits, Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands of the Paiute Indian Tribe and restored and reaffirmed that the Cedar Band was part of the Tribe. The law acknowledged that the Kanosh, Koosharem, and Indian Peaks Bands had lost their lands as a result of termination and that the Cedar Band had never had any. It proposed to develop within two years of enactment a plan to secure reservation land for the tribe not to exceed 15,000 acres.[55] The Bureau of Land management reinstituted the federal trust on 43,576.99 concurrent with the enactment of the statute.[53]

Oklahoma Termination Acts[edit]

In three related Acts voted on 1, 2, and 3 August 1956 Congress passed Acts terminating the federal supervision of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma;[56] the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma;[57] and the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma.[58] All 3 Acts were substantially identical and called for the termination of federal supervision over trust lands at the end of 3 years by creating the means to transfer to individual members the property of the tribes.

On 15 May 1978, in a single Act, entitled Public Law 95-281, the termination laws were repealed and the three tribes were reinstated with all rights and privileges they had prior to termination.[59]

Oklahoma Terminated Tribes
Reservation Tribal entity Date of termination Date of Reinstatement Date of Land Restoration Details
1. Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma August 3, 1959 May 15, 1978 May 15, 1978 By federal Statute. Public Law ch. 909, 70 Stat. 963. The Bureau of Land Management effectively terminated the tribal trusts on 3 August 1959. Upon reinstatement, 26.63 acres of land was restored to tribal trust.[53]
2. Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma August 2, 1959 May 15, 1978 May 15, 1978 By federal Statute. Public Law ch. 881, 70 Stat. 937. The Bureau of Land Management effectively terminated the tribal trusts on 2 August 1959. Upon reinstatement, 882.97 acres of land was restored to tribal trust.[53]
3. Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma Wyandotte Nation August 1, 1959 May 15, 1978 May 15, 1978 By federal Statute. Public Law ch. 843, 70 Stat. 893. The Bureau of Land Management notes that the Federal Register never published the termination of the Wyandotte lands and thus they were never officially terminated.[53]

California Rancheria Termination Act[edit]

In 1958, Congress passed the California Rancheria Termination Act, Public Law 85-671 (72 Stat. 619). The act called for the distribution of all 41 rancheria communal lands and assets to individual tribe members. It called for a plan "for distributing to individual Indians the assets of the reservation or Rancheria, including the assigned and the unassigned lands, or for selling such assets and distributing the proceeds of sale, or conveying such assets to a corporation or other legal entity organized or designed by the group, or for conveying such assets to the group, as tenants in common." [60] Before the land could be distributed, the act called for a government survey of land on the rancheria. The government was required to improve or construct all roads serving the rancheria, to install or rehabilitate irrigation, sanitation, and domestic water systems, and to exchange land held in trust for the rancheria.[61] All Indians who received a portion of the assets were ineligible to receive any more federal services rendered to them based on their status as Indians.

In 1957–58, a State Senate Interim Committee investigation revealed that little had been done to prepare Indian reserves for termination.[24] In 1958, the Rancheria Termination Act was enacted. A memo from the Department of Interior shows the insufficiency of the notice given the California Indians, which was simply posted on the Rancheria for 30 days.[62] In many testimonies, like that of the Nisenen of the Nevada City Rancheria plaintiffs alleged that BIA officials spoke only to whoever was occupying the homestead at the time, rather than consulting with Indians living in the surrounding area.[63]

In 1964, an amendment to the California Rancheria Termination Act (78 Stat. 390) was enacted, terminating additional rancheria lands.

Many tribes expressed dissatisfaction with termination immediately.[64] Federal failures to live up to promised improvements and educational opportunities that were supposed to be part of an agreement to accept termination led eventually to lawsuits calling to reverse terminations.[65]

The first successful challenge was for the Robinson Rancheria which was 22 March 1977 and it was followed by 5 others: the Hopland Rancheria was restored 29 March 1978; The Upper Lake Rancheria was restored 15 May 1979; the Table Bluff Rancheria was restored 21 September 1981; the Big Sandy Rancheria was restored 28 March 1983; and the Table Mountain Rancheria was restored in June, 1983. Each of these decisions only pertained to one reservation.

The success of these suits and frustration with unmet promises, caused Tillie Hardwick in 1979 to consult with California Indian Legal Services, who decided to make a class action case.[66] On 19 July 1983 a U.S.District Court in Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW ordered federal recognition of 17 of California's Rancherias.[67] The Hardwick decision restored more terminated tribes than any other single case in California and prompted the majority of the terminated Rancherias to pursue federal restoration.

California Terminated Tribes
Rancheria or Reservation Tribal entity Date of termination[53] Date of Reinstatement Date of Land Restoration Details
1. Alexander Valley Rancheria Mishewal Wappo Indians of Alexander Valley August 1, 1961[54] In 2009, the tribe filed for federal restoration.[68] On 25 July 2013 a hearing was held in San Jose, California in the federal court of U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila.[69] As of September, 2014 no ruling had been handed down.[70]
2. Auburn Rancheria United Auburn Indian Community August 18, 1967 October 31, 1994 October 31, 1994 By federal statute. Public Law No. 103-434, 108 Stat. 4533[71] With the passage of their restoration law, 49.21 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
3. Big Sandy Rancheria Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians August 18, 1958 March 28, 1983 March 28, 1983 By US Federal Court decision San Joaquin or Big Sandy Band of Indians, et al. v. James Watt, et al. Civil Case #C-80-3787-MHP[72]
4. Big Valley Rancheria Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians November 11, 1965 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 99.52 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
5. Blue Lake Rancheria Blue Lake Rancheria of the Wiyot, Yurok, and Hupa Indians September 22, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 19.40 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
6. Buena Vista Rancheria Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California April 11, 1961 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73]
7. Cache Creek Rancheria Unknown April 11, 1961[54] Remains terminated as of 1997[74]
8. Chicken Ranch Rancheria Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California August 1, 1961 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 50.58 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
9. Chico Rancheria Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California June 2, 1967 May 4, 1992 January 24, 2014[75] Federal decree: 57 Fed.Reg. 19,133 (May 4, 1992). Partial restoration of lands was granted in the final settlement of a US Federal Court decision Scotts Valley v. United States (Final Judgment), No. C-86-3660-VRW (N.D. Cal. April 17, 1992), but they were unable to reestablish the former Rancheria boundaries. The tribe's former reservation is located within the City of Chico and zoned for residential and commercial use, with a part of it being California State University property. On 20 March 20, 2000, the formally requested the State of California to negotiate with the tribe for class III gaming facilities. The stated declined as the tribe has no lands. In 2003 the tribe filed suit in Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California v. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State of California, Civ.S-03-2327WBS/GGH, but the case was dismissed on 12 March 2004.[76] A decade later, the federal government authorized the tribe to restore their lands under the "restored lands exception" of the Indian Reorganization Act.[75]
10. Cloverdale Rancheria Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California December 30, 1965 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 12.56 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
11. Cold Springs Rancheria Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians of California N/A N/A N/A The ACCIP Termination Report: The Continuing Destructive Effects of the Termination Policy on California Indians, prepared by the Advisory Council on California Indian Policy in September, 1997 states that the Cold Springs Rancheria was never terminated.[74]
12. Elk Valley Rancheria Elk Valley Rancheria, California July 16, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 215.44 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
13. Graton Rancheria Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, California February 18, 1966 1992[77] December 27, 2000 On 2 March 1999 legislation was introduced to restore the tribal lands of the tribe.[78] The legislation was passed the US Congress and signed by President Clinton on December 27, 2000.[79]
14. Greenville Rancheria Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians December 8, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 1.8 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
15. Guidiville Rancheria Guidiville Rancheria of California September 3, 1965 1986[80] March 15, 1991 By US Federal Court decision Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Sugar Bowl Rancheria, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. C-86-3660-WWS[81] Shortly after the Scotts Valley decision 46.88 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
16. Hopland Rancheria Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, California June 18, 1961 March 29, 1978 March 29, 1978 By US Federal Court decision Roger Smith, as Administrator of the Estate of Ellerick Smith, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-74-1016- WTS[82]
17. Indian Ranch Rancheria Unknown September 22, 1964[54] Remains terminated as of 1997[74]
18. Lytton Rancheria Lytton Band of Pomo Indians August 1, 1961 September 6, 1991[53][83] 2000 In 2000 federal legislation was passed granting the tribe a card room in San Pablo as a reservation. In 2002, a lawsuit was filed claiming the group was never a sovereign group and a second challenge was filed in 2003. The tribe defeated both and in 2004 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to back the plan of an urban tribal casino.[84] The casino began operations on 1 August 2005.[85]
19. Mark West Rancheria Unknown August 1, 1961[54] Remains terminated as of 1997[74]
20. Middletown Rancheria Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California N/A N/A N/A The ACCIP Termination Report: The Continuing Destructive Effects of the Termination Policy on California Indians, prepared by the Advisory Council on California Indian Policy in September, 1997 states that the Middletown Rancheria was never terminated.[74]
21. Montgomery Creek Rancheria Pit River Tribe, California N/A N/A N/A The ACCIP Termination Report: The Continuing Destructive Effects of the Termination Policy on California Indians, prepared by the Advisory Council on California Indian Policy in September, 1997 states that the Montgomery Creek Rancheria was one of the land bases of the Pit River Tribe and was never terminated.[74]
22. Mooretown Rancheria Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians August 1, 1961 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 445.31 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
23. Nevada City Rancheria Nevada City Rancheria of Nisenan of Northern California September 22, 1964[54][86] On 2 December 2010, the Nevada County Historical Society board of directors unanimously rescinded their 2000 endorsement of the Plumas County Tsi Akim Maidu and acknowledged the Nevada City Rancheria tribe’s claim of being the historical indigenous people of Nevada County.[86] On 20 January 2010, the tribe filed a case in the US District Court of Northern California (C-10-00270-HRL) for wrongful termination, restoration and federal recognition of their tribe.[63]
24. North Fork Rancheria North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians February 18, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 141.52 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
25. Paskenta Rancheria Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California April 11, 1961 November 2, 1994 November 2, 1994 By federal statute. Public Law No. 103-454, 108 Stat. 4793[87] With the passage of their restoration law, 1,869.16 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
26. Picayune Rancheria Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California February 18, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 28.76 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
27. Pinoleville Rancheria Pinoleville Pomo Nation February 18, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 26.37 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
28. Potter Valley Rancheria Potter Valley Tribe, California August 1, 1961 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73]
29. Quartz Valley Rancheria Quartz Valley Indian Community of the Quartz Valley Reservation of California January 20, 1967 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 129.64 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
30. Redding Rancheria Redding Rancheria, California June 20, 1962 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 50.33 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
31. Redwood Valley Rancheria Redwood Valley or Little River Band of Pomo Indians of the Redwood Valley Rancheria California August 1, 1961 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 176.52 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
32. Robinson Rancheria Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians September 3, 1965 March 22, 1977 June 29, 1977 By US Federal Court decision Mabel Duncan, et al. v. Cecil D. Andrus, et al. Case Nos. C-71-1572-WWS, C-71-1713-WWS[88] The 1977 ruling found that the tribal status must be "unterminated" and its tribal members were to regain federal benefits lost through their unlawful termination. Subsequently, two additional actions were filed. Mabel Duncan et al. v. the United States 597 F.2d 1337 found 18 April 1979 that the US government was liable for tribal damages.[89] On 2 December 1981 the judge confirmed federal liability for damages in Mabel Duncan et al. v. the United States 667 F.2d 36.[90] After the 1977 ruling, 153.22 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
33. Rohnerville Rancheria Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria July 16, 1966 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 62.16 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
34. Ruffeys Rancheria Unknown April 11, 1962[54] Remains terminated as of 1997[74]
35. Scotts Valley Rancheria Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians September 3, 1965 March 15, 1991 March 15, 1991 By US Federal Court decision Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Sugar Bowl Rancheria, et al. v. United States of America, et al., No. C-86-3660-WWS[81] Shortly after the Scotts Valley decision 0.79 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
36. Smith River Rancheria Smith River Rancheria, California July 29, 1967 December 22, 1983 December 22, 1983 By US Federal Court decision Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW[73] At the time of the Hardwick I decision 89.49 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
37. Strawberry Valley Rancheria Strawberry Valley Band of Pakan'yani Maidu April 11, 1961[54] In July, 2013 they met with Yuba County supervisors, in an attempt to win county endorsement of their efforts for federal recognition and tribal restoration.[91]
38. Table Bluff Rancheria The Wiyot Tribe, California April 11, 1961 September 21, 1981 September 21, 1981 By US Federal Court decision Table Bluff Band of Indians, et al. v. Cecil Andrus, et al. Case #C-75-2525-WTS[92] At the time of the Table Bluff decision 87.99 acres of land were restored to the tribal trust.[53]
39. Table Mountain Rancheria Table Mountain Rancheria of California 1959 June 1983 By US Federal Court decision Table Mountain Rancheria Association v. James Watt, Secretary of the Interior, No. C-80-4595-MHP[93]
40. Upper Lake Rancheria Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, California 1959 May 15, 1979 2008 By US Federal Court decision Upper Lake Pomo Association, et. al v. Cecil Andrus, et al. No. C-75-0181-SW[94] (The reference to the tribes' restoration date in 1979 was found within other litigation concerning native gaming.) The tribe achieved renewed recognition of their tribal status at that time, but was unable restore their tribal land trust until 2008.[95]
41. Wilton Rancheria Me-Wuk Indian Community of the Wilton Rancheria September 27, 1964[54] 2009 The tribe regained their federal tribal recognition in 2009. In 2014, they were still attempting to have their tribal lands restored.[96]

The ACCIP Termination Report: The Continuing Destructive Effects of the Termination Policy on California Indians, (ACCIP Termination Report) prepared by the Advisory Council on California Indian Policy in September, 1997 lists 7 additional reservations which were terminated as a result of the 1964 Amendments to the Rancheria Act, which did not list them by name.

California Terminated Tribes from 1964 Amendment
Rancheria or Reservation Tribal entity Date of termination[74] Date of Reinstatement Date of Land Restoration Details
1. El Dorado Rancheria Miwok Tribe of the El Dorado Rancheria July 16, 1966[54] As of 2014 the Miwok Tribe of the El Dorado Rancheria has not sought to restore its federally-recognized sovereign status.[97]
2. Mission Creek Reservation Mission Creek Reservation 1970 The Serrano, Cahuilla and Cupeño and other peoples who formerly inhabited the Mission Creek Reservation filed a letter of intent to reinstate their tribal status with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on 19 July 2012.[98]
3. Colfax Rancheria Colfax Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe 1965 The Miwok and Maidu Indians of the Colfax Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe discovered in the 1970s that their reservation at the Colfax Rancheria was sold in 1965 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The the local Nisenan attempted to get the land turned over for their use, but were unsuccessful in regaining the land.[99] In 2000, the tribe reorganized in an attempt to be restored as a federally recognized Indian tribe.[100]
4. Likely Rancheria Pit River Tribe, California The ACCIP Termination Report indicates that this rancheria was sold; however, according to the April, 2014 List of Federally Recognized Tribes the Pit River Tribe includes the former rancherias of: XL Ranch, Big Bend, Likely, Lookout, Montgomery Creek and Roaring Creek Rancherias.[101]
5. Lookout Rancheria Pit River Tribe, California The ACCIP Termination Report indicates that this rancheria was sold; however, according to the April, 2014 List of Federally Recognized Tribes the Pit River Tribe includes the former rancherias of: XL Ranch, Big Bend, Likely, Lookout, Montgomery Creek and Roaring Creek Rancherias.[101]
6. Strathmore Rancheria Mono Indians of the Strathmore Rancheria The ACCIP Termination Report indicates that this rancheria was sold and specifically states, "These sales did not affect the status of any tribe;" however, in the 10 December 1965 issue of the Fresno Bee is a report that the Mono Indians of the Strathmore Rancheria were questioning the BIA decision to sell their reservation lands.[64]
7. Taylorsville Rancheria Tsi Akim Maidu of the Taylorsville Rancheria The Tsi Akim Maidu of the Taylorsville Rancheria are seeking federal recognition.[102] In 2013, they were able to resecure a portion of their ancestral lands in Plumas County, California,[103] but without federal recognition they are unable to have it restored as a reservation.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma[edit]

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was one of the members of the Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast; they were removed to Indian Territory in the 1830s. For most of the twentieth century, the Choctaw had worked to assimilate into the majority culture. In the late 1950s, termination was supported by the Choctaw chief Harry J. W. Belvin. After eleven years as Choctaw chief, Belvin persuaded Representative Carl Albert of Oklahoma to introduce federal legislation to begin terminating the Choctaw tribe.

On 25 August 1959, Congress passed a bill[104] to terminate the tribe, which was later called Belvin's law as he was the main advocate behind it. Belvin created overwhelming support for termination among tribespeople through his promotion of the bill, describing the process and expected outcomes. Tribal members later interviewed said that Belvin never used the word "termination" for what he was describing, and many people were unaware he was proposing termination.[105] In actuality, the provisions of the bill were intended to dispose of remaining tribal land dividing the proceeds and all tribal funds among tribe members and "for dissolution of the tribal governments." [106]

The Choctaw people in Oklahoma had seen what termination could do to tribes, since they witnessed the process with four other tribes in the state: the Wyandot, Peoria, Ottawa, and Modoc. In 1969, ten years after passage of the Choctaw termination bill and one year before the Choctaws were to be terminated, word spread throughout the tribe that Belvin's law was a termination bill. Outrage over the bill generated a feeling of betrayal, and tribal activists formed resistance groups opposing termination. Groups such as the Choctaw Youth Movement in the late 1960s fought politically against the termination law. They helped create a new sense of tribal pride, especially among younger generations. Their protest delayed termination; Congress finally repealed the law on August 24, 1970.[107]

Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina Termination Act[edit]

On 21 September 1959 Congress passed Public Law No. 86-322, 73 Stat. 592 calling for the termination of the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina.[108] The Bureau of Land Management terminated their trust status on 2 July 1960.[53]

After termination in 1959, the Catawba nation in South Carolina was determined to fight to regain federal recognition. In 1973, the Catawba filed their petition with the United States Congress for federal recognition. It was not until 20 years later, November 20, 1993, that the land claim settlement with the state of South Carolina and the federal government finally came to an end.

Based on the Treaty of Nations Ford of 1840, the Catawba agreed to give up claims on land taken from them by the state of South Carolina. In return, the Catawba Indian Nation received federal recognition and $50 million for economic development, education, social services, and land purchases.[109] On 27 October 1993 the US Congress enacted Public Law No. 103-116, 107 Stat. 1118, to restore the tribal relationship with the federal government and resolve the land disputes.[110]

Ponca Tribe of Nebraska[edit]

On 5 September 1962 Public Law 87–629 76 Stat. 429 was passed terminating the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.Conditions were similar to other termination agreements, but each tribal member was allotted up to 5 acres of tribal land for personal use as a homesite and the remaining lands were ordered to be sold. One special provision concerned retaining mineral rights to the property by individuals owning at least 25% in the land.[111] The Bureau of Land Management confirmed that the federal trust was terminated on 27 October 1966.[53]

Fred Leroy, a Ponca and Vietnam veteran, formed the Northern Ponca Restoration Committee[112] in 1986-87 and began lobbying the state of Nebraska for recognition. In 1988 the state recognized the tribe and agreed to endorse them for federal restoration.[113] On 31 October 1990, the Ponca Restoration Act was passed by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush.[114] Concurrent with their restoration, the Bureau of Land Management restored the tribal trust lands of 241.84 acres.[53]

Seneca Nation[edit]

On 31 August 1964,[115] H. R. 1794 An Act to authorize payment for certain interests in lands within the Allegheny Indian Reservation in New York was passed by Congress and sent to the president for signature. The bill authorizing payment for resettling and rehabilitation of the Seneca Indians. As part of their reservation was effected by the construction of the Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River, 127 Seneca families (about 500) people were being dislocated. The legislation provided benefits for the entire Seneca Nation, because the taking of the Indian land for the dam broke abridged a 1794 treaty between the Government and the Senecas. In addition, the provided that within three years, a plan from the Interior Secretary should be submitted to Congress withdrawing all federal supervision over the Seneca Nation. (Technically the state of New York, and not the Federal Government, had had supervision over the Senecas since 1949.)[116]

Accordingly, on 5 September 1967 a memo from the Department of the Interior announced that legislation had been proposed to end federal ties with the Seneca.[117][118] In 1968 a new liaison was appointed from the BIA for the tribe to assist the tribe in preparing for termination and rehabilitation.[119] Like the Choctaw, the Seneca were able to hold off termination until President Nixon issued[120] his Special Message to the Congress on Indian Affairs on July, 1970.[121]

Tiwa Indians of Texas (now known as Ysleta del Sur Pueblo)[edit]

On 12 April, 1968, under Public Law 90–287 82 Stat. 93 the United States Congress relinquished all responsibility for the Tiwa Indians of Ysleta, Texas to the State of Texas. The Tiwa Indians Act specified that tribal members would be ineligible for any services, claims or demands from the United States as Indians.[122]

Public Law 100-89, 101 STAT. 666 was enacted 18 August 1987 and restored the federal relationship with the tribe simultaneously with those of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. The restoration act renamed the tribe to the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo,[123] repealed the Tiwa Indians Act, and specifically prohibited all gaming activities prohibited by the laws of the state of Texas.[124]

Alaskan Natives[edit]

Because Alaska had not previously been admitted to statehood, Native American issues played out differently there. The discovery of oil in the Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet regions in 1957, and along the North Slope in 1968, brought the issue of native land ownership to the forefront of a conflict over state land selection.

In 1936, the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) was extended to include the Alaskan natives. As Alaska did not become a state until 1959, the Alaskan Natives were passed over as termination policy formed in 1953. The fervor for termination faded before Alaskan Natives became subjects of the discussion. Alaskan Natives hurriedly filed land claims with the Department of the Interior as state land selections and statehood drew closer.

Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall was a supporter of the Natives. In 1966, he issued a freeze on state land selections. In 1969 he issued the Deep Freeze, which declared ninety percent of the state off limits to any form of federal land transfer. One of the main bodies responsible for representing the interests of the Alaskan Natives is the Alaska Federation of Natives. From 1966 to 1971, this group lobbied for a fair land claims settlement act, which resulted in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).[125] ANCSA was intended both to provide the state with land promised in gaining statehood and the Natives with a 40-million-acre (160,000 km2) land base.

This act (43 U.S.C. § 1617) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971. It revoked previous land claims by the Alaskan natives. Initially, the legislation divided the land into twelve regional (a thirteenth would be added later for natives living outside of the state) and 220 local corporations. U.S. citizens with one-fourth (equivalent to one grandparent) or more Alaska Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut blood living when the Act was passed were considered Native American, and were qualified to participate in receiving dividends from oil production. Natives could register with their village or, if they chose not to enroll with their village, could become “at large” shareholders of the regional corporation. (Note: The Tsimshian Indians of the Annette Island Reserve of Metlakatla had been granted a reserve from Congress after emigrating from Canada; they were exempt from ANCSA.)

Each registered member of the village corporations received 100 shares of stock in the village corporation. The corporations were granted the 44-million-acre (180,000 km2) land base, or about twelve percent of the state of Alaska. In addition, they received around $962.5 million from both federal and state governments, which was distributed over eleven years. The first five years saw ten percent of the money received go to the shareholders of the company, and 45 percent each to the regional and local corporations. Afterward, half of the money was distributed to the regional corporations and half to the village corporations and "at large" shareholders on a per capita basis.[126]

Response and effects[edit]

The land grant came at a cost. Aboriginal title to the land and aboriginal hunting and fishing rights were extinguished by the act in exchange for fee-simple title to the land and monetary grants to the Native corporations. Certain aboriginal rights, including subsistence and medical care, were protected under other laws, including the Nelson Act of 1905, the Snyder Act of 1921, the Health Facilities Act of 1957, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976. In addition, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) protected over 100 million acres (400,000 km2) of federal lands in Alaska and the subsistence lifestyle of the Alaskan Natives. This act, passed into law in 1980, doubled the size of the country’s national park and refuge system. It created 10 new national parks and increased the area of three existing units.[127] By enacting this law, the government effectively protected land for the Alaskan Natives to continue subsistence living. These laws indicate that the government does not distinguish between tribal nations and the Alaskan Native.[128]

A negative aspect of the ANCSA was that any child born after the passage of the ANCSA could receive no shares under the statute, but could become shareholders by inheritance. Shares could also be inherited by non-Natives, putting the Natives in a difficult position in trying to maintain Native control of the corporations. Shares could also be sold after a 20-year period. Sovereignty was extinguished with the ANCSA and all aboriginal rights were subject to state law.[3] The village corporations owned only the surface of the selected land. Minerals located below the surface belonged to the regional corporations.

Political figures[edit]

Legislative figures[edit]

Republican Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah was the chief Congressional proponent of Indian termination

Some of the major supporters of the termination movement included political appointees of the Republican administration: Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay, Assistant Interior Secretary Orme Lewis, and BIA Commissioner Glenn L. Emmons. Republican Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah was the chief Congressional proponent of Indian termination. Congressmen with other interests took direction from him in relation to Indian affairs. Watkins represented interests who wanted to get control of Indian lands.[citation needed]

Arthur Watkins became a Senator in 1946 and quickly became respected. He was considered isolationist and antilabor. He was also known for his determination and chaired the Senate Select Committee that censured Senator Joseph McCarthy. Though the termination policy had numerous flaws, Watkins believed it was the best option for the Indians.

"Perhaps because he believed tribal assent superfluous and doubted the validity of Indian treaties, Senator Watkins resorted to strong-arm tactics in the drive toward termination. He gave witnesses misleading assurances and erroneous information concerning the intent of Congress. He asked leading questions of BIA witnesses to create an optimistic picture of Indian competency for termination."[3][citation needed]

Watkins developed his ideas from outside the situation, independently of talking with Native Americans. He had few, if any, personal relationships with them and had not held hearings to find out their opinions. It was not until February 1954 that Senator Watkins and House Representative Republican E. Y. Berry of South Dakota held any joint Senate-House subcommittee hearings. Their intent was to speed the process of termination. The first hearing was for six Southern Paiute and Shoshone tribes in Utah. After two months of hearings, Congress passed the Southern Paiute Termination Act. Also included in the first set of hearings were the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin and the Klamath tribe of Oregon, which were also two of the biggest tribes proposed for termination.

When Senator Watkins went to the Menominee reservation to get the tribe's consent, he told them he believed that termination for the tribe was inevitable. The Menominee voted overwhelmingly in favor of termination. Watkins became known for being "especially firm with tribal witnesses. The Menominee could see that the chairman was unbending."[3] They believed they had no choice but to accept termination.

An unusual aspect of the Klamath tribe termination hearing was that E. Morgan Pryse, the BIA area director from Portland, Oregon, testified against termination. He testified that the process would put Klamath land ownership at risk, because he knew individuals would be pressured to sell their lands. Most people affiliated with the BIA were understood to favor termination.[citation needed]

Tribal figures[edit]

Ada Deer was not in favor of termination.

Several tribal leaders played important roles in the process of termination, including Choctaw Chief Harry J. W. Belvin. Belvin lobbied heavily for Choctaw termination, which contributed to the tribe's being one of 109 scheduled for termination. The effective date of the policy was pushed back three times, and the termination law was repealed in 1970, after another change in policy. Many of the younger members of the Choctaw tribe opposed termination and got Belvin's attention. By 1970, Belvin had turned from supporting termination to advocating its repeal.[129]

Ada Deer was instrumental in reversing termination. She was a leader in regaining tribal status for the Menominee tribe. Deer and other Menominee leaders believed that "only repeal of the termination act, return of the land to its trust status, and full recognition of the tribe and its sovereign authority could right the wrongs against their people and their land."[3] Ada Deer faced strong opposition from House Interior Committee chairman Wayne Aspinall, who had been a long-time supporter of termination. The Menominee bill to reverse termination had to go through his committee. Deer's work paid off when Aspinall was upset in the Colorado Democratic primary in 1972, and thus lost his committee chair.

In 1973, Congressmen Lloyd Meeds and Manuel Lujan held House field hearings. The Menominee Restoration Act moved quickly through Congress, and President Richard Nixon signed it into law December 1973. In 1975, the restoration was complete when Secretary of the Interior Rogers Morton held a ceremony in which he signed the documents that dissolved Menominee Enterprises, Incorporated. He gave all Menominee lands back to the tribe. Ada Deer's work to reverse Menominee termination was successful.[3]

James White worked alongside Ada Deer to help bring about the reversal of termination. White helped found the organization known as Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee Stockholders (DRUMS) in 1970. Members of DRUMS strongly protested the development of the Legend Lake project and put up their own candidates for election to Menominee Enterprises, Inc. board of directors. DRUMS succeeded in blocking the planned Legend Lake development and controlled most of the board of MEI by 1972. In addition, White's work with DRUMS helped bring about the reversal of Menominee termination.[8]

Tillie Hardwick was a Pomo Indian woman who was instrumental in reversing the California Indian Rancheria termination policy of the U.S. government. She filed suit on behalf of the Pinoleville Indian Rancheria in 1979 which was modified into a class action lawsuit in 1982. The case, Tillie Hardwick, et al. v. United States of America, et al. Case #C-79-1710-SW (often cited as Hardwick I) confirmed, as of 22 December 1983, that 17 of the California Rancherias had been wrongfully terminated and reaffirmed their recognition by the federal government. As many of the tribes involved had lost their lands to private parties, an amended Hardwick case was filed in 1986 (often cited as Hardwick II) to partially restore land claims.[130] The Hardwick case affected more tribes than any other case in California and became precedent not only for additional wrongful termination cases, but is cited in nearly every gaming decision for the California tribes.[131]

Bill Osceola (30 June, 1919 - 16 April, 1995)[132] participated in both the 1-2 March, 1954 and 6-7 April, 1955 Congressional hearings on the Seminole Tribe of Florida. On 4 April, 1955, when the tribe created a board of directors, he was appointed as chairman. Lacking the necessary funds to make repeated trips to Washington, DC and Tallahassee, Florida to argue their case, Osceola came up with a plan to build a rodeo arena on the Dania Reservation as a tourist attraction. He convinced cattlemen in Brighton cattlemen to commit cattle and got lumber donations from people in Broward County. Opening day at the Rodeo saw 500 spectators and proceeds were used to organize the tribe and gain federal recognition.[133] The rodeo that Osceola began in an effort to save his tribe was christened on 7 February, 1997 as the Bill Osceola Memorial Rodeo, to honor his memory.[134]

Effects[edit]

During 1953–1964, 109 tribes were terminated, approximately 1,365,801 acres (5,527 km2) of trust land were removed from protected status, and 13,263 Native Americans lost tribal affiliation.[135] As a result of termination, the special federal trustee relationship of the Indians with the federal government ended, they were subjected to state laws, and their lands were converted to private ownership.[7]

The tribes disapproved of Public Law 280, as they disliked states having jurisdiction without tribal consent. The State governments also disapproved of the law, as they didn't want to take on jurisdiction for additional areas without additional funding. Consequently, additional amendments to Public Law 280 were passed to require tribal consent in law enforcement.[6] On May 3, 1958, the Inter Tribal Council of California (ITCC) was founded in response to the pressures of termination and other issues.

Many scholars believe that the termination policy had devastating effects on tribal autonomy, culture and economic welfare.[8][136][137] The lands belonging to the Native Americans, rich in resources, were taken over by the federal government. The termination policy had disastrous effects on the Menominee tribe (located in Wisconsin) and the Klamath tribes (located in Oregon), forcing many members of the tribes onto the public assistance roll.

Termination had a devastating effect on the health care and education of Indians along with the economic stability of tribes. Along with the end of federal control over land came the end of many federal services which included education and health care.[14]

Education[edit]

By 1972 termination clearly had affected the tribes' education. There was a 75 percent dropout rate for the Menominee Tribe, which resulted in a generation of Menominee children who had only a ninth grade education.[138] The tribes lost federal support for their schools, and the states were expected to assume the role of educating the Indian children.[139] The Menominee children, for example, did not have their own tribal schools anymore and were discriminated against within the public schools. The Menominee education program became a part of Joint School District No. 8. Younger children were still able to attend schools close to their homes, but high school students had to travel to either Gresham, Wisconsin, or Shawano for schooling.[140] All terminated tribes faced new education policies, which gave the children fewer educational opportunities that were not as good as what the whites received.

The idea of termination was to restore complete sovereignty to the United States, and to encourage assimilation into a modern, individualistic society, rather than a savage tribal mentality. In 1966 the Keshena and Neopit 3rd and 6th graders' success on the Iowa Test for basic skills was compared to the rest of their school district (Joint School District No. 8). The school district had a composite grade for the 3rd and 6th graders of 82 percent and 60 percent, respectively. However, the two schools composed mostly of Indian students had drastically lower scores. Keshena's scores on this same test were about 13 percent for the 3rd graders and 17 percent for the 6th graders, while Neopit's were 15 percent for the 3rd graders and 8 percent for the 6th graders. From these test scores, it can be seen that education was not improved when termination occurred and the Indians' level of education was nowhere near that of whites in the area.[141]

Terminated tribal children struggled to stay in school, and those who did were excluded from programs that paid for higher Indian education. In 1970 the BIA began to make annual grants that gave scholarships to Indians to attend college. This helped the non-terminated tribes, but individuals within terminated tribes were not allowed to apply for these funds. As a result, individuals who were successful and managed to graduate from high school had trouble going to college because they could not apply for scholarship assistance.[142]

Health care[edit]

The Indian Health Service provided health care for many Indian tribes, but once a tribe was terminated they lost their eligibility.[14] Many tribes no longer had easy access to hospitals and had no means to get health care. For example, the Menominee people had no tribal hospitals or clinics. The tribal hospital at Keshena had to close because it did not meet state standards, and the lack of funds available prevented the county from making improvements. Along with the hospital, the tribal clinic was also closed after termination occurred.[143] When there was a tuberculosis epidemic, 25 percent of the people were affected and had no means to get treatment because there was no longer a hospital or a clinic.[144] The health standards of Indians fell well below those of whites. The Menominee tribe had three times the infant mortality rate as the rest of the state. Dental care was also affected by termination; ninety percent of school age children in the Menominee tribe were in need of dental care, which was no longer provided as a free service since they did not have tribal status.[140] The Western Oregon tribes who were terminated, much like the Menominee tribe, also felt the effects of termination on their health care services. In a 1976 survey, 75 percent of the Indians in Western Oregon reported needing dental care and 30 percent were in need of eyeglasses. In addition to affecting adults, schools also reported that the primary problem for Indian children was the need of medical treatment that their parents could not afford.[142]

Many Indians relocated off the reservations during termination and also had no access to health care. When they relocated they were given private health care for six months, but then they had none unless they were close to a city Indian health care facility. Eventually the Bureau of Indian Affairs could not provide necessary health services for the many tribes that were terminated, and congress eventually had to reform the Indian health care policy.[145] Although termination had devastating effects on the health care for Indians in general, it did at least help create the Indian Health Service.

Economy[edit]

Termination, although not the only cause of Indian poverty, had a significant effect on it. The Menominee tribe proves a strong example of this; although the economy of the Menominee tribe had never flourished, it became even worse after the tribe was terminated. Prior to termination, Menominee income centered around the mill which was built on a community philosophy and tried to employ as many individuals as possible. After termination the mill was run as a business and unemployment rose to between 18 and 28 percent. The mill did generate increased net sales, however; $4,865,000 in 1973 compared to $1,660,700 in 1961. Despite higher sales, the mill's net loss was also much higher in 1973 ($709,000 compared with only a net loss of $108,700 in 1961); this was largely due to the mill's property taxes increasing from $164,000 in 1961 to $607,300 in 1973.[141] With no new industry and the new taxes being introduced, 80 percent of the tribal population fell below the poverty line. In the 1960s, they were forced to sell ancestral land and went from having $10 million in a federal reserve to being considered a "pocket of poverty". Welfare costs within the county also increased during the period of termination. In 1963, tribal members were given a total of $49,723 for welfare, but by 1968 the amount had nearly doubled. As termination continued, the struggles only became worse for the tribe.[140]

As termination continued, the unemployment rates continued to increase. The Menominee tribe had 800 individuals within the tribe and 220 individuals who were unemployed in June 1968. By June 1973, right before the termination policy ended, the tribe had almost a 40 percent unemployment rate, with only 660 individuals in the tribe and 260 individuals who were unemployed.[141]

The Menominee Indians experienced high poverty rates from the very beginning of termination, unlike the Klamath Tribe which was able to escape poverty for a brief period. The Klamath tribe had for years been living off timber and revenue from leasing tribal lands. When termination occurred, tribal land was sold and most of the Klamath tribe was considered above the poverty line, because each tribal member gained $40,000 from the sale. While they had escaped poverty briefly, their economy still suffered from termination. Most families quickly spent the money earned from the initial land sale and were forced to sell more land in order obtain food for the family. After just a few years, the Klamath tribe was in the same situation as many other tribes that were terminated.[142]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]