1968 April 11

Congress Passes Indian Civil Rights Act


Title II of the 1968 Civil Rights Act (which also included both the federal Fair Housing Act and the Anti-Riot Act) is often referred to as the Indian Civil Rights Act. The law established the First Amendment rights of Native-Americans vis-à-vis tribal governments, along with the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and protection against self-incrimination. The law did not, however, include an establishment of religion clause, the right to a jury trial, and some other provisions of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

Excerpts from the Indian Civil Rights Act:

No Indian tribe in exercising powers of self-government shall—

  1. make or enforce any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition for a redress of grievances;
  2. violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizures, nor issue warrants, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized;

Read: Steven L. Pevar, The Rights of Indians and Tribes (2012)

Read the text of the Indian Civil Rights Act: http://www.tribal-institute.org/lists/icra1968.htm

Learn more: Paul Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (1996)

Learn more at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute: http://www.tribal-institute.org/lists/contact_us.htm

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