1953 August 1

Native-American Tribal Termination Policy Begins


The federal policy of terminating Native-American tribes began on this day with the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 108. Termination meant that a tribe was no longer officially recognized as a sovereign nation by the federal government. Termination was part of the policy of assimilating Native-Americans into mainstream American life. Between 1953 and 1964, a total of 109 tribes were terminated. The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska was the last to be terminated, in 1966.

Attitudes had changed among Native-Americans and other Americans by the 1960s as a result of the Native American rights movement. Both President Lyndon Johnson and President Richard Nixon supported a policy of self-determination. See President Nixon’s speech on July 8, 1970, when he declared “Forced termination is wrong,” and the end of the termination policy January 4, 1975.

Learn more at the Native American Rights Fund: http://www.narf.org/

Read: George Castile, To Show Heart: Native American Self-Determination and Federal Indian Policy, 1960–1975 (1998)

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