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Public Law 280 (L25) Dr. Anton Treuer Bemidji State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Law 280 (L25) Dr. Anton Treuer Bemidji State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Law 280 (L25) Dr. Anton Treuer Bemidji State University

2 Merriam Report Review Exposed problems with boarding schools: malnutrition of students, harsh physical punishments, deaths Exposed poverty: Indians making 1/7 of the average American household income Failure of allotment and assimilation programs to improve life for Indians or assimilate them into mainstream

3 John Collier & Indian New Deal Review BIA becomes advisory not supervisory Work program, public health, education funding Indian Reorganization Act: end allotment, enable creation of modern tribal government

4 Unraveling the Indian New Deal Indian resistance – 77 tribes voted not to accept IRA – 17 accepted it against their will – More than 50,000 Indians not recognized as such by federal government – Over 100,000 Indians in OK not affected by IRA

5 Unraveling the Indian New Deal Nonnative resistance to IRA & Collier – Collier seen as a radical, segregationist, communist – BIA moved temporarily to Chicago, 1941 to distance BIA from legislators and President – Several attempts to repeal IRA – Reservations are negative: relics of a racist past, obstacle to assimilation – Desire for unity, consensus during WWII (in spite of Japanese internment camps & anti-immigration) – Navajo Code Talkers unnoticed – Collier resigns, 1945

6 Policy Shift Previous policies focused on changing Indians, but also isolating them from whites: reservations, boarding schools, allotment, even citizenship Now policy-makers advocated assimilation by integration: relocating Indians away from home communities and terminating tribal sovereignty

7 Indian Claims Commission Clean up past messes Cloud titles turned clean Quantify solutions to complex problems Tribes have to establish competing claims to prove who got cheated No apologies, no reparations

8 Relocation Entice Indians to move to urban areas: Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago One-way bus fare and first month’s rent supplied by government Once relocated, Indian families found little economic opportunity Put first significant numbers of Indian on welfare – entitlement mentality Cost the government more than it saved

9 Relocations Advertisements

10 Relocation Families

11 Effects of Relocation Urbanization is permanent: most tribes have half their population living off-reservation, 37% of Indians in MN in the 7 country metro Red Lake and many other reservations establish urban offices to outreach constituents Poverty, gangs, drop out rates all higher for urban Indians than their reservation counterparts

12 Termination Prelude: full lecture on subject later Disband tribal governments, making Indians American with tribal heritage but without tribal government, land, or assistance Menominee terminated

13 Indian Health Service Treaty-stipulated obligation to many tribes Reorganized under U.S. Public Health Program, 1954 Quality of care Privacy Sterilization: 25,000 tubal ligations by 1975 without consent

14 Public Law 280, 1953 Federal congressional act: “Only Congress shall…” Test case, affecting MN, WI, CA, NEB, OR Other states added later

15 Public Law 280 Jurisdiction Before PL 280 Federal government has plenary power (Kagama decision) Federal government has jurisdiction over Major Crimes (Major Crimes Act, 1885) State has no authority over tribes Tribes maintain civil and criminal jurisdiction over all but major crimes Jurisdiction After PL 280 Federal government has plenary power (Kagama decision) State government has jurisdiction over crime Tribes maintain civil jurisdiction Only affects tribes in named states Treaty rights not affected

16 Red Lake Exempted Giniwgwaneyaash Scrutinized legislative agenda and intervened Angry testimony in Washington Bill amended to exclude Red Lake before it came to a vote Roger Jourdain

17 Eroding PL 280 Many tribes seek exemption from PL 280 Boise Forte (Nett Lake, Vermilion, Deer Creek) exempted in 1975 All tribes in MN except Fond du Lac have tribal courts and police Double jeopardy – separate sovereigns

18 New Assimilation Approach Reservation period, up to 1933: allotment, boarding schools – keep them separate and assimilate them before integration Indian New Deal period, : expanding tribal sovereignty and autonomy Post-IRA period, : relocation, termination, PL assimilate by integration


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