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Problems of the American Indian: The Forgotten Americans
Digital History ID 718

Author:   Lyndon Johnson

Annotation: In Washington, D.C., Native American demands for self-determination began to be heard. In a special message to Congress, President Lyndon Johnson called for a new direction for national policy.

Document: I propose a new goal for our Indian programs: A goal that ends the old debate about “termination” of Indian programs and stresses self-determination; a goal that erases old attitudes of paternalism and promotes partnership self-help.

Our goal must be:
- A standard of living for the Indians equal to that of the country as a whole.
- Freedom of Choice: An opportunity to remain in their homelands, if they choose, without surrendering their dignity; an opportunity to move to the towns and cities of America, if they choose, equipped with the skills to live in equality and dignity.
- Full participation in the life of modern America, with a full share of economic opportunity and social justice.

I propose, in short, a policy of maximum choice for the American Indian: a policy expressed in programs of self-help, self-development, self-determination.

Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968-69, Vol. I, 336-37.

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