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From Termination to Self-Determination
Digital History ID 719

Author:   Philleo Nash

Annotation: Philleo Nash, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs under President John F. Kennedy, declares that Indian policy must follow a “new trail” emphasizing “maximum self-sufficiency and full participation in American life.”

Document: A “New Trail” for Indians leading to equal citizenship rights and benefits, maximum self-sufficiency and full participation in American life became the keynote...of the Department of the Interior shortly after the close of the 1961 fiscal year....

Probably the most important single recommendation [by a special task force] was for a shift in program emphasis away from termination of Federal trust relationships toward greater development of the human and natural resources on Indian reservations.

This was coupled, however, with a recommendation that eligibility for special Federal service be withdrawn from “Indians with substantial incomes and superior educational experience, who are as competent as most non-Indians to look after their own affairs”....

In addition, the report recommended (1) more vigorous efforts to attract industry to reservation areas, (2) an expanded program of vocational training and placement, (3) creation of a special Reservation Development Loan fund and enlargement of the present Revolving Loan Fund, (4) establishment of a statutory Advisory Board on Indian Affairs, (5) negotiation with States and counties, and resort to the courts where necessary, to make certain that off-reservation Indians are accorded the same rights and privileges as other citizens of their areas, (6) collaboration with States and tribes to bring tribal law and order codes into conformity with those of the states and counties where reservations are located, (7) acceleration in the adjudication of cases pending before the Indian Claims Commission, and (8) more active and widespread efforts to inform the public about the status of the Indian people and the nature of their problems....

As a step toward transferring the responsibility for Indian education to local school districts, the Task Force urged renovation of present Federal school buildings, construction of new plants, and road improvements so that more Indian children can be bussed to classes. It also called for greater efforts to involve Indian parents in school planning and parent-teacher activities.

Source: Resources for Tomorrow: 1961. Annual Report, The Secretary of the Interior (Washington: Government Printing office, 1961), 277-79.

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