Was the Pueblo Lands Act for or against Native American rights?What about the law helped or did not help Native Americans claim their property rights?

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The Pueblo Lands Act, which was passed by congress in 1924, had mixed results for the Native Americans of the southwest and therefore cannot be called simply “pro-Indian” or “anti-Indian”

The original law was passed with several empowerment goals in mind. It would sort out conflicting land claims and give disenfranchised tribes the title to their ancestral homelands, both of which were admirable goals that could be called “pro-Indian.” In the case that a tribe’s lands were found to have been illegally or unfairly taken away from them, the act would provide compensation. It even compensated white landowners who would have their titles striped away and returned to the natives if they were found to have been in possession of Indian lands illegally. Indians also received free legal council under the act.  

On the “anti-Indian” side of the law, all decisions regarding land claims were made by a three-member panel, which did not include any Native Americans. Natives could also lose their lands if they were deemed to have been “adversely possessed” This led to some legitimate claims being quietly killed in the New Mexico district court.

So, the legacy of this law is very a mixed on for Native Americans.    


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