Indian New Deal (Racial and Ethnic Relations in America)
Article abstract: Sweeping reforms of the Bureau of Indian Affairs instituted under the directorship of John Collier.
The Indian New Deal refers to John Collier's innovative years as director of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (1933-1945). Collier was an energetic and humane visionary who sought to revolutionize federal Indian policy. The keystone of New Deal Indian reform was the Indian Reorganization Act, which ended allotment, organized tribal self-government, established revolving loan programs for tribes, and provided a mechanism for tribes to buy back lost lands. Collier also targeted Indian education and health for improvement. Day schools began to replace boarding schools, and preventive health programs reduced the incidence of certain diseases. Religious freedoms also were extended to Indian people during this time, and bans on the practice of traditional ceremonies were lifted.
Possibly the most lasting achievements in the New Deal era lay in the area of economic development. Tribes were aided in developing resources, preserving the reservation land base, and participating in a variety of public programs available to other Americans. Increasingly, Collier's revolutionary ideas were attacked, in part, because they encouraged Indian traditions and respect for Indian culture rather than assimilation of Indian people into mainstream American life. Collier resigned in 1945 amid increasing criticism, but he left a...
(The entire section is 218 words.)
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