Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act (Racial and Ethnic Relations in America)
Article abstract: This act made provision for all Indian tribes, bands, or groups in Oklahoma to adopt a constitution allowing for self-government, allowed the secretary of the interior to purchase land to be held in trust for all Oklahoma Indians, and allowed small groups of Indians to form a local cooperative association and receive interest-free loans from the Revolving Loan Fund for Indians.
A major reform of U.S. policy toward American Indians resulted in the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA, or Wheeler-Howard Act), enacted by Congress on June 18, 1934. With this act, further allotment of tribal lands to individual Indians was prohibited, purchase of additional lands for Indians by the secretary of the interior was authorized, and a fund (the Revolving Loan Fund for Indians) was established that could be used for tribal enterprises. The IRA allowed and encouraged the tribes or groups to adopt written constitutions allowing for self-government, gave Indians applying for positions in the Bureau of Indian Affairs preference over other applicants, and called for very strict conservation practices on Indian lands. Oklahoma, however, was excluded from the IRA because the IRA was essentially a system of reservation government, and it was deemed inappropriate for Oklahoma because, at the time of statehood, the Five Civilized Tribes had given up their autonomy.
In 1936, the benefits of the IRA were extended to Oklahoma by way of a...
(The entire section is 451 words.)
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