Documents of United States Indian Policy

By Francis Paul Prucha | Go to book overview

the termination policy by enacting the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. However, because the termination policy declared in H. Con. Res. 108 has not been expressly and formally repudiated by a concurrent resolution of Congress, it continues to create among the Indian people an apprehension that the United States may not in the future honor the unique relationship between the Indian people and the Federal Government. A lingering threat of termination has no place in this administration's policy of self-government for Indian tribes, and I ask Congress to again express its support of self-government.

These actions are but the first steps in restoring control to tribal governments. Much more needs to be done. Without sound reservation economies, the concept of selfgovernment has little meaning. In the past, despite good intentions, the Federal Government has been one of the major obstacles to economic progress. This administration intends to remove the impediments to economic development and to encourage cooperative efforts among the tribes, the Federal Government, and the private sector in developing reservation economies.

Development of Reservation Economies

The economies of American Indian reservations are extremely depressed, with unemployment rates among the highest in the country. Indian leaders have told this administration that the development of reservation economies is their number one priority. Growing economies provide jobs, promote self-sufficiency, and provide revenue for essential services. Past attempts to stimulate growth have been fragmented and largely ineffective. As a result, involvement of private industry has been limited, with only infrequent success. Developing reservation economies offers a special challenge: devising investment procedures consistent with the trust status, removing legal barriers which restrict the type of contracts tribes can enter into, and reducing the numerous and complex regulations which hinder economic growth.

Tribes have had limited opportunities to invest in their own economies, because often there has been no established resource base for community investment and development. Many reservations lack a developed physical infrastructure, including utilities, transportation, and other public services. They also often lack the regulatory, adjudicatory, and enforcement mechanisms necessary to interact with the private sector for reservation economic development. Development on the reservation offers potential for tribes and individual entrepreneurs in manufacturing, agribusiness, and modern technology, as well as fishing, livestock, arts and crafts, and other traditional livelihoods. …

[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1983, 1: 96–98.]


195
Federal Acknowledgement of Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island
February 2, 1983

A large number of Indian communities not officially recognized as tribes by the federal government have petitioned for recognition. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Acknowledgement Branch investigates each case; those that meet the criteria set forth in the directives issued on October 2, 1978, are recognized. One successful tribe was the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island.

This notice is published in the exercise of authority delegated by the Secretary of the Interior to the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs by 209 DM 8.

Pursuant to 25 CFR 83.9(h) notice is hereby given that the Assistant Secretary acknowledges that the Narragansett Indian Tribe, c/o Mr. George Watson, Route 2, Charlestown, Rhode Island 02813, exists as an Indian tribe. This notice is based on a determination that the group satisfies the criteria set forth in 25 CFR 83.7.

The Narragansett Indian Tribe is the modern successor of the Narragansett and Niantic tribes which, in aboriginal times, inhabited the area which is today the state of Rhode Island. Members of the tribe are lineal descendants of the aboriginal Niantic and

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