Indians and the American West in the Twentieth Century

By Donald Lee Parman | Go to book overview

9.
Self-Determination
and Red Power

1960s and 1970s

After 1960 major changes took place in federal policy and in Indian thought and behavior. Although termination had stalled by the late 1950s, Indians feared the John F. Kennedy administration's shift toward self-determination. Many Indian leaders saw the new and ill-defined national policy as termination in disguise. These misgivings, and Indian protest tactics derived from the civil rights and anti-war movements, produced dramatic confrontations, such as fish-ins in the Pacific Northwest, the seizure of Alcatraz, the occupation and trashing of the BIA building, Wounded Knee II, and a host of lesser protests.

Indians during the 1960s and 1970s became more adamant, vocal, and sophisticated about tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction and their individual legal status. Indian lobbying, meantime, helped produce important legislation on civil rights, religious freedom, health care, and education. Through favorable court decisions and their claims to water rights and energy resources, Indians served notice that they wanted a greater voice in solving economic problems.

As the West emerged from the postwar boom and achieved a more mature economy, residents discovered that it was not entirely divorced from past problems. Many areas, for example, remained dependent on exporting unprocessed or semi-processed goods. Westerners could take comfort in the continued growth of "clean" defense manufacturing and high technology industries, but both old and new enterprises remained subject to boom and bust cycles. Natural resource industries — lumber, mining, and energy — all underwent cycles of growth and depression after 1960. The West was also affected by developments abroad. The oil embargo in the mid-1970s resulted in a boom for western energy resources followed by a dramatic down-turn. Above all, the region remained tied to the federal government, which, in fact, replaced Wall Street as the West's favorite "whipping boy."

-148-

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Indians and the American West in the Twentieth Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • The Heritage of Severalty 1
  • The Progressive Era, 1900-17 11
  • Dissolving the Five Civilized Tribes 52
  • The War to Assimilate All Indians 59
  • From War to Depression, 1919-29 71
  • Depression and the New Deal 89
  • World War II the Exodus 107
  • The Postwar Era, 1945-61 123
  • Self-Determination and Red Power - 1960s and 1970s 148
  • The New Indian Wars - Energy, Water, and Autonomy 169
  • Conclusions 182
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliography 213
  • Index 225
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