To what extent were the 1970s and 1980s the most significant period in the quest for Native American rights between 1865 and 1992?

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Dawes Act, Indian Reorganization Act Pages: 8 (2386 words) Published: November 19, 2014
To what extent were the 1970s and 1980s the most significant period in the quest for Native American rights between 1865 and 1992? “From 1865 to 1992, a consistent and prominent aspect of Native American civil rights aspirations was the right to retain elements of self-determination. While the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 and government policy of termination in the 1950s constituted a process of ‘Americanisation’, under which the Federal Government looked to award what might be termed as ‘conventional’ civil rights to Native Americans, it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that the American Indian desire for self-determination began to be implemented, primarily through Supreme Court rulings, so that by 1992 the independence enjoyed by Native American tribes in 1865 had been partially restored. However, only changes in white attitudes towards Native Americans and the example of African American activists in the 1960s enabled the strides made towards securing self-determination in the following two decades.” Some specific reference required to 1970s/1980s in relation to 1992 Is the interpretation in the title explicitly supported, rejected or amended? Earlier periods may be characterised as the doomed quest to remain separate from the USA; survival through enforced acquiescence to federal policy. Dates as markers? Ensure the main body compares + contrasts different periods and is directed towards your line of argument. Persistently point the way to your answer to the interpretation offered in the title.

Significance of Supreme Court rulings
Pueblo Indians ruling in 1913, which removed land from NA possession Court overrules itself in Oneida v. Oneida and Madison Counties, New York (1985) Tribal courts gain recognition Fisher v. Montana (1976)

Essential role of Supreme Court and Presidency: not large enough voting block to put pressure on Congress Off the back of liberal Supreme Court that started to take off after the Brown Case 1954 in relation to AA. Strengthen periodization

Role of Congress
Indian Self-Determination Act
Compare with New Deal and Indian Reorganization Act: lasting impact of the Indian Self-Determination Act as compared to Wheeler Howard Act working to implement assimilation Further demonstrates necessity of favourable context, as created by Rights Revolution Hit and run: Dawes Act (1887), Curtis Act (1898) and Indian Citizenship Act (1924) * Strengthen periodization

NA Agency
Compare impact of AIM with AIDA and SAI
AAs set example, ‘kick the door open’
Compare Alcatraz with Birmingham: hard work already done by the AAs National Identity: comparisons with 1865-1914, when lack of unity between tribes cost the NA’s dearly * Strengthen periodization

Assess the view that the Supreme Court was more effective than Congress in supporting the rights of Native Americans from 1865 until 1992.


It is undeniable that the Supreme Court played an influential role during the Period of 1865 to 1992 in the realisation of Native American Civil Rights. Native American Civil Rights are identified as self-determination, the ability to exploit opportunities available on tribal lands and the return of tribal lands; whilst these may not be civil rights in a rigorous sense, they do constitute the aspirations of Native Americans within the USA and provide them with a sense of legitimacy. Whilst it can be understood that for much of the early period from 1865 the Federal Government did little to aid the development of Native American Civil Rights, by the end of the period the Supreme Court had played an influential role in enabling the Native Americans to progress within the Rights Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s initiated by African Americans. This prompted Native American Activism and the Supreme Court role in enabling the development of Self-Determination. In contrast the role of Congress was limited due to its political nature Native Americans were not a topical issue high on the agenda due to...
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