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Termination Revisited: American Indians on the Trail to Self-Determination, 1933-1953

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Termination Revisited: American Indians on the Trail to Self-Determination, 1933-1953

by Kenneth R Philp

About this title: In this essential contribution to twentieth-century Native history, Kenneth R. Philp reassesses the controversial and ultimately failed federal policy of termination. In the years after World War II, federal policy toward the Indian reservation system changed markedly. Reservations were seen as bastions of an old colonial order, as economically deprived areas in need of revitalization, and as obstacles to large-scale federal projects. Motivated by these views, President Truman, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Myer, and certain members of Congress worked to end the reservation system. Federal policies set during this period strongly encouraged Native peoples to terminate their status as wards of the American government, relocate to prosperous cities, and develop long-range plans to secure greater political and economic power for themselves. Until recently scholars have largely portrayed the termination years as a regressive era in which Indians encountered renewed assaults on tribalism, lost important rights, and were placed on the road to dispossession. Termination Revisited offers a more complex portrait of Native responses to termination. By focusing on the diverse reactions of Native peoples to the concept of self-determination, Philp demonstrates how widely the interpretations of this important concept and the proposed strategy of termination varied.

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