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The Indian Reorganization Act Paper

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The Indian Reorganization
Act
The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), enacted by the US congress in 1934, served to
amend the earlier misguided attempts to integrate the Native population into the whole and
preserve the preexisting culture and tradition. The act entailed several restorative actions,
including ending the allotment of tribal land, encouraging self-government within Native tribes,
and creating a revolving loan program to be utilized for tribal endeavors. Native lands could no
longer be seized without tribal consent, and the Secretary of the Interior was enabled to
proclaim new reservations on tribal lands in trust. Through this, Native tribes gained the ability
to manage their own assets and a newfound economic and cultural independence.
The IRA was introduced by John Collier, a sociologist, Native American advocate, and
Commissioner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Before his role as Commissioner, Collier had
been an activist for Native American affairs, fighting detrimental policies and serving as the
executive secretary for the American Indian Defense Association until 1933. One particular
issue that Collier advocated against was the Dawes Act of 1887. The Dawes Act seeked to adapt
Native Americans into the majority through allotting plots of common land to individual Native
Americans, and creating boarding schools for tribal children. Much Native presence was lost as
a result of the legislature, as the tribal land base had decreased from 137 million acres to 47
million acres as reported in 1928. Thus, the Dawes Act was a precursor to the Indian
Restoration Act.

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Economic
Moral
Strategic
Through the The Indian
Reorganization Act, funds
were authorized for the
establishment of a revolving
credit program for tribal land
purchases, educational
programs, and aiding tribal
infrastructure. Through this
revolving credit fund, many
Native Americans improved
their economic position; they
were able to add millions of
additional acres to the
reservations and improve
staffs and services.
The Dawes General
Allotment Act of 1887
granted Native Americans
small parcels of land that did
not allow them to grow their
own food or raise their own
livestock. It had a
devastating effect and
weakened the social structure
of tribes. Life on these
reservations was
characterized by disease, filth,
poverty, and depression. A
report in 1924 recommended
reform that would reestablish
tribal self government,
education, and health
services. The Indian
Reorganization Act addressed
these failures and gave the
tribes the power to manage
themselves.
The Indian Reorganization
Act was part of Roosevelt’s
New Deal, in fact, it is
sometimes referred to as the
Indian New Deal. Roosevelt’s
plan was to increase
productivity, working
conditions, education and
healthcare for the poorest
Americans, of whom many
were Native Americans. Like
the WPA and the CCC, the
IRA was designed to
empower citizens to improve
their lives by funnelling
public funds into these
communities.
The Indian Reorganization Act was created to not only benefit the United States
government, but also to find common ground with the Native-American tribes. This Act was
economically beneficial to the tribes, while also providing certain strategic advantages to
President Roosevelt. The morality component to this Act was to provide the tribes with better

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The Indian Reorganization Act The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), enacted by the US congress in 1934, served to amend the earlier misguided attempts to integrate the Native population into the whole and preserve the preexisting culture and tradition. The act entailed several restorative actions, including ending the allotment of tribal land, encouraging self-government within Native tribes, and creating a revolving loan program to be utilized for tribal endeavors. Native lands could no longer be seized without tribal consent, and the Secretary of the Interior was enabled to proclaim new reservations on tribal lands in trust. Through this, Native tribes gained the ability to manage their own assets and a newfound economic and cultural independence. The IRA was introduced by John Collier, a sociologist, Native American advocate, and Commissioner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Before his role as Commissioner, Collier had been an activist for Native American affairs, fighting detrimental policies and serving as the executive secretary for the American Indian Defense Association until 1933. One particular issue that Collier advocated against was the Dawes Act of 1887. The Dawes Act ...
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