Termination Policy

views updated


TERMINATION POLICY. After World War II, pressure in Congress mounted to reduce Washington's authority in the West, end the reservation system, and liquidate the government's responsibilities to Indians. In 1953 the House of Representatives passed Resolution 108, proposing an end to federal services for thirteen tribes deemed ready to handle their own affairs. The same year, Public Law 280 transferred jurisdiction over tribal lands to state and local governments in five states. Within a decade Congress terminated federal services to more than sixty groups, including the Menominees of Wisconsin and the Klamaths of Oregon, despite intense opposition by Indians. The effects of the laws on the Menominees and the Klamaths were disastrous, forcing many members of the tribes onto public assistance rolls. President John F. Kennedy halted further termination in 1961, and Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon replaced termination with a policy of encouraging Indian self-determination with continuing government assistance and services. After years of struggle the Menominees and Klamaths succeeded in having their tribal status restored in 1973 and 1986, respectively.


Fixico, Donald Lee. Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945–1960. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986.

Peroff, Nicholas C. Menominee Drums: Tribal Termination and Restoration, 1954–1974. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982.


See alsoBureau of Indian Affairs .