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ERIC Number: EJ867168
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
"We Were Very Afraid": The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Politics, Identity, and the Perception of Termination, 1971-2003
Puisto, Jaakko
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v33 n2 p45-66 2009
The federal policy of termination against Native Americans was on a high roll from 1946 to 1954. The policy received explicit expression in House Concurrent Resolution 108, passed in 1953, which stated that "Indians should be made subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States" and that "at the earliest possible time, all the Indian tribes should be freed from federal supervision and control and from all disabilities and limitations specially applicable to Indians." The policy culminated in 1954, when the Senate and House Indian Affairs Subcommittees organized joint sessions on the termination of twelve reservations, including the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Historians have generally argued that the termination policy ended either in the 1960s with the civil rights movement or at the latest when President Richard Nixon publicly declared the end to the policy in his address to the US Congress on 8 July 1970. By that time federal Indian affairs had moved toward self-determination policy, whereby American Indians could and should obtain more responsibility for running their own reservations with reduced federal input. This article proposes to present a reevaluation of termination by using the Salish and Kootenai as a case study and specifically focuses on the internal dynamics of the tribal politics from the early 1970s to the 2003 referendum on the linear descent proposal, which to many tribal members meant diluting tribal "blood" so significantly that it would parallel termination of the Salish and Kootenai tribes. This time termination would not mean legal abolition of the tribes or their reservation, as in the proposed federal policy of the 1950s, but would mean opening tribal enrollment to lineal descendants, many of them practically "white," which to a majority of tribal members would mean de facto termination of tribal identity. (Contains 1 figure and 73 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Montana