Civil Rights Issues faced by Native Americans in the 1970’s.
Native American tribes were often relocated forceably as the USA expanded in a westerly direction. Tribes were often moved into reservations and their way of life was significantly changed. In 1924 the government introduced the Indian Citizenship Act. This granted Native Americans citizenship as a reward for their contribution during the First World War. The US government also recognises over 500 tribes as being separate political entities and allows them to be self governing on their reservations. Treaties signed with the tribes often grant the tribes several rights, in particular they aim to ensure:
- preserving the existence of the tribes
- protecting the tribe’s natural resources so they can continue to hunt and fish
- promoting Native American rights
- making sure the government is accountable to Native Americans
- not only developing Indian laws, but also educating their people about these laws.
In 1970 the Native American Rights Fund was established to ensure that these rights were not violated. In 1978 the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was introduced to ensure that traditional religious beliefs and customs were retained and secured.
Wikipedia – Indian Civil Rights Act 1968
Country Studies – The Native American Movement in the 60’s and 70’s.
Boston Globe – Obituary for Helen Scheirbeck, a leading activist of the 60’s and 70’s.
Knowitall.org – Timeline of Civil Rights for Native Americans.
Policy Almanac – Outlines current rights held by Native Americans.
Answers.com – Detailed description of the treaties and rights that are currently in place.
A Woman A Week – biography of an early Native American Rights activist