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Indian Self Determination Act 1975 - Essay Example

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Indian Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act 1975 Abstract Up until 1975, the philosophies governing US federal administration of Indian reserves in different periods oscillated widely between extremes of cultural suppression and assimilation ideology and bureaucratic paternalism…
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Indian Self Determination Act 1975
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Indian Self Determination Act 1975

Download file to see previous pages... (Indian Country Today 2005). At different times they ranged from extremes of conservative ideology (termination) to liberal (trust status bureaucracy) making it almost impossible for Indian community leaders to adequately plan and execute successful strategies. This Act promised a more Indian driven approach of self-determination to enhance the stability and improvement of social and economic conditions for the Indian people.. Within federal law it provided for maximum participation for Indians in their own governance and education. Certainly economically the policy has proven to be a success since in the 90s Indian per capita income has risen 33 percent compared to the national US rate of 11 percent. However, in 2000 per capita income was still less than half of the US average. Nevertheless in the last decade of the 20th century there was a striking improvement in education and housing as well as income. Although Indian per capita income gained 49 percent in the 1970s, this was primarily due to government grants, which have been decimated by subsequent administrations. This source of income has been replaced by Indian generated made possible by the above Act and subsequent legislation such as the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Effect of the Act After the Indian Self Determination Act of 1975 some tribes took advantage of the later Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to set up profitable gaming facilities such as bingo halls. Therefore some people assume that improved Indian economic conditions were due to the advent of the gaming operations. However other tribes such as the Navajo also improved their economic prospects without going into gaming (Indian Country Today 2005) Therefore, I submit increased Indian prosperity was due fundamentally to the enabling 1975 legislation, and the operation of gaming facilities was only one of many paths to this increased prosperity. Even before the 1975 Act the first contemporary Indian controlled school was established by the Navajo in 1966 as a departure from the assimilation model to one in which education was based on their own cultural and linguistic needs (Tippeconnic 2000). The success of this educational initiative formed the blueprint for the 1975 Act giving similar rights to all tribes and was as important as the concurrent gaining of land, water and governance rights. The advent of Indian controlled schools has resulted in improved academic achievement, lower drop out rates and more students succeeding at the post secondary level. Indian schools without federal funding naturally have the greatest control over their curriculum, but of course more limited resources. While the 1975 Act promotes a policy of Indian self-determination, some communities still resent this and feel Indians must assimilate into the dominant culture. Also, although the 1975 Act was intended to give Indians a great degree of self-determination, they are still subject to federal legal jurisdiction even for local issues. For example, a Navajo Supreme Court ruled in about 2000 that it lacked jurisdiction in an employment case because the school board involved was funded with grants from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.(Tohtsin 2001) Therefore any suit against the school board must be brought in federal court rather than the Navajo Supreme Court. Conclusion In spite of those people including some politicians, who feel that Indians should abandon their own culture and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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