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Watergate: President Nixon: Champion for Native Americans

Senior Thesis

Advancement of Native American Rights (RN Foundation)

Champion for Native Americans (RN Foundation)

President Nixon made several great strides in federal Indian policy, including:

  • Returning the sacred Blue Lake to the people of Taos Pueblo in 1970.
  • Enacting the Menominee Restoration Act, restoring the recognition of the previously terminated tribe in 1973.
  • Signing the Indian Healthcare Act.
  • Laid the groundwork for the signing of the Indian Self-Determination Act.
  • Increasing the budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) by 214%.
  • Establishing the first special office on Indian Water Rights.
  • Passing the Indian Financing Act of 1974, a bill supporting tribal commercial development.
  • Pledging that all available BIA funds be arranged to fit priorities set by tribal governments themselves.

President Nixon’s vision of self-determination for the first Americans ended two centuries of destructive federal policies, ushering in a new era for Native Americans to control their own destiny.

In 1975 Congress passed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, perhaps the most significant piece of legislation for Native American rights since the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Although Nixon had resigned the presidency before being able to sign it, he had laid the groundwork for its passage. 


Nixon Quote

"It is long past time that the Indian policies of the Federal government began to recognize and build upon the capacities and insights of the Indian people. Both as a matter of Justice and as a matter of enlightened social policy, we must begin to act on the basis of what the Indians themselves have long been telling us. The time has come to break decisively with the past and to create the conditions for a new era in which the Indian future is determined by Indian acts and Indian decisions." - President Richard Nixon

Books in WorldCat (may need to Interlibrary Loan)