restricted access 152. Senator Watkins on Termination Policy, May1957
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239 areas continued to be the chief centers of relocation. On the reservations there was continued interest in relocation throughout the year. Relocation assistance funds were used up in almost every area, and at the end of the year there was a backlog of applications for relocation . Letters from relocated Indians to friends and relatives back on the reservation, describing their experiences and new standards of living, served to stimulate interest as did a decrease in employment opportunities in the vicinity of some of the reservations and a marked decrease in railroad employment. There was a slight tightening of the labor market during part of the year. However , through intensive efforts on the part of field relocation offices, it was still possible to assure permanent types of employment to almost all qualified workers who requested assistance in settling away from reservations. Field relocation offices followed a policy of securing employment for Indians in diversi- fied industries and with a large number of employers. This policy proved of great bene- fit when industrial disputes developed in certain industries on the west coast. To adjust to changes in the labor market which reduced employment in military installations and certain Government projects, the field relocation office formerly located in Salt Lake City was transferred to Oakland, Calif., effective June 1. The Chicago Field Relocation Office, in recognition of the needs of the growing number of relocatees in that city and in accordance with the Bureau policy of encouraging the development of non-Bureau facilities for Indians, assisted in the establishment of an All-Tribes American Indian Center in Chicago . This center raised its own funds, and under the directorship of a board composed almost entirely of Indians, began providing opportunities for Indian relocatees to meet, engage in social and recreational programs, exchange experiences, and assist each other. Its operations were completely independent of the Bureau. . . . [Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior , 1954, pp. 242–43.] 152. Senator Watkins on Termination Policy May 1957 The principal congressional promoter of the termination policy was Senator Arthur V. Watkins of Utah. In an article published in 1957 he gave a clear statement of the policy and of the arguments for it. Virtually since the first decade of our national life the Indian, as tribesman and individual , was accorded a status apart. Now, however, we think constructively and affirmatively of the Indian as a fellow American. We seek to assure that in health, education, and welfare, in social, political, economic, and cultural opportunity, he or she stands as one with us in the enjoyment and responsibilities of our national citizenship. It is particularly gratifying to know that recent years of united effort, mutual planning, and Indian self-appraisal truly have begun to bear increasing fruit. One facet of this over-all development concerns the freeing of the Indians from special federal restrictions on the property and the person of the tribes and their members. This is not a novel development, but a natural outgrowth of our relationship with the Indians . Congress is fully agreed upon its accomplishment . By unanimous vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives termination of such special federal supervision has been called for as soon as possible. . . . A little more than two years ago—June 17, 1954—President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill approved by the Eighty-third Congress that signified a landmark in Indian legislative history. By this measure’s terms an Indian tribe and its members, the Menominee of Wisconsin, were assured that after a brief transition period they would at last have full control of their own affairs and would possess all of the attributes of complete American citizenship. This was a most worthy moment in our history. We should all dwell upon its deep meaning. Considering the lengthy span of our Indian relationship , the recency of this event is significant. 240 Obviously, such affirmative action for the great majority of Indians has just begun. Moreover, it should be noted that the foundations laid are solid. Philosophically speaking, the Indian wardship problem brings up basically the questionable merit of treating the Indian of today as an Indian, rather than as a fellow American citizen. Now, doing away with restrictive federal supervision over Indians, as such, does not affect the retention of those cultural and racial qualities which people of Indian descent would wish to retain; many of us are proud of our ancestral heritage, but that...