An interesting yet often overlooked facet of Richard M. Nixon’s consequential presidency was his administration’s ambitious efforts to improve the responsiveness and efficiency of federal grants in aid programs. In order to encourage federal agencies to cooperate with each other, to coordinate their efforts, and to make them more accessible to the people, Nixon created ten Federal Regional Councils (FRCs) and directed major grant making agencies to establish field offices in each of them. In keeping with the administration’s emphasis on decentralization (or New Federalism), the FRCs sought to reverse the concentration of power in Washington, DC, by moving decision making closer to the point of delivery of services and to empower state and local governments to administer federally assisted programs. In theory at least, state and local governments would embrace a more prominent role in identifying and prioritizing their needs and in managing the expenditure of federal funds. They would likewise support the streamlined and simplified application procedures that regionalization promised. At first glance, Native Americans appeared to be potential beneficiaries of these reforms since regionalization promised tribal governments improved access to federal assistance and because it appeared to be consistent with their aspirations for tribal self-determination. That said, most tribal governments as well as national Indian reform organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians and the National Tribal Chairmen’s Association opposed regionalization and worked strenuously to alter its application to tribes. This study seeks to explain Indian opposition to regionalization along with subsequent efforts to modify regionalization to reflect tribal aspirations. In the end, they were largely successful in resisting, ignoring, and/or adapting to the demands of regionalization until the entire effort was abandoned.


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pp. 121-151
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