TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA T-Shirt
The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act or informally, the Indian New Deal or the Indian Magna Charta, was a U.S. federal legislation which secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives. These include a reversal of the Dawes Act's privatization of common holdings of American Indians and a return to local self-government on a tribal basis. The Act also restored to Native Americans the management of their assets (being mainly land) and included provisions intended to create a sound economic foundation for the inhabitants of Indian reservations. Section 18 of the IRA conditions application of the IRA on a majority vote of the affected Indian nation or tribe within one year of the effective date of the act (25 U.S.C. 478). The IRA was perhaps the most significant initiative of John Collier Sr., Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1933 - 1945. --------------- The act did not require tribes to adopt a constitution. However, if the tribe chose to do so, the constitution had to: 1. allow the tribal council to employ legal counsel; 2. prohibit the tribal council from engaging any land transitions without majority approval of the tribe; and, 3. authorize the tribal council to negotiate with the Federal, State, and local governments. Evidently, some of these restrictions were eliminated by the Native American Technical Corrections Act of 2003. -------------- The act slowed the practice of assigning tribal lands to individual tribal members and reduced the loss, through the practice of checkerboard land sales to non-members within tribal areas, of native holdings. Owing to this Act and to other actions of federal courts and the government, over two million acres (8,000 km²) of land were returned to various tribes in the first 20 years after passage of the act. In 1954, the United States Department of Interior began implementing the termination and relocation phases of the Act. Among other effects, termination resulted in the legal dismantling of 61 tribal nations within the United States.