Termination, Relocation and Assimilation

937 words 4 pages
Julie D Freece
Tracy Derks
20 July 2015
Termination, Relocation and Assimilation Termination, Relocation and Assimilation; three words used by the United States government to describe programs designed to solve the “Indian problem”. These policies would provide the Indians an escape from impoverished reservations and a chance to live the American Dream. To the Indians, these three words described the incalculable loss of the “old ways” which included their culture, heritage and language. Without the support of their communities, thrust into urban life, many Indians found the experience demoralizing. Despite the unduly positive assertions made by those supporting the policies, in reality, termination and relocation
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Many critics of the program believed the problems the Indians were experiencing: alcoholism, crushing poverty and limited opportunity, were just moved to the cities they now lived in. Without the proper skills or training to obtain jobs, most Indians found themselves to be unemployed, discriminated against, and away from familiar surroundings, without any community support. Many returned home to their reservations.
Some tribal communities observed the happenings among terminated tribes and began to actively organize support to prevent further extermination of reservation communities. The support was in most cases, easily garnered as the terminations were unfunded mandates, which meant the states and local counties would have to foot the bill of any new costs of policing, schooling, etc. for the newly acquired territories without any additional funding from the government. (Champagne) By the end of the 1950’s tribal terminations were halted and some were averted. The Indians could begin once again, to rebuild their nation.
In conclusion, the Termination and Relocation Programs were not successful in assimilating Native Americans into main stream society. The BIA saw the Relocation Program as a way to destroy tribal identity. While the increase of Indians in cities helped to further cultural diversity, it also forged a new identity for that encompassed many tribes. This new identity helped unite