Indian Reorganization Act (1934)

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  • The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act, was the centerpiece of the Indian New Deal. Passed in 1934, it attempted to reverse some of the damage caused by the allotment policy by restoring tribal control over lands and legal affairs while promoting Indian culture. The allotment policy, implemented by the Dawes Act of 1887, broke up tribal landholdings into individual allotments with the goal of turning Indians into small farmers as a means of assimilating them into American society. Largely unsuccessful in its main goal, it did succeed in depriving Indian tribes of approximately two-thirds of their remaining lands. Strongly backed by Office of Indian Affairs commissioner John Collier, the legislation received a mixed reception from Native Americans.

    Collier, appointed as Indian ...

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