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Week Fifteen: New Deal for Native Americans
May 7 - 11


John Collier with two unidentified Indian men.
National Archives

For more information click on the image.

This week we take up the topic of the Indian New Deal.  The Lecture by Professor Wiltse (approximately 36 minutes) deals with the changes in federal policy during this period and what those changes meant on the ground to the Blackfeet.

Maps & Cityscapes shows contemporary maps of Butte, Spokane, and Tacoma as well as a discussion of bridge engineering failure and recovery in Tacoma.

Tribal Perspectives presents interviews relating how the New Deal policies affected tribal culture and government.  People and the Humanities discusses Indian author D’Arcy McNickle, the National Bison Range, and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.  Research points you towards tribal constitutions and, as always, our top reading picks.  

Assignment suggestions for this week’s content include:

  • How have other countries reorganized their policies regarding their native peoples or ethnic minorities?  Specifically, countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and all of Latin America present interesting case studies.  Alternately, countries such as China and Japan have ethnic minorities who have peculiar relationships with their governments.  What influences the ways each country manages these minorities, and what causes changes to those policies?
  • What are current interpretations of the IRA?  Was it a success or a failure?  Did it go too far or not far enough?  Has opinion of its meaning and success rate changed over the last fifty years?  Is it time for a new IRA?
  • What does a comparison between a map of your area from the beginning of this course and a map from 1940 reveal?  What changed and what stayed the same?  Why?