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Opinion
Opinion: Downfall of Indians traced to Army, BIA


"As the economists Terry Anderson and Fred McChesney have documented, the downfall of the American Indians correlates neatly with the rise of two federal bureaucracies.

The first was the standing army established during the Mexican War of the 1840's. Before then, settlers who wanted Indian land usually had to fight for it themselves or rely on local militias, so they were inclined to look for peaceful solutions. From 1790 to 1840, the number of treaties signed with Indians each decade far exceeded the number of battles with them.

Indians no longer had any bargaining power, and they were powerless to resist the troops that avenged Custer's death. They were consigned to reservations and ostensibly given land, but it was administered by another bureaucracy, the agency that would grow into what's now the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The agency, in addition to giving some of the best land away to whites, allotted parcels to individual Indians with the goal of gradually transferring all the land and ending federal supervision. But what self-respecting bureaucrats work themselves out of a job?"

Get the Story:
John Tierney: Bureaucrats and Indians (The New York Times 6/28)
pwnyt

Relevant Documents:
Trust Reform and Cobell Settlement Workgroup Principles for Legislation (June 2005)

Relevant Links:
National Congress of American Indians - http://www.ncai.org
Intertribal Trust Fund Monitoring Association - http://www.itmatrustfunds.org
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton - http://www.indiantrust.com
Cobell v. Norton, Department of Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/civil/cases/cobell/index.htm
Senate Indian Affairs Committee - http://indian.senate.gov

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