Terry Beckwith: Termination today taking place behind scenes

"I grew up during the Termination Era of the 1950s. The 1950s style termination was wide open. Congress told the tribes they were going to terminate the federal tribal relationship. Congressional hearings were held on the reservation. House Concurrent Resolution No. 108 passed Aug. 1, 1953 declaring an end to the federal supervision over tribes. After the Klamath Tribe was terminated the “Northwest Termination Team” travelled to the Colville Reservation. They met up with Lucy Covington and the fight was on. Colville successfully fought direct termination. All of Indian Country was impacted by termination.

Termination today is quietly taking place behind the scenes. Termination today is directed at the individual landowner and not so much the tribe. While the 1950s termination was mostly Eisenhower Administration policy, current termination policies are being implemented by the Obama Administration. This is a major disappointment to those of us that placed our hopes on fairness in this administration.

In a federal register notice of Feb. 10, 2011, the Department of Interior takes the position that they have always considered improvements non-trust property. In my 39 years working in Indian realty, I have never heard of the department taking the position that improvements to land were anything other than real property. Real property includes land and anything attached, for example homes, garages, fences, wells. This definition is common law and applies to all property in America except. Why would the government do this?"

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Terry Beckwith: Is Indian Country ready for termination? (Buffalo's Fire 3/5)

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