termination policy

A Discussion On The Controversial Indian Termination Policy

4 Mins Read December, 12 2023 Posted by Debkanya Bhattacharya

When the term “termination policy” comes into a conversation, our minds often rush to the HR handbooks. We think of labor laws and employment laws. Most of us are familiar with the different types of laws. Each type comes with its unique character. For example, healthcare law relat5es to healthcare in the US.

However, there’s a darker chapter of American laws that we hardly talk about. This chapter is a sad and unfortunate part of the American history. It has a familiar name. Historians and experts call it the Indian Termination Policy. We also call it the “termination policy Native American” casually.

So, this policy had an immense impact on Native American communities. In this article, we will explore this lesser-known old piece of legislation in the USA.

We will talk about its historical significance. Moreover, we will discuss its consequences on indigenous peoples and their fundamental rights. So, buckle up, folks!

What Was The Termination Policy? Termination Policy Definition.

Experts say that the policy of termination was a big decision that came from the U.S. government. The officials introduced it in the 1950s. The aim behind it was to change the relationship between the government and Native American tribes.

How Did The Termination Policy Originate?

For many years, the U.S. government had agreements with Native American tribes. Notably, according to these agreements, the tribes enjoyed recognition as separate nations. On the other hand, the US government promised to help them with things like land and services. This was to compensate for the unfortunate happenings of the very beginning. The European settlers had taken away the land from the Native Americans. Today, this is the land we know to be the United States.

Big Changes

In the 1950s, the government of the US decided to put an end to this whole system. Therefore, there would be an end to these agreements. Apparently, the US government wanted to treat Native Americans as they treat American citizens. So, the Native Americans no longer would enjoy their special status. Moreover, they specifically lost their status as separate groups.

Why Did The US Government Bring About This Termination Policy?

The government had a few reasons for doing this. Apparently, the big minds thought that this step would bring the Natives closer to the citizens of the USA. Additionally, they thought that it would help them become as developed as the rest of the Americans. Moreover, they also wanted to save money by cutting down on their services. 

So, How Did The Native Americans React?

The termination legislation was not a big hit. The policy had a big impact. Many tribes lost their land. Moreover, people had to move away from their communities. Unfortunately, they also lost the help they used to get from the government.

There Was Major Resistance

Some tribes especially the Native American leaders, vehemently protested the change. They fought against it. Moreover, they made it very clear that they wanted to protect their traditions. This showed that they greatly valued their way of life.

The Termination Policy Did Not Last Long

Eventually, the government went on to discard the policy. They finally understood that it was causing a lot of problems. Hence, they discontinued the policy in the 1970s. Additionally, the complete failure of this policy led to the US recognizing its mistake. It helped them respect the Native American tribes.

So, according to what we know so far, the Indian Termination Policy was a step that the government of the US later came to regret. It led to the end of special agreements with Native American tribes.  Instead, it caused a lot of difficulties for these communities.

What Are Some Of The Terms Of The Termination Policy?

The Indian Termination Policy came into force in the mid-20th century. It was not just one Act but a compilation of government actions. These ended the special relationship between the United States and Native American tribes.

It Put An End To Tribal Recognition

Under this policy, the government stopped the recognition of some tribes. It led to the stoppage of Indian tribes having lands as independent nations. Moreover, it led to the tribes losing their rights and land. This led to the end of the recognition of tribal lands.

It Led To The Termination of Services

Through this legislation, the government stopped giving some essential services to the tribal population. These services included healthcare, education, and more. As a result, this led to it being harder for Native Americans to continue living on reservations.

More Details

The legislation led to the dissolution of some reservations. Moreover, they sold the land to non-Native people. Therefore, this was a major blow to the well-being of the tribal communities. Additionally, it also affected their way of life.

Moreover, the termination policy even pushed the Native Americans to sell their land. As a result, they ended up moving into cities. The Act had tried to incorporate them into American society. But it mostly led to Native Americans losing their traditional homes and communities. This led to the death of communal spirit in the community. Moreover, it chronically hampered tribal traditions.

In Conclusion

Now that we have reached the end to our article, let’s dive a bit into the ethics. The Act was clearly a mistake on the part of the US government. As a result, the government soon discontinued it. But why did some Americans support the termination policy?

Some Americans supported the Indian Termination Policy for various reasons. They thought it could help Native Americans come into mainstream society. Moreover, they thought that it could legitimately help them save money. Also some influential people also supported to serve their personal benefit.

Eventually, the government realized their mistake. As a result, there emerged a greater focus on preserving their cultures and rights.

Read Also:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *