MNN.  Jan. 14, 2013.  Canadian Prime Minister Harper has adopted the US “Termination Act” of 1953.  [Public Law 280]  C-45 copies the US version of Hitler’s “Enabling Act” 1933.  Indigenous were deemed a burden. Congress ended federal recognition, sovereignty and all obligations to 109 Indigenous nations.  Previous treaties and agreements were revoked.  2.5 million acres of land was no longer protected. The Federal government took over tribal land rich in resources, turning much of it into national parks and refuge systems.Another legal precedent

AIM against 'termination'

AIM resists ‘termination’

Co-operative “White” chiefs [tribal councils] helped the termination process to ”encourage assimilation into a modern individualist society rather than a savage tribal mentality”.  

Indigenous lands were converted to private ownership without their consent.  They could be sold by individuals to non-natives.  Indigenous jurisdiction was ended.   

They had to pay taxes and were governed by state laws.  States did not provide services for lack of funds. Health, education, economic development, policing, housing and fire fighting obligations were ended as they were no longer Indians.  

Money was withheld until they agreed to termination.  Afterwards the land and money was transferred to a corporation. Natives became shareholders, receiving 100 shares of stock. Much went to lawyers.  

Children could receive shares only through inheritance, which could be inherited by non-natives.  Shares could be sold.  Non-natives controlled the corporations. Corporations owned the surface and regional corporations owned the resources.    

Taxes put native enterprises out of business, falling below the poverty line. 40% were unemployed. If they were given something from the forced sale, they were not eligible for welfare. More land was sold to buy food.  Valuable resources made them not eligible for benefits.    

Termination was devastating, forcing them onto welfare; 75% school drop out, states closed down schools in communities. Termination caused alcoholism, suicide, low education, family break ups, poor housing, high drop out, high imprisonment, and decreased life expectancy.  

Indigenous were excluded from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ higher Indian education funds as they were no longer “Indians’.   Hospitals and clinics were closed as they did not meet state standards.  Infant mortality rose by 300%.  No dental or eye care were available.  

US army APCs at Wounded Knee.

US Army APCs at Wounded Knee.

Youth resistance groups like American Indian Movement AIM rose up to protest termination.  [AIM song A.I.M. song

Presidents Nixon and Johnson declared that forced termination was clearly devastating. On July 8, 1970 an anti-termination bill was signed.   

Mel Thom, Paiute said:  “The opposition to Indians is a monstrosity which cannot be beaten by any single action, unless we as Indian people could literally rise up, in unison, and take what is ours by force.  We are fighting for the lives of future Indian generations.  

Against termination.

Resistance to Indian termination.


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