The Red Power Movement: Native American Civil Rights In The Groovy Era

By | December 6, 2021

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Flag of the American Indian Movement. Source: (Wikipedia),

With the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 108, from 1953 to 1964, the United States government ended the recognition of more than 100 tribes as sovereign nations. From this point, the tribes would no longer have the status of being wards of the U.S. but instead be treated as citizens. This meant that the tribes could no longer govern their own people and they were no longer protected by the government. From 1950-1980, the Relocation Act of 1956 led to around 750,000 American Indians migrating to cities. While the act did have the intention of helping them to find jobs away from the poverty-ridden reservations, the promised housing, financial support, and vocational training were inadequate, and, in some cases, nonexistent. The unfortunate result was that American Indians ended up not only worse off financially, but also distanced from their cultural lands. This era, known as the Relocation and Termination era, helped to incite American Indian resistance. 

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Tribal representatives attending organizational meeting of NCAI. Source: (Wikipedia).

The NCAI Was One Of The First Steps Towards The Movement

Earlier, in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established and became the first Indian-run multi-tribal political organization. The organization fought voting discrimination, the dissolution of governmental relationships between tribes and the federal government, and governmental interference in tribal councils. In addition, they tried to close gaps between different tribes and between those who lived on the reservations and those who lived in the cities. The NCAI was the major predecessor for the Red Power Movement, which was comprised of a number of organizations.