Problems of the American Indian

April 13, 1949

Report Outline
Status of the Indian in American Life
Special Problems of the Indian People
Future Government Policy for Indians

Status of the Indian in American Life

A Ten-Year Plan of rehabilitation for the Navajo and the Hopi, two of the most destitute tribes of American Indians, is being pressed for adoption by Congress as a first step in extending benefits of the President's Fair Deal program to the Indian people. In recommending legislation to improve the social and economic condition of the Navajo and Hopi, President Truman said, Mar. 4: “The United States, which would live on Christian principles with all of the peoples of the world, cannot omit a fair deal for its own Indian citizens.”

The administration bill to aid the Navajo and Hopi Indians calls for undertakings which it says are “essential in combatting hunger, disease, poverty and demoralization.” These words are strikingly similar to those used by the President in Point 4 of his inaugural address, Jan. 20, to describe the condition of peoples in foreign underdeveloped areas which need American aid: “Their food is inadequate. They are victims of disease … Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas.” An almost identical description of the condition of American Indian tribes was given twenty years ago in the conclusions of a survey made by the Brookings Institution for the Coolidge administration.

A report by the Hoover Commission on Reorganization of the Executive Branch, Mar. 18, stressed the need for reconsideration of the whole Indian problem and the National Congress of American Indians is seeking appointment of a presidental commission to frame a comprehensive long-term program which will recognize and carry out the country's legal and moral obligations to its oldest minority.

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