The Bosone Bill: Termination of Indian Treaties


Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, had a highly supportive attitude toward Indians. President Harry S. Truman had his hands full with international problems—the governing of Germany and Japan, the Berlin Airlift of 1948, testing the atomic bomb, and constant harassment from Republicans—and mostly had a hands-off attitude toward Indian affairs. When he had the time to think about Indians, Truman revealed himself to be a total assimilationist, as all the presidents had been for three-quarters of a century.

Right after World War II a conservative reaction started to set in around the nation. Politicians were reacting to big government, socialism, communism, welfare recipients, foreigners, non-English speakers, liberals, and civil rights groups. One of the first actions in Congress was the hearings by Sen. William Langer of North Dakota in 1947 to reduce the size of government. As the Chairman of the Civil Service Committee, Langer brought in BIA to testify about its operations and the number of employees it had. After two days of testimony, he advocated abolishing the BIA and letting Indians take care of themselves.



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