The United States throughout history has practiced damaging and unjust policies towards the Indian Tribes within its borders. Removal, warfare and allotment policies brought tribes into the 20th century, where they continued to experience assimilation in boarding schools, in land grabs, and in cultural genocide. While the 1932 Indian Civil Rights Act spurred increased organization and governance structure for tribes, this committee begins at the dawn of the greatest threat to Native sovereignty yet: Termination.
The National Congress of the American Indians met for the first time in Denver in 1944 to respond to Termination, a stance initiated to disband "civilized" tribes and literally terminate all treaty rights. Delegates will represent tribal council leaders who will meet to discuss the mission and constitution of NCAI, a national American Indian response to Termination, and other policies relevant to 20th century tribal sovereignty.
This committee is unique in its treatment of Native issues. In 1944, committee members are still representing a time where some tribal leaders are college-educated, some are lawyers or businessmen, and leaders are closer to present-day diplomats than to hereditary, warrior, or spiritual leaders of the 19th century. Delegates should keep this in mind, and also be prepared to delve into sensitive issues of real racial and civic unrest with tactfulness and respect. While delegates will be rewarded for thorough research and thoughtfulness, the Chair understands that this topic area is unfamiliar to most, and encourages an open-minded response to this academic exercise.