Testimony taken at Hayward, Wisconsin, April 23 & 24, 1934

Tribal testimony about the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act

On June 18, 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA, sometimes known as the "Indian New Deal"). When the bill was being considered that spring, Congress held hearings to learn what tribes around the nation thought about it. This document from the National Archives contains the testimony given by tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Ho Chunk leader Henry Roe Cloud played a prominent role at the meeting. The 1934 act reversed the federal government's 50-year-old policy of Indian assimilation that had tried to force Indians to give up their languages, cultures, and identity in favor of white culture. Instead, it encouraged Indian nations to form tribal governments and to conduct their own internal affairs. These new tribal governments drafted constitutions and provided tribes with political bodies that could assert their sovereign rights.

Related Topics: Wisconsin's Response to 20th-century change
Indians in the 20th Century
Creator: United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Pub Data: Manuscript in National Archives RG75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Consolidated Chippewa Agency.
Citation: United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Testimony taken at Hayward, Wisconsin, April 23 & 24, 1934: where Indians of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan gathered for a two day conference to discuss the Wheeler-Howard Bill of Indian Rights (manuscript). Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=1773; Visited on: 2/3/2023