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By John Fahey

Joseph R. Garry (1910–1975), a Coeur d’Alene Indian, served six phrases as president of the nationwide Congress of yankee Indians within the Nineteen Fifties. He led the battles to compel the government to honor treaties and landownership and ruled an period in government-Indian kinfolk little attended through historians. Firmly believing that pressured assimilation of Indians and termination of federal trusteeship over local americans and their reservations could doom Indian cultures, Garry had his maximum luck as a pacesetter in uniting American Indian tribes to fend off Congress’s plan to desert Indian citizens.

Born right into a chief’s relations and raised at the Coeur d’Alene reservation in northern Idaho, Garry rose to chairmanship of his tribal council, president of the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, and management of NCAI. He used to be the 1st local American elected to the Idaho apartment and Senate.

Handsome, personable, and articulate, Garry traveled continually to induce Indian tribes to carry onto their land, strengthen monetary assets, and teach their younger. In a turbulent decade, Garry increased Indians to political and social participation in American lifestyles, and set in movement forces that underlie Indian family at the present time.

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Extra resources for Saving the Reservation: Joe Garry and the Battle to Be Indian

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However, while the NCAI took no position, its president did. Joe Garry argued against termination at every opportunity. One story has it that Garry, addressing the Klamath council, had con- The Crucial Year 3S vinced a majority to reconsider their vote for termination until a faction walked out to defeat a quorum. 10 Congress could not hope to treat tribes equally. Maybe the Menominees and Klamaths had resources, but the Seminoles of Florida contended that they "did not have members advanced enough to take care of the administration of tribal property," that their tribal cattle business made no profit, and that their members still lived in native "chickees," open on all sides with cabbage-palm or palmetto-leaf roofs.

23 Zimmerman may not have sparked termination-he surely had not meant to- but no matter how often he protested that his testimony was wantonly "misquoted and misinterpreted," his words roused Congress to action. In termination, Senator Watkins had found a bully pulpit. The National Congress of American Indians did not grasp immediately the effect of Zimmerman's testimony. Indeed, the NCAl endorsed, as Johnson phrased its view, "a planned program ... " For the moment, the Indian congress busily publicized the distress of the Navajos: Ranges were overgrazed, herds "The Chance of Our Indian Lifetimes» 2I reduced, children diseased, schooling neglected.

Branding the five-score Indian bills introduced in the Eighty-third Congress as "the most frightening and threatening to Indian property and rights in this century," the NCAI maintained that one of these bills would class an Indian property owner "competent" to manage his own affairs and release him and his heirs from federal jurisdiction; one, authored by Senator McCarran, would wipe out constitutional guarantees for Indians; another would transfer responsibility for Indian health to the Public Health Service; and five would terminate tribes.

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