The paradox of a house divided: The Colville tribes and termination
The Colville Confederated Tribes are a collection of twelve individual bands of American Indians in and around the Columbia Plateau region of northeastern Washington State. President Ulysses S. Grant created the Colville reservation by Executive Order in 1872 and required the groups to live together collectively on the reservation land base. Prior to that date, the twelve bands that now comprise the Colville Indians---Colville, San Poil, Lakes, Nespelem, Okanogan, Methow, Chelan, Entiat, Wenatchi, Palus, Moses Columbia, and Joseph's band of the Nez Perce---had distinct identities and homelands. In 1953, Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution (H.C.R.) 108, which created a foundation to terminate federally recognized tribes within the United States. The bill and the language reflected the conservative nationalistic mood of the Eisenhower administration and the Cold War era. H.C.R. 108 indicated that all Indians within the U.S. would assume all the rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen. Congress wanted legislation to eliminate Indians' special status within the U.S. and end federal responsibility to Native Americans. A second bill further impinged on Indian sovereignty. Public Law (P.L.) 280 provided for the transfer of criminal and civil matters from Indian tribal control to state control. This represented a step away from Indians controlling their laws and their land. The Colville Confederated Tribes were not among the first tribes targeted for elimination. Rather, the Colvilles actively pursued termination. Many tribal members identified only with their band, and did not represent themselves tribally as Colville Indians. Tribal members who wanted to retain recognition celebrated their Colville designation and sought to protect their identities. Pro-termination and anti-termination forces battled for nearly twenty years over the question of identity and the tribal relationship with the federal government. Ultimately the anti-terminationists emerged victorious and the Colville Tribes remain intact, if still divided on many issues. Today, the Colvilles manage vibrant economic enterprises that contribute to the welfare of more than 9,000 tribal members.
Minority & ethnic groups;
0617: Public administration
0631: Minority & ethnic groups