The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and Indigenous Governance: A Comparison of Governance of Santa Clara Pueblo and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Nations — 1991 – 2000

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Virginia Tech


Native American communities are continually impacted by Federal Indian policy. Over one-half of all Native American nations function politically under the provisions of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA). There are claims that many of these Native American communities experience intra-tribal conflict due to the lack of congruence between the tribal governments formed under the IRA and cultural traditions of governance. This claim was investigated via a comparative trend analysis of the Santa Clara Pueblo, operating politically under the IRA provisions, and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, operating under a constitutional form of governance outside of IRA provisions. After an historical analysis, an evaluation of tribal constitutions, and an examination of news media coverage for the period of 1991 – 2000, the project concluded that the legacies of the IRA are not the primary causal agent of intra-tribal conflict.



Native American Politics, Federal Indian Policy, Indigenous People