"We need an Indian policy that reflects the long-term goals and needs of Indian peoples and clarifies a future within the United States. For the last century or so, Indian policy has been the product of presidential and Congressional campaigns and policies that often did not consult Indian communities and leaders.
Indian policy should be re-established with a more contemporary understanding of the place of Native peoples within the United States. Now U.S. administrations are willing to accept limited American Indian political sovereignty, a result of considerable resistance by Indian peoples to past assimilation policies.
In the past the primary purpose of Indian policy was either quick or long-term assimilation. Most federal and state social service programs are focused on lifting people, individuals, from poverty and encouraging, even welcoming, them to join American life and economy. The majority of the American public and electorate knows little about American Indians and generally has no knowledge of the legal implications of treaties and Indian policy.
In the past Indian people have reacted to Indian policies that threatened tribal land, culture and political sovereignty. While Indian peoples have defended their basic rights, they have not taken the leadership in specifying the Indian policy and positions that would lead to economically, politically and culturally healthier Indian communities. Indian peoples need to accept that they are now living within the economic, legal and political constraints of the United States, while Americans must understand the goals and values of American Indian peoples for self-government, maintaining cultural community and need for economic participation in the market economy as collective communities."
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Editorial: Indian policy for modern realities
(Indian Country Today 1/23)