This paper provides the Emergency Conservation Work Act and the New Deal as two examples of the U.S. Federal Indian policies passed between 1929 and1969. In addition, it explains how these policies impacted on the social structures and the economy of the Native Indians. The paper has also described the long-term impacts of these policies on the Native communities.
First, the Emergency Conservation Work Act was passed by the United States Congress in the year 1932 and profoundly helped in altering the Navajo social structures and economy. John Collier was responsible for implementing the act that demanded the reduction of stocks among the Navajos and other native tribes. It primarily aimed at ensuring that the Navajo’s cultural freedom was curtailed in an effort aimed at economic rehabilitation and civil organization. The Navajo people lost most of their stocks in the winters between 1932 and 1934 mainly due to starvation.
The Act assisted the natives in securing jobs and recovering from the devastating effects of previous winters. It availed funds that were aimed at developing water systems, controlling soil erosion and constructing trails that led to grazing lands and water sources. These services helped them in settling their previous debts and in redeeming their jewelry, which had been deposited as security for credit in the coming winters. The passage of the Act also helped in introducing the wage economy into their reservations (Johnson, 2012).
Secondly, between the years 1933 and 1936, a series of monetary programs were enacted under the premise of a New Deal by the government of the United States. This was during the first term of the then president, Franklin D. Roosevelt. It focused on providing relief to the Native Indians by ensuring that stable economic recovery at all levels and reforming their financial systems to avoid a re-emergence of another depression. This Act was responsible for controlling overgrazing in the prairies by Native Indians in order to encourage sustainable livestock management practices that would guarantee stable economic development within the region. The move by the federal government led to a reduction in their livestock and eventually changed their lifestyles in an attempt to fit in (Johnson, 2012).