This groundbreaking work is the first major study of United States Indian policy during the landmark years of the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. Although both men favored new policies that would have fostered the survival of American Indian cultures and heritages, they faced opposition from western senators who insisted on carrying out the so-called termination policies that had been initiated by Congress as early as the late 1940s.
These policies, generally designed to bring to a close the federal government's administrative responsibility for American Indian tribes, led to such controversial practices as forced urban relocations of American Indians and redistribution of tribal assets in ways that received widespread criticism. Opposition to termination policy in the Kennedy/Johnson years, meanwhile, heralded an unprecedented explosion of American Indian political activism and political power through public-awareness campaigns and lobbying on both the local and national fronts.
Clarkin's study of the shift in American Indian and white relations is a significant contribution to an understanding of federal Indian policy. He carefully traces American Indian efforts to gain control over the creation of Indian policy and the operation of government programs. He also thoroughly explores the conflict and sometimes unhappy compromises between and among administration officials, congressional leaders, and American Indians, including such key figures as Frank Church, Clinton P. Anderson, Stewart Udall, Robert Burnette, Vine Deloria, Jr., and, of course, presidents Kennedy and Johnson.