The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 was the inspiration of John Collier, director of the BIA.
The Indian Reorganization Act of
1934, sponsored by the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and
passed by Congress as the 'Howard-Wheeler Act', ushered in a new
era of relations between the federal government and tribes in a
forceful effort by the Franklin Roosevelt administration to address
the scandalous findings of the Meriam Report of 1928, which
revealed that federal Indian policy since 1887 and the passage of
the General Allotment Act had been devastating to Indian
In the long run, the most
important thing the IRA accomplished was the promotion of tribal
self-governance. Whether tribes organized under the IRA or not,
they were influenced by the act to formalize their governmental
authorities in new ways including adopting tribal
John Colliers IRA accomplished many things, including:
- stopped the erosion of the tribal land base by ending the
allotment of tribal land.
- extended the trust period for existing allotments.
- prohibited lands to be taken away from tribes without their
consent, and authorized the Secretary of the Interior to accept
additional tribal lands in trust and to proclaim new reservations
on those lands.
- recognized tribal governments and sought to promote tribal
self-government by encouraging tribes to adopt constitutions.
- established a revolving loan program for tribal development
and set up specific tribal business charters.
- established a Native preference hire for jobs in the Bureau of