Richard Nixon

The American Indians have been oppressed and brutalized, deprived of their ancestral lands, and denied the opportunity to control their own destiny. The story of the Indian is a record of endurance or survival, of adaptation and creativity in the face of overwhelming obstacles. The time has come to break decisively with the past...

(1913 - 1994)

      Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was the first president in more than a hundred years to give a speech to Congress in support of Native American rights.  In a dramatic break with the past, Nixon gave a speechon July 8, 1970, calling for an end of the many 'evils' that had been visited by white government policy on the Indian nations, and called on Congress to immediately pass his American Indian Self-Determination Act, which it did.  Nixon's speech heralded a new day in Indian country, one which powerfully reaffirmed John Marshall's original vision of "domestic sovereign nations."  In the words of legal historian and Indian rights activist, Alvin Josephy, Nixon's speech was the "strongest assertion ever made by an American president against the twin evils of paternalism and termination."