This Day in History: Another Step Towards Assimilation; Correction to Wolfchild blog

On August 15, 1953, Public Law 280 was codified, further complicating criminal and civil law enforcement on most Minnesota reservations, and another move towards assimilation.

As a practical matter, Public Law 280 transferred  criminal and civil law enforcement authority on Indian reservations from the federal government to certain states, including Minnesota. (It did not affect existing tribal jurisdiction.) From a policy standpoint, it is important to note that the law was passed along with House Concurrent Resolution 108. That resolution, according to Wikipedia, expressed “the sense of Congress that it should be policy of the United States to abolish federal supervision over American Indian tribes as soon as possible and to subject the Indians to the same laws, privileges, and responsibilities as other U.S. citizens.” Seen in that light, Public Law 280 was a step toward ending the special relationship between tribes and the federal government, reflecting assimilation efforts Congress pursued for several decades, referred to as “Termination Policy.”

In the states where Public Law 280 applied, local police, tribal police, BIA police, and the FBI all were part of a law enforcement system on reservations. The law initially applied to states with large indigenous populations: Minnesota (except for the Red Lake Reservation), California, Nebraska, Oregon (except for the Warm Springs Reservation ) and Wisconsin, and upon its statehood, Alaska.

Date Correction for Documentary Showing

Yesterday’s blog reported that Sheldon Wolfchild will have an official premier of his documentary The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code, at the Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. The date was correct but the blog listed the wrong day of the week. It is Friday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m. The original blog has been corrected.




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