Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country - Third Edition

IV It has now been more than fifty years since President Lyndon Johnson appointed me to the National Council on Indian Opportunity. In that capacity my colleagues and I traveled from coast to coast, visiting Indian communities in the nation’s largest cities and on the most isolated reservations. The wounds were then still fresh from the twin federal policies of “Relocation” and “Termination.” Most Americans alive today will be incredulous to hear that after World War II their federal government openly embraced policies of “terminating” successful tribal economies by repudiating treaty and other obligations, and devastated Indian families and created urban ghettos by “relocating” Indian breadwinners and their families from their reservation homes and moving them to major cities from Boston to Los Angeles. Veronica Tiller has recognized one of the great untold American success stories of the late 20th Century in the emergence from that climate of Relocation and Termination of the thriving tribal economies chronicled here in this 3d edition of her groundbreaking work. Those of us who have had even a minor role in this story admire Dr. Tiller for her insight and for the incredible effort Tiller’s Guide represents. She and her team have witnessed first-hand the local, regional, and national ripple effects of the tribal economies recorded here. The advisory board to President Bill Clinton’s Initiative on Race advised him in a 1998 report that few Americans have an opportunity to learn about the indigenous peoples of America, and that “little, if any, correct information about tribal governments is taught in most schools.” Veronica Tiller has virtually single-handedly stepped forth to provide material to fill that gap in curriculum materials for virtually every corner of America. It should be a task we all embrace to see that Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country is available to every federal agency office in the country, and that it finds a place in the libraries of every school, college, and community in the nation. All of us, native and non-Native alike, should take pride in the tribal communities and economies described here because they represent what can happen when this country is willing to recognize mistakes, reverse course, and allow the human spirit in each of us to flourish. To date, no other country in the world can present a similar story of the survival, perseverance, and ultimate success of its indigenous peoples such as is put forth here with such rich background and in such stunning detail. This Comanche woman thinks this nation in particular, and perhaps the world in general, owes a deep debt of gratitude to Dr. Veronica Tiller for this scholarly contribution to an understanding of the true role of Indian tribes in Twenty-First Century America. It is my hope that governments throughout the world can learn from our failures and our successes to realize the benefits they, too, might enjoy from appreciating the wisdom, the strength, and the “medicine” of their own indigenous peoples. LaDonna Harris President Emeritus Americans for Indian Opportunity Foreword By LaDonna Harris