Documents

The Trail of Broken Treaties caravan was meant to draw attention to issues facing Native Americans, but the press did not bother with coverage of the Trail until the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the beginning of November 1972. White and Native newspapers, television, government reports, and others all interpreted the Trail and occupation differently in public discourse, giving meaning to the ways newsmakers presented the event and portrayed the activists. This archive focuses on bringing together historical materials related to the Trail and occupation of the BIA and allows readers to explore news reports and develop their own understanding of the ways the Trail was reported on, ignored, contextualized, or interpreted by the press.

The early stages of this archive focused on newspaper coverage at the national, regional and local level but has expanded to encompass all news forms from newspapers, television, and news magazines, as well as contextual documents such as government reports, activist documents, speeches, treaties, speeches, and books that exist to help give context to events and attitudes. As the project develops, additional forms of representation, interpretation, and narrative will be added to fill out the archive.

Document Type

All (117) | Newspaper Reports (64) | Newspaper Opinions (19) | Television Reports (25)
News Magazines (2) | Books (3) | Treaties (1) | Statutes (1) | Government Documents (1)
Speeches (1) | Activist Documents (1)


Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848
Signed between Mexico and the United States at the end of the Mexican-American War, this treaty is cited by the Trail of Broken Treaties activists in the Twenty Points paper as a guarantee to land rights and land title "lawfully vested or held, for people of Native Indian blood."

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An Act to Provide for the Allotment of Lands in Severalty to Indians on the Various Reservations, 1887
The Dawes General Allotment Act was cited by the Trail of Broken Treaty activists in the Twenty Points paper as an example of the erosion of Indian land rights, a threat to Indian sovereignty, and a direct violation of treaties signed between the United States and Indian Nations.

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Deloria, Vine Jr. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, 1969
Vine Deloria Jr. emerged as a key intellectual in the formulation of Red Power's political thinking. In his first book Deloria issued a scathing critique of American society, criticizing sterotypes and the treatment of American Indians. Deloria also contended that "urban Indians have become the cutting edge of the new nationalism."

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Special Message to the Congress on Indian Affairs
President Richard Nixon outlines a new direction for federal Indian policy aimed at self-determination in this special message to Congress. Nixon criticizes termination and proposes specific recommendations for reform.

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Indians Drive to Capital
Report on the plans for seven caravans to leave West Coast cities with plans to arrive in Washington D.C. by November 1. The story identifies the American Indian Movement as the key organization in the Trail of Broken Treaties.

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300 Indians Protest Proposed Fund Cuts
Dennis Banks warns "it may take another Watts" before Americans begin to see the problems American Indian communities face. The straightforward piece also reports that 300 participants in the Trail of Broken Treaties were driving to Washington D.C. to protest proposed funding cuts.

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Trail of Broken Treaties: For Renewal of Contracts -- Reconstruction of Indian Communities and Securing an Indian Future in America
On October 27, 1972, the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan stopped in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a Caravan Workshop. While in Minneapolis, Hank Adams (Assiniboine) drew up the Twenty Points position paper the activists planned on presenting to the new Congress and Administration.

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Indians Converging on D.C. for Rallies
This report says the first sixty-five American Indians part of the Trail of Broken Treaties begin arriving in Washington D.C. Activists tell the press they are expecting 5,000 marchers to converge on the capital city. The news report discusses the reasons for the Trail and their plans while they are in the city.

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Indians to Begin Capital Protest
This story discusses the purpose of the Trail of Broken Treaties and quotes Robert Burnette estimating 10,000 activists arriving to the city. Also reports the activists chose election time to present an agenda for action to the next Congress and administration.

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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indians Refused Permission to Use Arlington Cemetery for Services
After arriving in Washington D.C., American Indian activists are told the Department of the Army will not allow the coalition to hold religious ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery because the services are "closely related" to "partisan activities."

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500 Indians Here Seize U.S. Building
The story reports that 500 Indians barricaded themselves inside the BIA. The report says the occupiers renamed the building the Native American Embassy. Also explains the reason for the building's seizure and that no attempt would be made to oust the activists by the government.

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500 Indians Seize U.S. Building After Scuffle With Capital Police


"About 500 American Indians protesting injustices, took control tonight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building after scuffles with the police outside and inside the building. Late tonight, Nixon Administration officials were apparently prepared to let the Indians bivouac in the building until morning. Negotiations be..."

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300 Indians Seize Capital Building and Close Bureau
This story reports that 300 activists seized the building and identifies the American Indian Movement as the key organization involved. Also reports that the activists presented a list of twenty solutions to Indian problems to the White House and explains the reasons for the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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'Indians First, Always,' Demonstrator Declares
Report describes cultural artifacts that the protesters were wearing or using during their protest. Despite claims of 5,000 activists, the newspaper reports the number is closer to 1,000. Also describes some of the activists and their reasons for participating in the Trail of Broken Treaties.

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Indians Continue Occupation of BIA
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Indians in Capital Defy a Court Order
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Indians Rampage in Capital Building
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Protesting Indians refuse to leave BIA building despite court order
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Indians Staying in U.S. Building
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Another 'Wounded Knee' Was Feared Friday Night
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Officials, Indians Parley on Protest
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Building Held Third Night
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Judge Stalls Eviction of Indians; U.S., Protesters Hold Site Talks
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Indians Ask Nixon to Solve Impasse
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Judge Orders Indians Evicted
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Indians Occupying U.S. Building Ask Nixon to Intercede
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Legacy of Suspicion Changes Protest Into Confrontation
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Order Delayed, Indians Stay in Offices
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Behind the Indian Protest
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Eviction of Indians Delayed on Appeal
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Arrest Order for Indians Stayed---They Threaten to Level Building
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Indians agree to leave BIA building today, officials say
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Indians Seize Files as Some Go Home
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Militant Indians Agree to Leave
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Indians Agree to Leave Seize Federal Building
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Protest by Indians Sought an End to Paternalism
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'The Government Forced Us to Action'
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Indians Call Files From BIA 'Ransom'
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Indians Take Documents as They Leave U.S. Building
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Indians Leave Building With Files, Artifacts
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Indians Ripped Up Federal Building
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Damage to Capital Building by Indians Put at $1.98 Million
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Amnesty Denied to Indians
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Indians to Be Liable for Damage
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Indian Vandalism to Federal Building Is Set at $530,000
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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News Conference Confrontation: Indians Clash Over Money
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Damage to BIA Third Heaviest Ever in U.S.
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Led Building Takeover: Criminal Record of 3 Indian Leaders Told
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Stolen BIA Artifacts, Documents
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After the Indian Protest
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Behind the Indian Protest
In response to the Washington Post's editorial "Behind the Indian Protest," reader C. E. Harris of Arlington challenges the newspaper's editorial board over their contention that it was "inconcievable" that Congress grant sovereign status to Indian Nations.

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Indians Got Kindly Agnew Memo
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Sioux Leader Outraged
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Government Mishandled Indian Militants
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Indian Protest, 1972
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BIA's Loesch: A Bureaucrat Unafraid to Speak Out
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U.S. Accused Of Exhibiting BIA Damage
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Sacking of Indian Bureau--a 20-Year Setback?
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Activist Tells of BIA Sacking
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The Nixon Permissiveness
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Indian Protest, 1972
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BIA Fight: 'One Has to Go'
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Indian Affairs Hearings: Beyond the Destruction
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3 Indian Officials Ousted in Shakeup
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Three Aides Fired at Indian Bureau
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Indian Protest, 1972
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U.S. Congress. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Seizure of Bureau of Indian Affairs Headquarters. 92nd Cong., 2nd sess., 1972
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Employees of BIA To Resume Work
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Politics Admitted in Indian Deal
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White House Role on Indian Scored
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Shakeup in Indian Affairs Rumored
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Indian Protest, 1972
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Indians' Capital Protest Has Not Resolved Any of Their Grievances
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U.S. Inaction Has Cost Indians Millions, Protest Leader Says
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Indian Affairs Shakeup
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Indian Documents Tell Shabby Story
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BIA Smugglers Tricked the Police
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Rights and Wrongs of the Indian
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Indian Bureau Chief Is Outflanked
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Drums on the Potomac
This report says the first sixty-five American Indians part of the Trail of Broken Treaties begin arriving in Washington D.C. Activists tell the press they are expecting 5,000 marchers to converge on the capital city. The news report discusses the reasons for the Trail and their plans while they are in the city.

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Urban Indian Is Forgotten Man
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U.S. Disputed on Injustice to Indians
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U.S. Rejects Indian Demands, Says Nixon Supports Reforms
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An Indian Leader Pledges Return of U.S. Property
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Columnist's aide arrested
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D.C. Police Officer Led Double Life as an Apache Indian
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Fellow 'Indian' Activist Turns Out to Be Officer
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Indians Without Jobs
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2 Asked To Talk By Jury
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Pulling Anderson's Leg
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BIA Shakeup: 189 Out in Cold
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More Papers From BIA Found in N.C.
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Deloria, Vine Jr. Beind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An Indian Declaration of Independence, 1974
In another of Deloria's influential works, he explores the Twenty Points paper and attempts to demonstrate American Indians had valid reasons to insist upon restarting treaty-making with Indian Nations.

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Burnette, Robert and John Koster. The Road to Wounded Knee, 1974
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