National Tribal Chairmen's Association records 1971-1978
National Tribal Chairmenʹs Association
United States Indian Health Service
American Indian Movement
Advisory Commission on Intergovernment Relations
Association on American Indian Tradition and Cultural Activities
40 linear feet
American Indians legal cases tribal government agriculture
Planning for the establishment of the National Tribal Chairmenʹs Association took place in Pierre, North Dakota, in April 1971, and formal organization took place in Albuquerque in July 1971. The organization serves as a voice for elected Indian leaders of federally recognized tribes and promotes American Indian unity, observation of treaty and other rights, preservation of values, and progress in justice, social standing, education, economic well being, and political influence of all Indians of the United States. The organization no longer exists.
The files are those of the Washington, D.C., office that were acculated primarily under William Youpee. Youpee served as the first president of the association and became its executive director in 1972. There are also files accumulated by Chinzu Toda, a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee who was on loan to the NTCA. In 1978, Kenneth E. Black became the executive director. Material created from 1978 to the end of the NTCA are in private hands.
Records of the National Tribal Chairmenʹs Association, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives
Indian interest groups
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives
Reuben A. Snake, Jr. was born January 12, 1937 at Winnebago, Nebraska, the youngest child of Reuben Harold and Virginia Greyhair Snake. Reuben's mother divorced her husband and later remarried, but Reuben's early life was fraught with hardships, including a period of separation from his parents and siblings. When the family's financial situation improved, parents and children were able to reunite and eventually settled in Hastings, Minnesota. Reuben entered Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1950 but later dropped out due to problems with alcohol. He joined the Army in 1956, from which he was honorably discharged, and two years later he married Kathy McKee, with whom he raised four daughters and two sons. In 1965 he quit drinking.
Reuben was active in the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970s and organized many demonstrations during his tenure as national chairman of that organization. After being elected chairman of the Winnebago tribe, he reorganized the tribe, centralizing its administration and improving funding and accountability. Reuben was involved with educational issues as well, serving on education committees for the National Congress of American Indians and the National Tribal Chairmen's Association. He worked both nationally and internationally to publicize the issues of Indian health, education and religious freedom.
Reuben began to renew his spiritual and cultural ties with the Native American Church in the 1970s and eventually became a Roadman for the Church. With the help of Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawaii, he fought judicial battles to legalize the importation of peyote from Mexico for use in sacramental ceremonies. In 1990, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the sacred use of peyote was not protected by the Constitution, Reuben became the official spokesperson for the Native American Church to educate the public about church philosophy and history. He organized the Native American Religious Freedom Project to lobby for national legislation that would amend and strengthen the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Reuben had suffered a major heart attack in 1986 and by the early 1990s, his health was deteriorating. He died on June 28, 1993. Reuben did not live to see the results of his hard work on behalf of Native American religious freedom--the Amendments to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, which President Clinton signed into law in October 1994. These amendments protected the religious use of peyote by Indians.
The Reuben A. Snake papers, located in the Cultural Resource Center of the National Museum of the American Indian, contain writings, correspondence, biographical materials and written materials relating to the Native American Church which document the literary and political activities of this Winnebago tribal leader. Also included in this collection are video and audio tapes that contain interviews, talks, radio broadcasts, and other orally and visually transmitted items. These materials have been transferred to the NMAI Media Archives. All photographs have been transferred to the NMAI Photo Archives.
Series I, Writings (undated, 1972-1993), contains original writings by Reuben Snake, Tribal Chairman's reports and observations, position papers and interviews.
Series II, Correspondence (undated, 1982-1996), consists of miscellaneous correspondence, correspondence with interviewers and the correspondence of James Botsford, Snake's attorney.
Series III, Biographical (undated, 1985-1996), consists of news clippings related to Snake's work as Winnebago tribal chairman, Reuben's vitae and tributes to him and eulogies and obituaries after his death. Also included is the draft of Jay Courtney Fikes' biography of Snake.
Series IV, Native American Church (1971-1993), includes resolutions made by various tribal governments and addressed to the U.S. Congress in support of the Native American Church, as well as the agendas of NAC officers' and delegates' meetings. The Native American Religious Freedom Project files contain materials relating to the lobbying efforts of the Native American Church and drafts of the proposed amendments to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The rermaining files contain news clips documenting court cases on Native American use of peyote and articles on the effects of peyote and its sacramental value to the Native American Church.
Reuben A. Snake, Jr. Papers, 1970-1990, National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Researchers must contact the NMAI Archives for an appointment to access the collection. Contact information below
Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives
National Congress of American Indians records, 1933-1990 (bulk 1944-1989)
National Congress of American Indians
Bronson, Ruth Muskrat
Curry, James E. 1907-1972
Harjo, Suzan Shown
McNickle, D'Arcy 1904-1977
Peterson, Helen L
Snake, Reuben 1937-1993
Trimble, Charles E
National Congress of American Indians
National Tribal Chairmen's Association
United Effort Trust
United States American Indian Policy Review Commission
United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
United States Indian Claims Commission
251 linear feet
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is a major American Indian advocacy organization, designed to serve as a link between tribal governments and the United States government. NCAI was founded in 1944, in Denver, CO, as a membership organization for "persons of Indian blood." In 1955, group membership was limited to recognized tribes, committees, or bands. The organization is overseen by an Executive Council, which selects a five-member Executive Committee and an Executive Director. The Executive Director is then responsible for managing the organization's staff and overseeing its initiatives and everyday operations. Since 1944, NCAI has held annual conventions in the fall to elect officers and pass resolutions, which become the basis for the organization's policy positions. Beginning in 1977, a mid-year conference in May or June was added to provide further opportunities for in-depth exploration of issues.
Since its inauguration, NCAI has worked on a wide variety of issues facing Indians in the US. Some of those issues include voting rights, land claims, education, economic development, natural resource protection and management, nuclear waste, repatriation, and government-to-government relations with the federal government. In 1954, NCAI organized an emergency conference to protest the US government's newly-announced termination policy. NCAI has also frequently worked closely with other Indian organizations, such as the Native American Rights Fund and National Tribal Chairmen's Association, and with various government bodies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service.
The NCAI records document the organization's work, particularly that of its office in Washington, DC, and the wide variety of issues faced by American Indians in the twentieth century. The bulk of the material relates to legislation, lobbying, and NCAI's interactions with various governmental bodies. A large segment also concerns the annual conventions and executive council and executive committee meetings. Finally, the records also document the operations of the NCAI, including personnel, financial, and fundraising material. The collection also includes the records of two of NCAI's Executive Directors, Charles E. "Chuck" Trimble (1972-1977) and Suzan Shown Harjo (1984-1989). Included are correspondence, publications, reports, administrative records, photographs, and audio and video recordings.
National Congress of American Indians Records, National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution
Alaska Natives--Land tenure
Indians of North America--Civil rights
Indians of North America--Economic conditions
Indians of North America--Government relations
Indians of North America--Legal status, laws, etc
Indians of North America--Politics and government
Indians of North America--Social conditions
Indian termination policy
Trail of Broken Treaties, 1972
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Random records of a lifetime, 1846-1931 [actually 1932] volume II, Explorations, Episodes and Adventures, Expositions and Congresses
Random records, vol. 2
Holmes, William Henry 1846-1933
Peale, A. C (Albert Charles) 1849-1914
Hayden, F. V (Ferdinand Vandeveer) 1829-1887
Holmes, William Henry 1846-1933
Smithsonian Institution History
Geological Survey (U.S.) History
Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (U.S.)
1 volume illustrations, clippings, letters. 27 cm
Yellowstone National Park
Binder's title: Random records.
William Henry Holmes (1846-1933) was an anthropologist, archaeologist, artist, and geologist, who spent much of his career affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. He studied art under Theodore Kauffman, and went on to work as a scientific illustrator with Smithsonian staff. In 1872, he was appointed artist-topographer to the United States survey of the territories under Ferdinand V. Hayden, and in 1874 was appointed assistant geologist. He went on to work with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE), until returning to the Smithsonian Institution, United States National Museum (USNM). Holmes eventually became head curator of the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Anthropology and Director of the National Gallery of Art.
This is the second of sixteen volumes compiled by William Henry Holmes in 1931 or 1932 to document his life and work. The volume contains original correspondences, documents, ephemera, watercolors, and photographs throughout. It is divided into four sections. The first contains a list of descriptions of his explorations from 1872 to 1920. Section two describes episodes and adventures from 1872-1920. This begins with a list of stories, which he describes using portions of letters, original field note books, news clippings, photographs (also with colleagues), and original drawings including a field drawing of a flower. This includes work completed with A. C. Peale and geological notes from Hayden expedition. Field work locations include Yellowstone, Colorado, and Mexico. Section three describes expositions between 1876-1916 across the United States in which U.S. Geological Survey and Smithsonian Institution took part. Section four documents the second Pan American Congress in Washington, D.C., during December 1915- January 1916; Fourteenth International Congress in Stutgart, August 1904; and the nineteenth International Congress during December 1915 - January 1916.
The Smithsonian Institution was created by authority of an Act of Congress approved August 10, 1846. The Act entrusted direction of the Smithsonian to a body called the Establishment, composed of the President; the Vice-President; the Chief Justice of the United States; the Cabinet; the Mayor of Washington; and the Commissioner of the Patent Office. In fact, however, the Establishment last met in 1877; and control of the Smithsonian has always been exercised by its Board of Regents. The membership of the Regents consists of the Vice-President and the Chief Justice of the United States; three members each of the Senate and House of Representatives; two citizens of the District of Columbia; and nine citizens of the several states, no two from the same state. (Prior to 1970 the category of citizen-Regents not residents of Washington consisted of four members). By custom the Chief Justice is Chancellor. The office was at first held by the Vice-President. However, when Millard Fillmore succeeded to the presidency on the death of Zachary Taylor in 1851, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney was chosen in his stead; and the office has always been filled by the Chief Justice since that time.
These records are the official, edited minutes of the Board, compiled at the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian, who is also secretary to the Board. Manuscript minutes exist for the period from 1846 to 1856, and after 1891. Only printed versions exist for the years from 1857 to 1891.
Why Are Native Groups Protesting Catholicism's Newest Saint?
Smithsonian staff publications
Conversations and talks
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:46:19 +0000
Blog Post Category:
Sometimes a saint may be all too human.
Junipero Serra, the missionary who brought Catholicism to California, is set to be canonized this week on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in a Spanish-language ceremony expected to draw tens of thousands of worshippers. But some Native American groups think the event is cause for outcry, not celebration.
Serra’s story is the West Coast incarnation of some of the founding myths of the United States. Just as the stories of Columbus, Pocahontas and the Puritans are incomplete without including the fate of displaced and mistreated native populations, so too is that of the settlement of the Pacific Coast.
The mission system lasted over 60 years and was integral to Spain’s colonization of the recently conquered California land mass. Serra’s canonization, meanwhile, is stirring up controversy about whether the system he founded was holy or horrible. Between 1769 and 1784, Serra formed nine Spanish missions. Many were massive in size; Mission San Luis Rey had 60,000 head of cattle at one point. Each mission was a closed Catholic community that offered native nations, like the Kumeyaay, Chumash and Cahuilla, Spanish citizenship and education in exchange for their conversion, labor and permanent residency.
The mission system lasted long after Serra’s death—21 missions were formed before newly independent Mexico abandoned the project in 1833. The missionaries’ promises to entrust mission lands to the native people who built and turned them into self-sustaining communities were broken: Most of the land was “secularized” and distributed to non-native owners. Though many mission lands were eventually regained by the Catholic church, they were never returned to the people who built them.
To Serra’s supporters, the missions were forces for good, spreading Catholicism, settling the state and building beautiful sanctuaries. But for many others, Serra’s legacy is much darker than the whitewashed plaster of California’s iconic missions.
Jeffrey M. Burns, a Serra scholar who directs the University of San Diego’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, says that Serra and his fellow missionaries measured success in terms of souls saved. “Serra offered the native people membership in the missions in exchange for eternal life,” says Burns. “He would have seen everything at the mission as the native people’s property, something he was holding in trust for them. It may not have worked out that way, but that’s how he understood it.”
Though native peoples could hypothetically decide whether to enter the missions, some were lured in when the missions needed more manual labor. Others felt they had no choice—as animals imported from Europe changed the ecosystem and diseases threatened the native populations, missions became a more attractive (but by no means ideal) option.
Mission life exacted a high cost from native peoples, Serra biographer and University of Riverside history professor Steven W. Hackel says. As they farmed, labored and went to church, “Indians were expected to give up most of the important aspects of their culture in return for what the missionaries promised them was salvation,” says Hackel. Confined inside the missions among a diverse group of mission-bound Native Americans, says Hackel, indigenous people were encouraged to abandon both their cultural practices and traditional farming techniques.
“Indians who challenged the mission’s authority were flogged,” says Hackel. The Indians’ “spiritual fathers,” he continues, “punished them as children even when they were adults.” Those who tried to escape were hunted down by Spanish soldiers and forced to return. Crowded missions were also hot spots for diseases like pneumonia and diphtheria. One missionary wrote that an epidemic of measles “has cleaned out the missions and filled the cemeteries.” According to the Huntington Library’s Early California Population Project, 71,000 burials were performed in California’s missions between 1769 and 1850. And the University of California’s Calisphere notes that though there were an estimated 300,000 native people living in the area before Spanish colonization, only 30,000 remained by 1860.
“There were no easy answers” for Native Californians, says Burns, who notes that converts had to weigh their survival against a mission system that “didn’t have cultural sensitivity.” And according to some tribal leaders, modern-day conversations about Serra are no better.
“Neither the missions nor Serra’s methods are worthy of secular or state pride,” wrote Valentin Lopez, chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in an open letter urging California governor Jerry Brown to protest the canonization. Nonetheless, missions still have plenty of visibility in California: Serra’s name can be found on everything from high schools to highways. A fourth-grade project on the missions has been part of the state curriculum for decades, and the mission system’s legacy is present in California’s architecture, statuary and even sports teams—San Diego Padres, anyone?
“The missions were an unmitigated disaster for the Indians of California,” says Andrew Galvan, museum curator at Mission Dolores in San Francisco. “There’s no denying that.” But Galvan, whose Ohlone ancestors were forcibly baptized and brought to live in the missions, also sees a silver lining in Serra’s canonization. “This negativity is an opportunity for transformation,” he says.
Galvan, who served Serra’s canonization cause, doesn’t see a contradiction between admiring the man who brought Catholicism to California and condemning the system that he helped found. Instead, he is alarmed at church and museum officials’ furthering of what he calls “the mission myth”—a romanticized version of mission life that erases the struggles and contributions of Native Californians.
“There’s an opportunity to tell the true story now,” says Galvan—the story of a man “on fire” with missionary zeal and at the helm of a system that had fatal consequences for Native Californians. He calls on the Catholic Church to go beyond canonizing Serra and begin to reweave native contributions and stories into the story of the missions. “They’re Indian missions,” he insists. “They’re our places. Indian people are still here.”