"The research is impressive, and Hauptman makes excellent use of oral history to provide an Iroquois perspective to the impact of New Deal Indian policies."—Choice
"Hauptman suggests a formula that would apply to other tribes' experiences with the New Deal and could be a prescription for present policy."—The Journal of American History
The New Deal era changed Iroquois Indian existence. The time between the world wars proved a watershed in the history of Indian white relations, during which some of the most far-reaching legislation in Indian history was passed, including the Indian Reorganizat1on Act.
Until recently, scholars have acclaimed the 1930s as a model of Indian administration, praising the work of John Collier, then comm1ss1oner of Indian affairs. Among the Indians, however, a less-than-beneficial heritage remains from th1s era.
To many of today’s Native Americans these were years of increased discord and factionalism marked by
non-Indian tampering with existing tribal political systems. Whenever the government directly intervened in
Iroquois tribal affairs—or arbitrarily imposed uniform legislation from distant Washington—the Indians’ New
Deal suffered. It succeeded only when the government worked slowly to cultivate the backing of prominent
leaders and achieved community-based support.
Nonetheless, government programs stimulated a flowering of Iroquois culture, both in art and in language, and new Indian leadership emerged as a result of, or in reaction to, government policies. Laurence Hauptman argues that overall the work of the New Deal in Iroquoia should be seen as having done more good than harm.
Laurence M. Hauptman is SUNY Distinguished Professor of History at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of many books and articles on Native American studies, including Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State and The Iroquois in the Civil War: From Battlefield to Reservation.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9.1, 272 pages