La politique indienne de Franklin Delano Roosevelt : changement d’orientation et effet durable

Susanne Berthier-Foglar

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Abstract :
International audience
When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, the “Indian problem” (extreme poverty, a high incidence of deadly diseases, the negative effects of anomia) had been simmering for decades. FDR’s predecessors commissioned an assessment of the situation. The ensuing 872-page Meriam Report (1928) was the first comprehensive analysis on every aspect of “Indian” life and administration in the early 20th century. It was also the work of a new generation of activists who were not constricted by the moral guidelines of the 19th century philanthropists. In the same decade the Report was published, John Collier, a young activist staying in New Mexico and interested in Pueblo culture, realized that Congress was discussing the Bursum Bill which planned to give non-Indian squatters property rights on Pueblo land. He lobbied successfully –and with high media impact– against the bill and became FDR’s Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in office from 1933 to 1945. He passed the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA -1934) –unofficially named the “Indian New Deal” – enabling an unprecedented level of self-determination which gave tribes the right to establish the government of their choice while revoking assimilationist legislation and policies, mainly land allotment and boarding schools. The IRA ensured the survival of tribal identities to this day.
Published : 2014
Document Type : Journal articles
Affiliation : Centre d'Etudes sur les modes de la représentation anglophone - EA 3016 (CEMRA) ; Université Stendhal - Grenoble 3


Susanne Berthier-Foglar, « La politique indienne de Franklin Delano Roosevelt : changement d’orientation et effet durable », Cycnos, 2014. URL :