Native American Veterans

Following World War II, many Native American veterans migrated for better job opportunities. Describe the urban migration during the 1950s and the impact the relocation program had on most Indian communities.

The federal government initiated the Urban Indian Relocation Program in 1952 to persuade reservation dwellers to seven major urban cities, supposedly for jobs in plenty. This paper describes the relocation process and accesses its impacts on most Indian communities

Native American veterans’ urban migration during the 1950s

Officers were set up in seven major cities, namely; Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Cincinnati, and And Dallas. These officers together with Bureau of Indian Affairs were mandated to welcome new arrivals and manage monetary and employment programs for the relocates (Angie 1970, 83). The relocates were to be provided with temporally housing, counseling, social and community resources as well as permanent residence.   According to Angie, a couple with four children was to receive $80 a week for a month. This however did not happen for all the relocates. Some failed to secure a job, and those who did were mainly at the lower level of the financial order.  It is estimates that over 0.75 million native Americans migrated to the cities between 1950 to 1980

Impact of the relocation program on Indian communities

The relocations mainly resulted to Inter-tribal marriages that created a new generation of Indians. This was the dawn for a new political activism for the Indians. They were no longer tied to stipulation or tribe rather they developed a sense of identity, they felt more associated to the enormous array of tribes in the cities.  (Albert 1994, 56). The endorsement of House Concurrent Resolution 108 by Congress in August 1953 affected just over 13,000 out of a total Indian population of 400,000. About 3 per cent of reservation land was lost. The relocation also caused enormous population changes. US population census for 2000 indicated that 79% of all Americans lived in the cities the American Indians population had grown to 64%. This resulted to strong commitment and self determination for the Indian people.

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