By Roberta Ulrich
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Additional info for American Indian Nations from Termination to Restoration, 1953-2006
10 Watkins and others looked at the tribal operations and saw a thriving business and no reason for government supervision. They needed to look further. “The Menominee are tribally wealthy and culturally assimilated,” anthropologist Rachel Reese Sady wrote in 1947. ”12 Two years before the Menominee termination bill was introduced in Congress the Wisconsin Human Rights Commission described the tribe as “a prosperous people” second only to the oil-rich Okla- 26 Breaking the Ties homa tribes in wealth.
Tribal members would keep their hunting, ﬁshing, trapping, and harvest rights. The tribe would retain title to the lakes and streams on the reservation. 34 Congressman Byrnes told the 1954 hearing he favored releasing the Menominees from federal supervision, and he believed the tribe favored that action. “The tribe has demonstrated . . it should be relieved from wardship,” Byrnes said. ” Byrnes was at least equally concerned about the fate of the Menominee forest, which he described as big business, an important aspect for the general economy of Wisconsin.
Many dropped out and went back to the reservation. For those who stayed, the feeling of isolation remained. The pull toward home was evidenced decades later when tribes began building casinos that provided hundreds of jobs. Many of the relocated tribal members went back to their reservations. Too often both relocation and termination of tribal status meant separation of Indian families and neighbors and a loss of shared culture, the destruction of a way of life with neither knowledge nor means to fully adapt to the larger society.