Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:3 (Summer 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


When the bill to create the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) was signed by President Harry Truman on 13 August 1946, he said it would provide "a final settlement of all outstanding claims" by the Indians against the United States. The process would foster the policy of assimilation, he said: "Indians can take their place without special handicaps or special advantages in the economic life of our nation and share fully in its progress." These hopes were not realized, however, as tribes faced three decades of difficult litigation, narrow opinions that reduced monetary claims, and many years when termination of tribes was the official policy of both presidents and Congress, against the wishes of the Indians.