A hopeful reversal of more than 30 years of federal action against Native American people

Signed into law on January 4, 1975, the Indian Self-Determination and Indian Education Assistance Act reversed 30-years of termination policies and made self-determination the focus of government action. It was the culmination of President Nixon's belief that tribes should take responsibility for federal programs.

The Act allowed the Chickasaws to assume administrative responsibility for federally funded programs designed for their benefit, primarily services administrated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and by the Indian Health Service. This meant that the tribes could negotiate contracts and compacts directly with the federal government to run their own programs and deliver their own services. It established a new Indian policy that empowered the Chickasaw Nation.