As the 37th president of the United States, Richard Nixon’s time in office ended riddled with controversy. However, it was during his term that important changes for Native American policy would take place in the United States.
During his presidency, a number of strides were made in accordance to Indian affairs. A new budget of $1.2 billion was put in place for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an increase of 214%. Nixon also laid the foundation for the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, one of the most significant pieces of legislation for Native Americans in the 20th century.
Nixon gave sovereignty back to the tribes, allowing them to be recognized as their own group. His time in office was cut short, however, due to the scandal known as Watergate. In 1974, President Nixon resigned.
His tenure ended too soon for the sake of Native Americans. Nixon laid the groundwork for many acts and bills, but much more could have been accomplished had he stayed in office. Still, he is recognized today as the first president to truly push for Native American self-determination and independence. Nixon passed away in 1994.