Born in New York in 1882, Roosevelt worked as a journalist and attorney before deciding on a career in politics.
A fifth cousin to Theodore Roosevelt, who served as the 26th president of the United States, Roosevelt served as a New York state senator, assistant secretary of the Navy and New York governor before being elected as the 32nd president.
“This one-model, cookie-cutter Indian policy didn’t allow for diversity in the Indian world,” Hauptman said.
“For some tribes, the IRA provided money and benefits.
That was in addition to hundreds of thousands of goats, cattle and horses that foraged on the 27,000-square-mile reservation spanning parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
The Navajo population itself had quintupled since 1870 and, at the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, about 39,000 Navajos lived on the sprawling reservation, embracing a life of pastoralism and moving livestock from winter homes to summer pastures.
It also granted the Interior secretary authority to make rules restricting the number of livestock grazing on Indian land and any other regulations “necessary to protect the range from deterioration, to prevent soil erosion, to assure full utilization of the range, and like purposes.” Roosevelt encouraged Congress to approve the act, which he believed provided long overdue justice to Indians and signaled a positive change in federal-Indian relations.
“Indians throughout the country have been stirred to a new hope,” he wrote in a letter to Congress. Certainly, the figures of impoverishment and disease point to their impending extinction, as a race, unless basic changes in their conditions of life are effected.
The act abolished the Dawes Act of 1887—which had contributed to the loss of two-thirds of all Indian land—and promised better Indian education.This is the 32nd in a series of 44 stories exploring past presidents’ attitudes toward Native Americans, challenges and triumphs regarding tribes, and the federal laws and Indian policies enacted during their terms in office.When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933, as many as 2 million sheep grazed on the Navajo Nation.I do not think such changes can be devised and carried out without the active cooperation of the Indians themselves.” Roosevelt signed the act on June 18, 1934, and 174 Native communities organized their own governments.Seventy-eight tribes, including the Navajo, rejected organization, likely suspicious of American-style constitutions and policies.