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Indigenous Voices of the Colorado Plateau

The Merriam Report of 1928

 Indigenous Voices




 Kaibab Paiute


 White Mountain Apache

Save the Peaks!

 Merriam Report


In 1926 the government asked the Institute for Government Research (known as the Brookings Institution today) to study thoroughly Indian economic and social conditions. The resulting report, known as the Merriam Report of 1928, revealed a Native American existence filled with poverty, suffering, and discontent. (1) The report, called "The Problem of Indian Administration" was edited by Lewis Merriam, hence the name.

The basic weakness in Indian administration, according to the report, was in the attitude of the federal government toward the Indian. The emphasis in the past had been on the Indian's property rather than on the Indian himself.

This report formed the basis for the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. John Collier, United States Bureau of Indian Affairs Commissioner from 1933 to 1945, used this report to advocate for more monies to help solve the "Indian problem" that the U.S. Government had created for itself as well as preserve indigenous cultures. Collier included the following points in the report:

  1. Strengthen tribal governments and restore the bilateral relationship between the federal government and tribes.
  2. Stop the sale of allotments and restore tribal lands to communal holdings.
  3. Provide procedures and funds for tribal economic development.
  4. Grant preferential hiring of Indians in the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  5. Recognize and aid tribes in maintaining and developing their cultures, especially their language, religion and crafts.

Digital Resources
Merriam Report

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