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Reid Peyton Chambers was associate solicitor general for Indian affairs in the Nixon and Ford administrations

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Overview

In July 1970, President Nixon delivered his special message to Congress on Indian Affairs, breaking with two centuries of unjust practices and policies against Native Americans.

Nixon said: “From the time of their first contact with European settlers, the American Indians have been oppressed and brutalized, deprived of their ancestral lands and denied the opportunity to control their own destiny. Even the Federal programs which are intended to meet their needs have frequently proven to be ineffective and demeaning.”

On this edition of the Nixon Now podcast we discuss the dramatic reshaping of American Indian policy with one of the foremost experts and pioneers in Indian Law. A Harvard Law graduate, Reid Peyton Chambers served as associate solicitor for Indian affairs in the Department of Interior from August 1973 to September 1976. Since 1976, for over forty years, he’s been partner of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson, and Perry, a law firm dedicated to representing Indian tribes and Alaskan native organizations.

He’s also author of an extensive article in the Spring 2018 University of Tulsa Law Review titled “Implementing the Federal Trust Responsibility to Indians After President Nixon’s 1970 Message to Congress on Indian Affairs.”

Read the entire law review article here.

Photo: Richard Nixon with the Taos Pueblo Indian leaders on July 8, 1970, the same day he delivered his special message to Congress on Indian Affairs. (Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

Introduction podcast audio:  Signing ceremony returning Blue Lake (New Mexico) to Taos Pueblo Indians on December 15, 1970. (Richard Nixon Presidential Library)