Saving the Reservation
Joe Garry and the Battle to Be Indian
- PUBLISHED: September 2015
- SUBJECT LISTING: Native American and Indigenous Studies, History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 232 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 35 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295995373
Joseph R. Garry (1910–1975), a Coeur d’Alene Indian, served six terms as president of the National Congress of American Indians in the 1950s. He led the battles to compel the federal government to honor treaties and landownership and dominated an era in government-Indian relations little attended by historians. Firmly believing that forced assimilation of Indians and termination of federal trusteeship over Native Americans and their reservations would doom Indian cultures, Garry had his greatest success as a leader in uniting American Indian tribes to fend off Congress’s plan to abandon Indian citizens.
Born into a chief’s family and raised on the Coeur d’Alene reservation in northern Idaho, Garry rose to chairmanship of his tribal council, president of the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians, and leadership of NCAI. He was the first Native American elected to the Idaho House and Senate.
Handsome, personable, and articulate, Garry traveled constantly to urge Indian tribes to hold onto their land, develop economic resources, and educate their young. In a turbulent decade, Garry elevated Indians to political and social participation in American life, and set in motion forces that underlie Indian relations today.
Authors & Contributors
John Fahey is professor emeritus of radio-television and history at Eastern Washington University, Cheney and Spokane.
“The Chance of our Indian Lifetimes”
The Crucial Year
Roots: The Coeur d’Alenes
Boy to Man
Toward a Victory of Sorts
The Garry Era Ends
Money--and Its Consequences
“I Enjoyed Working with the People”
Fahey chronicles the efforts of Garry . . . who battled in the twentieth century what Sitting Bull and Geronimo had battled in the nineteenth—the U.S. government’s determination to liquidate Indian lands and eliminate Native American cultural and national identity. . . . Anyone interested in the struggle of Indian peoples to combat termination will find much useful information [in this book].- H-AmIndian
Indian leaders have made extraordinary accomplishments since the end of World War II. Joe Garry, of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, was a principal advocate for tribal land and sovereignty. John Fahey has put forth a fine account of Garry’s life and the formative years of the 1950s and 1960s, when Garry was so courageous and influential.- Charles Wilkinson, Moses Lasky Professor of Law at the University of Colorado
No one will forget Joe Garry after reading this, nor will anyone traveling across any reservation forget the legacy of a handful of paper warriors like Garry, Helen Peterson, Archie Phinney, and D’Arcy McNickle, who saved Indian lands and pressed for self-determination, armed with briefcases, petitions, and typewriters, at a time when Washington, D.C.. launched open war on Indian culture itself, hoping to terminate its trust and treaty responsibilities in the interest of economy and assimilation.- William R. Swagerty, University of Idaho