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The Indian Civil Rights Act

THE INDIAN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
United States Commission on Civil Rights
Statement
by
Commissioner William B. Allen
The temptation to approve this report is great despite its manifest errors of legal and historical interpretation.
1 The reason for this is that the Commission’s study has finally been freed from its unhealthy
and collusive connection with the Department of Justice’s efforts to build a case for legislation previously
introduced as S. 517. During that earlier phase the Commission actually had less control over its own
study than did certain staff from the Department of Justice.2 The sheer scope and importance of the inquiry,
however, had the effect of producing a record of far greater weight than the collusion intended.
Despite the passage of time and changes in staff, the record remains to support a broader effort, and the
Commission’s study is now free from those prior suspicions. Nevertheless, some aspects of the prior
analysis remain in the final product (to be expected, since the whole work could not be redone), and these
convey erroneous conclusions even while no longer supporting their pre-determined end. I write, now,
therefore, largely to clarify these errors of legal and historical analysis and also to take full advantage of
the rich record this six-year study produced.

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