The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars

Henry M. Jackson, Forrest J. Gerard and the campaign for the self-determination of America’s Indian Tribes

It’s a preposterous title: “The Last Great battle of the Indian Wars.”  How can that be? Well, there were two great battles in our era: The defeat of termination and the campaign for self-determination. First, a terrible, disastrous policy had to be rejected – and then it had to be replaced by a new progressive policy course for American Indians and Alaska Natives. That is the context for this story about Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Forrest Gerard. Team Jackson and Gerard so changed the landscape of Indian affairs that virtually every member of the body politic today agrees with the premise that American Indians and Alaska Natives have the right to govern themselves.

Scoop’s legacy is already well known and etched in the nation’s memory. He was a champion of America’s international reputation and the legislative architect of many environmental policies. Gerard was the first American Indian to design, write, shepherd and do whatever was required to move American Indian legislation through Congress. The Indian Financing Act, the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Indian Health Care Improvement Act are all in the string of Jackson-Gerard legislative hits that remains unmatched in modern times.


The goal of any author is to get everything right the first time. Unfortunately I’ve been an editor long enough to know that never happens. Best we can do is correct the errors as soon as possible. We’ll post everything we find on this page.

As of Sept. 1, 2010:

Spelling error in the quotes and bibliographic reference for Kenneth Philp. This has been fixed in the hard cover edition and will be corrected in the second edition.