Prudence and Moderation: George H. W. Bush and Federal Indian Policy

Thomas A. Britten


In November 2008, the Pacific Historical Review published Dean Kotlowski’s excellent article “From Backlash to Bingo: Ronald Reagan and Federal Indian Policy.” This article, based on extensive research conducted in the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, seeks to continue the story through an examination of the Indian policies advanced by Reagan’s successor—George H.W. Bush.  As a moderate Republican, Bush “41” demonstrated considerable flexibility and a willingness to compromise with Congress. That said, federal Indian policies enacted during the Bush administration demonstrated continuity with those of Reagan, but differed in two areas—education and various symbolic acts.  Most often remembered for his foreign policy pursuits and for breaking his “no tax” pledge, Bush left a largely positive legacy in Indian affairs.

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