This War is for a Whole Life – The Culture of Resistance among Southern California Indians, 1850-1966 – Book Review

A Brief Summary of the Book

            The book highlights the controversy that touched on the freedom of the American-Indian occurred because of the cold war involving the two races (Hanks, 2006). The main concern was the termination of the foreign land and values trust protections. The actual main concern was based on the idea of the ‘no middle ground is tenable’. The legal and contact procedures ought to be the limelight more so on the work possibilities and political temperatures that would result in tension between the Americans and Indians. The major element of unity was acceptance to work with the Indians and equality among the people. In addition, the risks and dangers that touched on the issues of the assimilation of the Indians to a civilized group created many tensions.

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            Furthermore, the book asserts that the most dominant and civilized group had to embrace and accept the proliferation of the Indians into California, South of America. The book points the difficulty of the acceptance of the Indians due to the difference in the culture and general ways of life between the two groups. An excellent example was the Pratt’s motto that asserted ‘kill the Indian, save the man’, that was discouraging and charming, becoming a part of the Indian federal policy. The following are the discussions and analysis the book chapters, as they appear in the book.

Chapter One

            The chapter discusses the reforms of activism as a vital response regarding the Indian reorganization act. The chapter gives an analysis regarding the introduction as well as the implementation of the reorganization act. Furthermore, the chapter discusses how the Indians could survive in California under the act. It also gives an overview of the conflicts in the Southern California Indian country, which resulted from the political and tribal bands. The chapter is very important in creating the understanding of the reader about the whole process of political termination in 1950s. The manipulation that took place in the Indian office gave rise to the government distrust especially in the government agency.

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            The benefits of the Indian reorganization act had an equal impact on the on and off individuals, who were on the reservations in the country. Similarly, when the communism and socialism was allowed within the Indian country, it led to widespread criticism towards the IRA, making it political thus prompting high impacts. Between 1930s and 1940s as the American focused more on ending depression and the beginning of the Second World War, the problem of the Indians went towards the periphery.

Chapter Two

            The chapter of the book gives an analysis of the termination period that was taken as a potential and viable alternative after the new reforms that came courtesy of the activism. In addition, the chapter also focused on the entry into the Second World War as pointed in the previous chapter. The chapter indicates that the Second World War fueled political temperatures and led to the elimination of the Indian bureau. The effect was the likely creation of the division of the governance, harmonious relationships and unity that the bureau that would bring among the Indian-American country. As a way of enhancing the objective, the American government transferred the Indian office of home affairs to the Chicago to pave way for the Second World War operations. Furthermore, that had an added objective of reducing the significance of the well-being of Indian-American towards the periphery.

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            Moreover, the Indians continued to exercise the fight against the discriminatory practices that were championed and facilitated by the federal, local and state governments in the United States. They also fought the steps that were taken by the pro-terminationists in eliminating the protection within the federal government and disbanding of the BIA.  Besides, the chapter gives an explanation on the changes that were experienced and occurred which the mission Indians pursued into looking that the federal government fully dealt with the issues.

Chapter Three

            In chapter three, there is an intensified termination, while the mission of Indian activism receives higher rejection at home and in the congress. The main issue is whether the policy could get full support from the compact majorities and its applicability. The chapter gives a detailed analysis of the impact that activism could bring on the grass roots, judging from the mission of the Indian community. Besides, the chapter also analyses the potentials of activism based on the pro-termination groups, the spokespersons and the anti-termination groups, which were formed to control the termination process and the loose tribal lands.

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            In addition, the higher degrees of hypocrisy placed the termination process under siege. This prevented the mission Indians from exercising free and fair election of their representatives, who would aid in the process of termination. The events create a contrast with the concepts of freedom and emancipation as alluded by the BIA commissioner (Myer) and congress representatives. The scenes are a revelation of Myer’s pretense on the dynamic way of operations as adopted by the congress representatives.

            Finally, the chapter highlights the efforts by the Mission Indians in using all means in order to shade some light on their problems to the non-Indian population. In contrast, their efforts did not receive public scrutiny and made it hard to compromise the termination process. However, the congress passed a resolution in 1953s, which ordered the termination of the California-Indian reservations. Besides, upon the termination act, the eliminations of the Indian law resurfaced when the public law 280 was formalized.

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Chapter Four

            The chapter provides an analysis of the public law as stated in the previous chapter of the book. In addition, the chapter provides an analysis on how the house concurrent resolution 180 facilitated the elimination of the reservations of the Indian-Americans in California. The main arguments in the chapter relate much on the explanations of the ways in which the spokespersons and community groups facilitated the barring of the termination process.

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            The tireless efforts of the community groups and spokespersons were evident as the mission Indians thrived in their push for the tribal land. The community spokespersons showed their disagreement with the conclusion of the congress regarding the termination process, since they believed that it could destroy and strongly affect the well-being of Indian-Americans, who lived in the southern California.   As a result, they employed all forms of communications in order to convince the government regarding the consequences and impacts that could result from their conclusions on the termination process.

Chapter Five

            In chapter five, the fight against the termination process continues and the major problem was the next move after all the events highlighted in the preceding chapters. This chapter elaborates the role of the federal and fiscal governments in dispensation of power and in maintaining the well-being of the state. In fact, after a compromise between the mission Indians in Southern California and their allies concerning the termination process, the state government intervened. In fact, when the house passed the concurrent resolution 108, the state of California was fully in charge of the Indian problem. It dug deeper on the pertinent ways ensuring the prevalence of peace and unity among the white settlers and Indians of the Southern California.  Based on the outcomes of the termination process, the state of California was presented with a chance to assess, synchronize and evaluate the impacts of the process within the Southern Californian state. In 1953, the termination process led to development of a summit hearing where the south and north California convened to discuss the matter.

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            The ramifications of the termination process were the likely loss of the federal protection and money that would champion and facilitate the well-being of the societal demands and communism. The federal government delayed the termination process based on the fundamentals of doubts it had over the process. Therefore, the anti-termination groups prevailed in ensuring the process scuttled. In order to ensure the success of their move, they opposed and barred the government from implementing the house concurrent resolution 108. The house concurrent resolution 108 was meant to speed up the termination process. In the end, the mission Indians were successful in their efforts to stop the termination process.

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Overall Analysis of the Major Historical Events Discussed In the Book

The book gives a critical and in-depth analysis of the plight of mission Indians in Southern California. The chapters offer a systematic analysis of the way the problem of the Mission Indians escalated from a community problem to a Californian problem. When the problem became part of the state, it warranted an intervention for the well-being of the whole population regardless of the race or tribe. The success of the termination process restored a sense of unity for the Californian state, which was in a mess. Besides, the unity of the people was instrumental in pushing for the end of discriminatory practices that were prevalent in the state.

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