By Roberta Ulrich
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Extra resources for American Indian Nations from Termination to Restoration, 1953-2006
Watkins had a different view. He thought if a tribe was “ready” po li c y 17 in his estimation, it should be terminated whether the tribe favored such action or not. 37 At some of Watkins’s hearings there was no testimony from any Indian. He considered treaties no obstacle. 38 It was Watkins who kept the issue alive, often holding hearings alone or with a single colleague. As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, he pushed ten bills through Congress cutting the federal ties to tribes and sending them out into the white world, ready or not.
One concrete action came out of the meeting: funds for a county nurse.
Almost immediately after he was sworn into ofﬁce in January 1947, he became chairman of the Senate’s Indian subcommittee and within months was holding extensive hearings on a proposal to withdraw federal supervision of the Klamath Tribes. Like many western members of Congress in both parties, he supported reclamation projects and voted to spend federal money on many. But he saw money spent on Indian programs as promoting socialism while the government was ﬁghting communism. 16 Breaking the Ties Watkins viewed himself as a champion of Indian “freedom” and had little tolerance for those who disagreed.