1st Edition

Presidential Rhetoric and Indian Policy From Nixon to the Present

By Anne F. Boxberger Flaherty Copyright 2023
    190 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    190 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Presidential Rhetoric and Indian Policy explores and analyses the dynamics of presidential rhetoric on Native peoples and issues from Nixon to the present.

    Covering Presidents Washington through Johnson in an overview before turning to focus on the modern era of self-determination, Anne Flaherty offers a systematic analysis of 700 presidential statements that mention Native issues from 1969 through 2020 to evaluate whether presidents in the modern era have used their rhetorical platforms to bring attention to Native issues and to support this coherent strategy of self-determination. Flaherty provides evidence that rhetorical themes vary by administration and seem to either rely on more symbolic, historical language or to connect more clearly to the dominant platforms and messages of the president in question. The book then moves to incorporate an analysis of key outcomes compared across the administrations. The data and analysis show that federal spending, legislative outcomes, and Supreme Court decisions have not consistently supported self-determination policy over the past 50 years.

    This book is a must read for scholars and students interested in indigenous politics, Native American Indian Politics, US presidency and rhetoric.

    1 An Introduction to Presidential Rhetoric in the Self-Determination Era

    2 Presidential Rhetoric and Native Nations

    3 The “Great Father”: Presidents, Rhetoric, and Policy in History

    4 A “New and Coherent Strategy”: Presidents in the Self-Determination Era

    5 Analysis of Presidential Rhetoric in the Self-Determination Era

    6 Federal Actions in the Self-Determination Era

    7 The Biden Presidency and the Future of Self-Determination Policy


    Anne F. Boxberger Flaherty is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Merrimack College, Massachusetts, United States. Flaherty’s research focuses on indigenous peoples’ politics, primarily Native nations in the United States. Her publications include research on media and political perceptions of Indian gaming, issues of race and citizenship in the Cherokee nation, and intergovernmental conflict and cooperation between states and Native nations over jurisdiction for taxation.

    "Dr Flaherty’s use of presidential rhetoric to better understanding federal/tribal relations adds valuable insight into this important policy area."

    Richard Witmer, Rev. John P. Schlegel, SJ, Distinguished Professor in Politics and Government, Creighton University

    "Presidential Rhetoric and Indian Policy provides a methodologically rich approach to presidential rhetoric on native nations that significantly expands our understanding of presidential rhetoric, native nations, and federal policy. Flaherty shows us how, despite Nixon’s establishment of a policy of self-determination over 50 years ago, most presidents have either ignored or inconsistently discussed these important issues. It is a sobering story of how a lack of rhetorical and policy focus on native nations has left the promise of the self-determination era unrealized."

    Dr Nathan Angelo, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Worcester State University