Important developments occurred as a result of political activism on the part of both tribes and pan-Indian organizations from 1921 to the present. Beginning with the early efforts of the Indian Board of Cooperation, numerous California Indians self-help organizations and tribes pushed for a lawsuit over the failure of the United States to compensate the Indians of California for the loss of their aboriginal lands. Congress relented and passed the Jurisdictional Act of 1928. This legislation allowed the Indians to sue the federal government and use the state Attorney general’s office to represent them. Lacking control of their legal representative a controversial settlement was finally achieved in 1944. $17,053,941.98 was offered for the failure of the government to deliver the 18 reservations promised in treaty negotiations of 1851-2. Incredibly, the government decided to deduct all of its “costs” of providing reservations, supplies and even the salaries of corrupt and do nothing Indians agents native peoples had endured for nearly a century. After an-other long battle, little more than 5 million dollars were finally distributed on a per-capita basis to 36,095 California Indians in 1951. A paltry $150. was distributed to surviving Indians. This parsimonious and unfair settlement prompted California Indians to seek further legal redress.


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