Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lily Geismer

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Rights Information

© 2013 Russell M. Page


During the 1960s and 1970s, tribes across Indian Country struggled for tribal sovereignty against “termination” policies that aimed to disintegrate the federal government’s trust responsibilities and treaty obligations to tribes and assimilate all Indians into mainstream society. Individual tribes, pan-Indian organizations, and militant Red Power activists rose up in resistance to these policies and fought for self-determination: a preservation of Indian distinctiveness and social and political autonomy. This thesis examines a crucial, but often overlooked, element of the self-determination movement. Hundreds of tribal and national-scope activist newspapers emerged during this era and became the authentic voices of American Indians and the messengers of the movement. This thesis examines the stories of several key newspapers. By looking at the opportunities and challenges their editors faced and the different approaches they took, this thesis will assess how they succeeded and fell short in telling authentic stories from Indian Country, fighting for distinct indigenous culture and rights, and reshaping public discourse and policy on American Indian affairs.