American Indian land rights protests, July 1964
"Indians May Yet Win Back Some Lost Land: Claim 1887 Law Allows 160 Acres to Each From Vacant Property Held by Government" (Eric Malnic, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1964)
If a federal court battle now pending in Oklahoma goes in favor of the plaintiff, and there are indications it will, American Indians may regain some sizeable chunks of the lands they lost so long ago.
The “chunks” in question would come from the 772 million acres of vacant public land in the United States—land which has yet to be settled upon or restricted for public use. […]
Not so, says the Bureau of Land Management, arguing that under rights granted them by a subsequent law bureau experts must classify any claim as “suitable for settlement” before an Indian can have it.
"Because most of the vacant land is arid, remote, desolate and unsuitable for farming," one bureau spokesman said, "very few pieces of land have or will be classified for settlement." […]
"No, it doesn’t make sense," Hopkins-Dukes countered.
"Admittedly, there is a lot of unfertile land, but not so much as the bureau would have you believe. A lot of it is being leased to lumber and cattle men, who make a good profit off that land."
The Land Rights spokesman pointed out that even if every one of the 500,000 U.S. Indians staked a 160-acre claim, they would require a little more than a 10th of the available land.
Land protest at the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Los Angeles, July 16, 1964 (Source)
"Indians Protest Government’s Land Policies" (Los Angeles Times, July 17, 1964)
More than 25 Indians and their supporters paraded in front of Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters Thursday, protesting government land policies.
Some of the Indians wore tribal garb and carried placards criticizing Secretary of the Interior Steward Udall. One sign even intimated that Udall was a reincarnation of Gen. George Custer.
A. A. Hopkins-Dukes, a Kiowa Indian and executive secretary of the Tribal Indian Land Rights Assn., led the brief demonstration.
Hopkins-Dukes claimed an 1887 federal law allows every American Indian 160 acres of public land for the asking.
Demonstration at San Juan Capistrano Mission, July 18, 1964 (Source)
"Token Checks Sent Johnson: Indians Carrying On With Fight for Land" (Los Angeles Times, July 19)
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO—About 75 Jauneno Indians continued their fight Saturday with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tried to get President Johnson into the act by sending him checks totaling $12.50 for 25 acres of public land. […]
"Now we want to play checkers with the Great White Father (Johnson) himself and not with his pony chiefs."
One of the signs the demonstrators carried said “Save Your Money, We Want Land.” It referred to a recent vote by Indians to accept $29.1 million for land Indians claim is theirs. Chief Lobo claims the election was “rigged.”