John Collier was one of the “romantic reformers” drawn to New Mexico in the 1920s by the perception that its people practiced pre-modern lifeways. He was enthralled with the people of Taos Pueblo, and their economic and political situation inspired him to advocate for Native American self-determination. During the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Collier was appointed as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In that capacity, he supported the legislation that became the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. He was also instrumental in creating the Indian New Deal. Despite such efforts, his implementation of livestock reduction programs on the Navajo Reservation has tarnished his legacy among the Diné.
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