In its 1903 decision in the case of Lone Wolf v.
Hitchcock, the United States Supreme Court rejected
the efforts of three Native American tribes to prevent
the opening of tribal lands to non-Indian settlement
without tribal consent. In his study of the Lone Wolf
case, Blue Clark properly emphasizes the Court's
assertion of a virtually unlimited unilateral power of
Congress (the House of Representatives and the
Senate) over Native American affairs. But he fails to
note the decision's more far-reaching impact: shortly
after Lone Wolf, the federal government totally
abandoned negotiation and execution of formal written
agreements with Indian tribes as a prerequisite for the
implementation of federal Indian policy. Many
commentators believe that this change had already
occurred in 1871 when--following a dispute between
the House and the Senate over which chamber should
enjoy primacy in Indian affairs--Congress abolished
the making of treaties with Native American tribes.
But in reality the federal government continued to
negotiate formal tribal agreements past the turn of the
century, treating these documents not as treaties with
sovereign nations requiring ratification by the Senate
but simply as legislation to be passed by both houses of
Congress. The Lone Wolf decision ended this era of
formal negotiation and finally did away with what had
increasingly become the empty formality of obtaining
According to the passage, the congressional action of 1871 had which of the following effects?
(A) Native American tribal agreements were treated as legislation that had to be passed by both houses of Congress.
(B) The number of formal agreements negotiated between the federal government and Native American tribes decreased.
(C) The procedures for congressional approval and implementation of federal Indian policy were made more precise.
(D) It became more difficult for Congress to exercise unilateral authority over Native American affairs.
(E) The role of Congress in the ratification of treaties with sovereign nations was eventually undermined.
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