BRADLEY H. PATTERSON, JR. PAPERS, (1960) 1974-76 (1988)

Special Assistant for Native American Programs


Materials from Patterson’s work on legislation and policies concerning Native Americans, and his work as a White House liaison between Federal officials and Native American tribal leadership. The papers contain information on litigation involving Native American land claims, sovereignty issues, and the role of the Federal government as trustee of tribal interests.

3.2 linear feet (ca. 7,500 pages)

Bradley H. Patterson, Jr. (accession number 2000-NLF-058)

Open. Some items may be temporarily restricted under terms of the donor's deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, or under National Archives and Records Administration general restrictions (36 CFR 1256).

Bradley Patterson donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.

Prepared by Helmi Raaska, March 2001
[s:\bin\findaid\patterson, bradley - papers.doc]


Bradley H. Patterson, Jr.

1921 - Born, Newton, Massachusetts

1939-43 - Student, University of Chicago (A.B., A.M.)

1943-45 - Teacher, Cranbrook School for Boys, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

1945-54 - Various positions, Department of State

1954-61 - Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, White House

1961 - Management Analyst, Bureau of Budget

1961-62 - Executive Secretary, Peace Corps

1962-66 - National Security Affairs Adviser, Department of the Treasury

1966-67 - Executive Director, National Advisory Commission on Selective Service

1967-69 - Executive Director, National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity

1969-74 - Executive Assistant, Special Consultant to the President (Leonard Garment), White House

October 1974 - Assistant for Staff Coordination, First Lady’s Staff, White House

1974-76 - Assistant Director for Operations, Presidential Personnel Office, White House

Aug. 1976-Jan. 1977 - Special Assistant to the President for Native American Programs, White House

1977-? - Brookings Institution

1988 - Author, Ring of Power, Basic Books

2000 - Author, The White House Staff: Inside the West Wing and Beyond, Brookings Institution Press


Bradley Patterson served in a number of positions during the Nixon and Ford administrations. These papers are from his work on the White House staff as an assistant for Native American Programs from 1969 to 1974, and again from August 1976 to January 1977. Patterson first worked in this area as an assistant to Leonard Garment during the Nixon administration, and then after serving in other roles in the Ford White House, he was appointed Special Assistant for Native American Programs by President Ford in August 1976.

While these papers are primarily from 1974-76, they also include earlier and post-Ford administration materials. The long date span reflects items accumulated for background and reference and Patterson’s continuing interest in issues affecting Native Americans.

Much of Patterson’s work in Native American programs concerned implementation of policy initiated by President Nixon in July 1970. President Nixon’s policy recognized tribal leadership when tribes were willing and able to manage their own affairs in a given area, but did not terminate the special trust relationship between the federal government and Indian people. The Ford administration continued the Nixon reform policy and in January 1975 President Ford signed the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. For helpful background information, researchers are referred to the folder “Indian Leaders” in Box 4 for an overview of Indian issues during this time and a partial chronology of Indian policy, 1775-1975.

The Patterson Papers are a combination of reports, summaries, correspondence, and legal documents, and printed materials including clippings, articles, and newsletters and newspapers published by Indian tribes and organizations. These materials relate to the delivery of federal domestic assistance to American Indians, legislation affecting Indians, relationships between tribal governments and state and local governments, and litigation over such issues as land claims, fishing rights, natural resources, and water rights. The papers show Patterson’s work as a liaison between the federal government and Native Americans and coordinator of services provided by many agencies to Indian people.

Related Materials (March 2001)
The most significant related collection is the segment of Bradley H. Patterson Files on Native American Programs. Related materials are also available in White House Central Files subject category IN (Indians), a series in the Norman Ross Files (Domestic Council) consisting for the most part of 1974 Patterson files inherited by Ross, the Theodore Marrs Files (Public Liaison Office), and the files of Bobbie Greene Kilberg (Counsel’s Office).


Subject File, (1960) 1974-76 (1988).  (Boxes 1-7, 2.5 linear feet)
Correspondence, memoranda, and reports exchanged between Patterson and federal officials and Native American leaders. Also legal documents, printed materials, clippings, and articles. Newspapers and newsletters published by tribal leadership groups express the Native American viewpoint on the issues addressed in these materials. The materials relate to Native American programs in general and to the concerns and legal issues of specific tribes.

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

View container list for this series

Presidential Congressional Mail Summaries, 1975-76. (Boxes 7-8, 0.7 linear feet)
Daily summaries of the President’s incoming congressional mail.

Arranged chronologically.

View container list for this series


Box 1 - Subject File

  • Aging
  • Agriculture, Department of
  • Alaska
  • American Indian Policy Review Commission
  • Arts and Craft Board
  • Blackbird Bend/Monona Bend Areas
  • Black Hills Claim
  • Borgstrom Memo(internal OMB discussion memo)
  • Budget Issues
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs - Assistant Secretary
  • Cabinet Council
  • Cattlemen's Association (National American Indian Cattlemen's Association - NAICA)
  • Cayuga Nation of New York
  • Census Issues
  • Central Arizona Water Rights
  • Council of Energy Resources Tribes (CERT)
  • Crow Tribe Issues
  • Economic and Business Development (1)-(2)

Box 2 - Subject File

  • Economic and Business Development (3)-(6)
  • Education Issues - National Advisory Council on Indian Education (1)-(7)
  • Federal Domestic Assistance Programs
  • Fishing Rights

Box 3 - Subject File

  • Flathead Lands
  • HEW Programs - Total (1)-(5)
  • Housing
  • Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 (1)-(2)
  • Indian Health Care Improvement Act - S.522 (1)-(5)

Box 4 - Subject File

  • Indian Leaders
  • Justice Department
  • Keeler, W. W.
  • Lakota
  • Land Restoration
  • Law Enforcement Assistance Administration - Grants
  • Law Issues - General (1)-(2)
  • Manpower
  • Mazurie, M. D. - USA v. Mazurie
  • Menominee
  • Mescalero, New Mexico
  • Mohawk
  • Namen, James M. - The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, et al, v. James M. Namen, et al (1)-(2)

Box 5 - Subject File

  • Naragansett
  • Navajo
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • National Tribal Chairmen's Association
  • Office of Minority Business Enterprise
  • Oneida
  • Passamaquoddy (1)-(3)
  • Patterson, Bradley - Personal
  • Pine Ridge
  • Platform - Ford Policies
  • Public Works Act

Box 6 - Subject File

  • Rancheria Termination
  • Recognition (1)-(2)
  • Self-Determination (1)-(2)
  • Small Business Administration
  • Social Services
  • Sovereignty - Jurisdiction (1)-(4)
  • Taxes
  • Termination
  • Travel and Tourism

Box 7 - Subject File

  • Tribal Resources Development
  • Tribal Services
  • Umatilla Journal
  • United Indian Planners Association
  • Veterans Administration
  • Voting Rights
  • Water Rights (1)-(2)
  • Western Federal Regional Council
  • Women

Box 7 (Continued) - President's Congressional Mail Summaries

  • Daily Summaries (1)-(8)

Box 8 - President's Congressional Mail Summaries

  • Daily Summaries (9)-(19)