Special Assistant for Native American Programs
Presidential Personnel Office


Materials from Patterson's work on legislation and policies concerning Native Americans, and his work as a White House liaison between Federal officials and tribal organizations. Patterson's files from his work as Assistant Director of Operations, White House Personnel Office, will be described separately in the finding aid for the records of that office.

2.2 linear feet (ca. 4,400 pages)

Gerald R. Ford (accession number 77-107)

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).

Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections.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 Prepared by Paul Conway, June 1983; Revised by William McNitt, August 1994
[s:\bin\findaid\patterson, bradley - files.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


Bradley Patterson served throughout the Nixon and Ford administrations in a variety of positions, most notably as the White House official closely monitoring the concerns of Native Americans from 1969 to 1974 and again in 1976. The files described here consist of correspondence and memoranda generated or accumulated by Patterson in 1976 as Special Assistant to the President for Native American Programs, and Patterson's correspondence on Indian issues from 1974. Patterson served on the staff of the Presidential Personnel Office from 1974 to 1977 and his files from that work will be described in the finding aid for the files of that office (under the heading "Operations Office").

Patterson's Ford administration service capped a long and distinguished government career that began in the Department of State and included White House duties under three presidents. He first became acquainted with Native American programs as assistant to Leonard Garment, who coordinated special interest group input in the Nixon White House. Garment and Patterson were primarily responsible for drafting President Nixon's 1970 message establishing tribal self-determination as basic federal policy. This statement and resulting legislation were direct successors to New Deal policy and a repudiation of federal policy of the 1950's and 1960's. Federal reform efforts culminated with the passage of the Indian Self-Determination Act that President Ford signed into law in 1975.

In November 1974 Patterson set up and then managed the White House personnel office's operations center, turning over his Indian affairs responsibilities to Norman Ross in the Domestic Council and Theodore Marrs of the Public Liaison office. When Ted Marrs departed the White House to head the Indian Health Service in 1976, however, Patterson was recalled from the personnel office and appointed Special Assistant for Native American Programs. He had responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the bewildering array of 39 offices in 22 agencies handling Indian programs. He cleared backlogged correspondence and reestablished the extensive contacts from his five years of close work with Native American groups.

The Patterson files document his work on Native American programs in both 1973-74 and the second half of 1976. Of particular interest are hand-typed notes on a wide range of issues and correspondence demonstrating Patterson's knowledge, genuine concern, and responsiveness to the needs of Native Americans. Though by no means strictly political in nature, the imperatives of the 1976 campaign played a prominent role in Patterson's work. 

Related Materials (August 1994)
Among the materials related to Patterson's Indian programs files, the most significant are the White House Central Files subject category IN (Indians), a series in Norman Ross' Domestic Council files consisting for the most part of 1974 Patterson files inherited by Ross, the Theodore Marrs (Public Liaison Office) files, and the files of Bobbie Greene Kilberg in the Counsel's office.


Native American Programs File, (1973) 1974-76.  (Boxes 1-6, 2.2 linear feet)
Correspondence exchanged between Patterson and representatives of Native American tribes and federal officials from 1973-74, when Patterson served under Leonard Garment, and 1976 when he was special assistant. The 1976 material also includes printed materials, pamphlets, and other items sent to him, and copies of hand-typed notes to friends and associates. The files portray the living conditions of Native Americans and legal, social, and economic problems of specific tribes and reservations. Patterson's efforts to channel complaints to appropriate federal officials, monitor legislation, and arrange meetings with national and regional Indian organizations are well documented. 

Arranged alphabetically by subject.


The Library has digitized this collection. Click on folder titles to view contents.

Box 1 - Native American Programs File

Box 2 - Native American Programs File

Box 3 - Native American Programs File

Box 4 - Native American Programs File

Box 5 - Native American Programs File

Box 6 - Native American Programs File