Collier, John, 1884–1968, American social worker, anthropologist, and author, educated at Columbia and the Collège de France. After holding several positions in community organization and social work training, he became active in Native American affairs in 1922. Collier was editor of the magazine American Indian Life from 1926 until 1933, when he was appointed commissioner of Indian Affairs, a position he held for 12 years. In addition to works in verse, he wrote Indians of the Americas (1947) and On the Gleaming Way (1962, orig. pub. 1949 as Patterns and Ceremonials of the Indians of the Southwest).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
Collier, John(1884–1968) social reformer, government official; born in Atlanta, Ga. He worked primarily as a social worker with immigrants in New York City (1908–19) before moving to California and focusing his interests on Native Americans. As founder and head of the American Indian Defense Association (1923–33), he gained a reputation as an outspoken proponent of Indians' rights. This led President Franklin Roosevelt to appoint him commissioner of Indian Affairs (1933–45); he obtained passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, which ended the hated land-allotments policy, and generally promoted more progressive policies for Native Americans. He was president of the National Indian Institute (1945–50), one of the founders of the Inter-American Institute of the Indian in Mexico City (1940), and organizer and president of the Institute of Ethnic Affairs in Washington, D.C., (1947–68). He taught at City College of New York (1947–54) and Knox College in Illinois (1955–56). He wrote several books, including Indians of the Americas (1947) and From Every Zenith (1963).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.