A Guide to the Richard Yarborough Collection, 1849-1986
Son of Senator Ralph and Opal Yarborough, Richard W. "Dick" Yarborough (1931-1986) graduated from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1953 and a law degree in 1955. Upon graduation from the UT Law School, he served in Germany with the U.S. Army for two years, and in 1956 he married Ann Graham McJimsey, with whom he had three children: Claire McJimsey, Elizabeth Warren, and Jefferson Buchanan. After returning to Austin, he practiced law for two years, before working for his father in the U.S. Senate as a legislative assistant and committee counsel from 1958 to 1967.
In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Yarborough to the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), established in 1946 by the federal government to hear claims of Native American tribes against the United States. The ICC heard claims and awarded financial compensation for loss of land and other grievances, which resulted from broken treaties with the tribes. Yarborough created the first map printed to depict Indian land areas established by U.S. courts, and his service on the commission, fighting for the rights of Native Americans, earned him the respect and admiration of the Indian tribes he helped.
When the ICC adjourned in 1978, Yarborough became chairman of the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, which provided recommendations to the State Department regarding the recovery of private claims against foreign governments, and served there until his retirement in 1981. After his death from a sudden strep infection combined with complications with arthritis in 1986, the UT Law School established the Richard W. Yarborough Native American Indian Scholarship.
In 1988, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, through Professor Hans Baade of the UT Law School, donated materials from their ICC claims case, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana et al. versus United States, to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in Richard Yarborough’s honor. The tribe brought suit against the federal government through the Indian Claims Commission. Yarborough’s support for the Coushatta Tribe helped them gain federal recognition in 1973 and monetary compensation from the U.S. in 1988.
Richard Yarborough Collection, 1849-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. "Red Shoe’s People – A History of the Sovereign Nation of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana." Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. http://www.coushatta.org/history.html (accessed August 6, 2010).
Thompson, Randy V., and Brandon Thompson. "50 Years Past the Deadline…Why Are Indian Tribes Still Suing Over Ancient Treaties?" Citizens Equal Rights Alliance. http://www.citizensalliance.org /links/pages/articles and CERA news/Indian Claims Commission Article.htm (accessed August 5, 2010).
The Richard Yarborough Collection, 1849-1986, relates to claims and lawsuits brought before the Indian Claims Commission during Yarborough’s service as commissioner. The primary component of the collection, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana case records concerns their lawsuit, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana et al. versus United States; the history of the Alabama-Coushatta Indians of Louisiana; and other Native American tribes in the southeastern United States. The collection consists of original correspondence, ledgers, and a broadside as well as photocopies of correspondence, legal materials, dockets, printed materials, maps, and census records.
This collection is open for research use.
Richard Yarborough Collection, 1849-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers