In 1934, as part of the legislative activity known as the New Deal, Congress passed the Wheeler-Howard, or Indian Reorganization, Act, aimed at promoting Indian
self-determination. Most Utah Indian groups accepted the IRA and elected tribal governments or business committees, passed laws, and began planning strategies for reservation economic development. Federal conservation jobs and relief were important factors in seeing Utah Indian groups through the Great Depression era.
During World War II a number of Utah Indians distinguished themselves in the armed forces and many more learned trades useful on and off their reservations. In 1948 the Indian Bureau began a relocation program to place Indians in off-reservation jobs in urban America. Many Navajos in particular took advantage of the program which, nationally, was only partially successful at best. Ties to family, culture, and land drew many back to underdeveloped reservations.