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Title: Native American Cultures ... The goal of many Native Americ


1
Chapter Eight
  • Native Americans
  • From Conquest to Tribal Survival in
    Postindustrial Society

Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
2
Tribal Survival?
The contact period for Native Americans lasted
nearly 300 years, ending with the Indian Wars of
the late 1800s. At the dawn of the 20th century
, American Indians were a conquered and colonized
minority group living on paternalistic government
controlled reservations on the fringes of
development and change, marginalized, relatively
powerless, and isolated. At the dawn of the 21s
t century, Native Americans remain among the most
disadvantaged, poorest, and most isolated of
minority groups, however, the group is not
without resources and strategies for improving
their situation.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
3
Native American Cultures
The dynamics of Native American and
Anglo-American relationships have been shaped by
the vast differences in culture, values, and
norms between the two groups. There were (and a
re) hundreds of different tribes each with its
own language and heritage. However, some patte
rns and cultural characteristics are widely
shared across the tribes, and we will concentrate
on these similarities.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
4
Native American Cultures
The goal of many Native American tribes was to
live in harmony with the natural world, not
improve it or use it for their own selfish
purposes. The concept of private property, or t
he ownership of things, was not prominent in
Native American cultures. Native American cultu
res and societies also tended to be more oriented
toward groups than toward individuals.
Many Native American tribes were organized aroun
d egalitarian values that stressed the dignity
and worth of every man, woman, and child.
These differences in values, compounded by the p
ower differentials that emerged, often placed
Native Americans at a disadvantage when dealing
with the dominant group.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
5
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
Reservations were paternalistically controlled
and corrupted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Native Americans on the reservations were subjec
ted to coercive acculturation or forced
Americanization. Dawes Allotment Act of 1887 B
oarding Schools Native Americans were virtually
powerless to change the reservation system or
avoid the campaign of acculturation, nonetheless,
they resented and resisted and many languages and
cultural elements survived the early reservation
period.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
6
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
By the 1930s, the failure of the reservation
system and the policy of forced assimilation had
become obvious to all who cared to observe.
The Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934 brok
e sharply with the federal policies of the past
rescinded the Dawes Act (1887) mechanisms of co
ercive Americanization were dismantled
financial aid were made available for the
economic development of the reservations
allowed for an increase in Native American
self-governance.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
7
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
Although sympathetic to Native Americans, many of
its intentions were never realized, and the
empowerment of the tribes was not unqualified.
Self-governance generally took place on the domi
nant groups terms. The IRA had variable effect
s on Native American women. Not all tribes were
capable of taking advantage of the opportunities
provided by the legislation, and some ended up
being further victimized.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
8
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
In 1953, assimilationist forces won a victory
when Congress passed a resolution, called
termination, that called for an end to the
reservation system. Under this policy, all spec
ial relationshipsincluding treaty
obligationsbetween the federal government and
the tribes would end. Tribes would no longer ex
ist as legally recognized entities, and tribal
lands and other resources would be placed in
private hands (Josephy, 1968, pp. 353355).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
9
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
The termination process was administered hastily,
and fraud, misuse of funds, and other injustices
were common. At about the same time that the te
rmination policy came into being, employment and
relocation assistance programs were established
to encourage Native Americans to move to urban
areas. Because of their relatively low average
levels of educational attainment and their racial
and cultural differences, Native Americans in the
city tended to encounter the same problems
experienced by African Americans and other
minority groups of color.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
10
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
11
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
Native American women also migrated to the city
in considerable numbers, and often carried the
burden of supporting the family as urban
discrimination, unemployment, and poverty made it
difficult for the men to fulfill the role of
breadwinner. Native American women in the city
continue to practice their traditional cultures
and maintain the tribal identity of their
children despite difficulties inherent in
combining child rearing and a job outside the
home (Joe Miller, 1994, p. 186).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
12
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
Although many individual Indians prosper in the
urban environment, moving to the city often
trades rural poverty for the urban variety with
little net improvement in life chances.
On the reservation, there may be opportunities f
or political participation and leadership roles
that are not available in the cities.
Reservations also offer kinfolk, friends, religi
ous services, and tribal celebrations (Snipp,
1989, p. 84). Even so, it was much easier to es
tablish networks of friendship and affiliation
across tribal lines in the cities, and virtually
all Native American organizational vehicles of
protest have had urban roots.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
13
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
The termination policy was such an obvious
disaster that the pressure to push tribes to
termination faded in the late 1950s.
Since the 1960s, federal Indian policy has gener
ally returned to the tradition set by the IRA.
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assi
stance Act was passed in 1975, and increased aid
to reservation schools and Native American
students and increased tribal control over the
administration of the reservations, from police
forces to the schools and road maintenance.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
14
Relations with the Federal Government after the
1890s
The Self-Determination Act (1975) primarily
benefited the larger tribes with well-established
administrative and governing structures.
Nonetheless, this new phase of federal policy ha
s allowed Native American tribes to plot their
own courses free of paternalistic regulation, and
just as important, it gave them the tools and
resources to address their problems and improve
their situations.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
15
Protest and Resistance
The modern protest movement has focused on
several complementary goals protecting Native
American resources and treaty rights,
striking a balance between assimilation and plur
alism, and finding a relationship with the dom
inant group that would permit a broader array of
life chances without sacrificing tribal identity
and heritage.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
16
Protest and Resistance
The modern phase of the protest movement began
during World War II as many Native Americans
served in the military or moved to the city to
take jobs in aid of the war effort.
Also, political activism on the reservation stim
ulated by the IRA, continued through the war
years and recognized that many problems were
shared across tribal lines. The Pan-Tribal Nati
onal Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was
established in 1944 and consisted of Native
Americans educated and experienced in the white
world, yet stressed the importance of preserving
the old ways and tribal institutions as well as
protecting Indian welfare.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
17
Protest and Resistance
Termination and urbanization in the 50s and 60s
increased protest. By the 1960s and 1970s, a Re
d Power movement developed that stressed
self-determination and pride in race and cultural
heritage. Washington fish-in 1965 American I
ndian Movement 1968 Alcatraz Island Occupation 19
69 Trail of Broken Treaties 1972 Wounded Knee Oc
cupation 1973 Since the early 1970s, lawsuits a
nd court cases have predominated over dramatic
direct confrontations.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
18
Protest and Resistance
As the pan-tribal protest movement forged ties
between members of diverse tribes, the successes
of the movement and changing federal policy and
public opinion encouraged a rebirth of commitment
to tribalism and Indian-ness.
Native Americans were simultaneously stimulated
to assimilate (by stressing their common
characteristics and creating organizational forms
that united the tribes) and to retain a
pluralistic relationship with the larger society
(by working for self-determination and enhanced
tribal power and authority). Thus, part of the
significance of the Red Power movement was that
it encouraged both pan-tribal unity and a
continuation of tribal diversity (Olson Wilson,
1984, p. 206).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
19
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
20
The Continuing Struggle for Development in
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Ironically, land allotted to Native American
tribes sometimes turned out to be rich in
resources that became valuable in the 20th
century. 3 of oil and natural gas reserves 15
of U.S. coal reserves 55 of uranium reserves
title to water rights, fishing rights,
woodlands that could sustain a lumbering
industry, and wilderness areas that could be dev
eloped for camping, hunting, and other forms of
recreation. The challenge faced by the Council
of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) is to retain
control of these resources and to develop them
for the benefit of the tribes.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
21
The Continuing Struggle for Development in
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Many efforts to develop the reservations have
focused on creating jobs by attracting industry
through such incentives as low taxes, low rents,
and a low-wage pool of labor The jobs that have
materialized are typically low wage and have few
benefits usually, non-Indians fill the more
lucrative managerial positions.
These new jobs may transform the welfare poor i
nto the working poor (Snipp, 1996, p. 398), but
their potential for raising economic vitality is
low.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
22
The Continuing Struggle for Development in
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
For many tribes, the treaties signed with the
federal government in the 19th century offer
another potential resource as they were often
violated by white elements and agencies of the
dominant group. Many tribes are pursuing this t
rail of broken treaties and seeking compensation
for the wrongs of the past. Virtually every tri
be has similar grievances, and if pursued
successfully, the long-dead treaty relationship
between the Indian nations and the government
could be a significant fount of economic and
political resources.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
23
The Continuing Struggle for Development in
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Another potential resource for Native Americans
is the gambling industry, which was made possible
by 1988 federal legislation. Various tribes hav
e sought other ways to capitalize on their
freedom from state regulation and taxesselling
cigarettes tax-free and exploring the possibility
of housing nuclear waste and other refuse of
industrialization. Without denying the success
stories, the lives of most Native Americans
continue to be limited by poverty and
powerlessness, prejudice, and discrimination.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
24
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Anti-Indian prejudice has been a part of American
society from the beginning. One stereotype, esp
ecially strong during periods of conflict,
depicts Indians as bloodthirsty, ferocious, and
inhumanly cruel savages capable of any atrocity.
The other image of Native Americans is that of
the noble redman who lives in complete harmony
with nature and symbolizes goodwill and pristine
simplicity (Bordewich, 1996, p. 34).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
25
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
A variety of studies have documented continued
stereotyping of Native Indians in the popular
press, textbooks, the media, cartoons, and
various other places (for example, see Bird,
1999 Rouse Hanson, 1991). The persistence of
stereotypes is illustrated by continuing
controversies surrounding nicknames for athletic
teams and the use of Native American mascots,
tomahawk chops, and other practices offensive
to many Native Americans.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
26
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
The very limited evidence available from social
distance scales suggests that overt anti-Indian
prejudice has declined. The situation of Native
American women is also underresearched, but like
their counterparts in other minority groups and
the dominant group, they are systematically paid
less than their male counterparts in similar
circumstances (Snipp, 1992 p. 363).
Research is unclear about the severity or extent
of discrimination against Native Americans, but
institutional discrimination is a major barrier
for Native Americans.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
27
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
According to Census Bureau data, 23 of Native
Americans speak a language other than English,
and of those, about 38 do not speak English
very well (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1995).
These figures suggest that the tribal language r
emains the primary tongue for as many as 10 of
the group. Snipp (1989) reports that the streng
th of native languages varies by region.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
28
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Religions and value systems, political and
economic structures, cuisine, and recreational
patterns have all survived each pattern has been
altered, however, by contact with the dominant
group. The American Dream Native American Chur
ch
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
29
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Native Americans have been considerably more
successful than African Americans in preserving
their traditional cultures, due to the
differences in their relationships to the
dominant group. However, a number of social for
ces are working against pluralism and the
survival of tribal cultures. Pan-tribalism may
threaten the integrity of individual tribal
cultures. Opportunities for jobs, education, an
d higher incomes draw Native Americans to more
developed urban areas and will continue to do so
as long as the reservations are underdeveloped.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
30
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Recent increases in the Native American populati
on are partly due to higher birth rates, changing
definitions of race in the larger society, and a
much greater willingness of people to claim
Indian ancestry (Thornton, 2001, p. 137).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
31
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
32
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
33
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
34
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
35
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
36
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
37
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
38
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
39
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
One positive development for the education of
American Indians is the rapid increase in
tribally controlled colleges, over 30 of which
have been built since the 1960s.
These institutions are mostly 2-year community c
olleges located on or near reservations, and some
have been constructed with funds generated in the
gaming industry. They are designed to be more
sensitive to the educational and cultural needs
of the group, and tribal college graduates who
transfer to 4-year colleges are more likely to
graduate than other American Indian students
(Pego, 1998).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
40
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
The ability of Native Americans to exert power as
a voting bloc very limited by group size, lower
average levels of education, language
differences, lack of economic resources, and
factional differences within and between tribes
and reservations. The number of Native American
s holding elected office is minuscule, far less
than 1 (Pollard OHare, 1999, p. 41).
In 1992, however, Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Col
orado became the first Native American to be
elected to the U.S. Senate, and he continues to
hold his seat in 2002. There is currently only
one Native American in the House of
Representatives.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
41
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
As in the case of African Americans, the overall
unemployment rate for all Native Americans is
about double the rate for whites.
For Indians living on or near reservations, howe
ver, the rate is much higher.
It averaged 50 in 1997 (U.S. Bureau of Indian A
ffairs, 1997) but ranged up to 70 to 80 on the
smaller, more isolated reservations.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
42
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
43
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
In 1979, median household income for Native
Americans was 68 of median household income for
non-Hispanic whites (OHare, 1992, p 34).
By 1997, this figure had risen to only 72 of me
dian household income for non-Hispanic whites
(Pollard OHare, 1999, p. 36).
In 1969, about one third of all Native American
families had incomes below the federal poverty
line, and the percentage was higher on the
reservations (Snipp, 1992, pp. 362363).
By 1997, the percentage had fallen to 25 but wa
s still almost 3 times the poverty rate for
whites (Pollard OHare, 1999, p. 41).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
44
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
Rates of intermarriage for Native Americans are
quite high compared with other groups.
The higher rate of marriage outside the group fo
r Native Americans is partly the result of the
small size of the group. Marriages with non-Ind
ians are much more common in metropolitan areas,
away from the reservations. They are also assoc
iated with higher levels of education, greater
participation in the labor force, higher income
levels, and lower rates of poverty (Snipp, 1989,
pp. 160164).
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
45
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
46
Contemporary Native American-White Relations
In comparing Native Americans with African
Americans The differences in the stereotypes a
ttached to the two groups are consistent with the
outcomes of the contact period.
Their contact situations were governed by very d
ifferent dynamics and a very different dominant
group agenda, which shaped subsequent
relationships with the dominant group and the
place of the groups in the larger society.
While African Americans spent much of the 20th c
entury struggling for inclusion and equality,
Native Americans were fighting to maintain or
recover their traditional cultures and social
structures.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
47
Progress and Challenges
Native Americans are growing rapidly in numbers
and are increasingly diversified by residence,
education, and degree of assimilation.
Some tribes have made dramatic progress over the
past several decades, but enormous problems
remain, both on and off the reservations.
The challenge for the future, as it was in the p
ast, is to find a course between pluralism and
assimilation and pan-tribalism and traditional
lifestyles that will balance the issues of
quality of life against the importance of
retaining an Indian identity.
Pine Forge Press, an imprint of Sage
Publications, 2003
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