The Native
Americans
Diversity
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Culture
Language
Kinship system
Political - economic
In 1500 Native American population stood at
10,000,000 and by 1900 declined to less than
250,000
Eurocentric
and Native
American
Views of
Expansionism
Government Actions toward Native Americans
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1778 - Continental Congress: Reaffirms 1763 British
policy (tribes accorded independent nation status; lands
west of the Appalachian mountains are Native American;
royal government must approve all land purchases).
1787 - Northwest Territory Ordinance: Opens the
Midwest for settlement; declares U.S. government
responsible for Native American property rights and
liberty.
1824 - Bureau of Indian Affairs is created under the
jurisdiction of the secretary of war.
1830 - Indian Removal Bill: Mandates all Indians must
move west of the Mississippi.
Government Actions toward Native Americans
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Indian Removal Act (1830)
 This act called for the expulsion of all Native
Americans from southeastern states and their relocation
to the territory west of the Mississippi.
 Combining two Supreme Court Cases (1832), the court
ruled that the Cherokee were a “domestic dependent
nation”.
1830–1880 - As forced segregation becomes the new
Native American reality most reservations are established.
1871 - Appropriations bill rider: ended federal recognition
of Native American tribes as independent or as “domestic
dependent nations”
Government Actions (continued)
 made tribes wards of the government, no longer
independent nations; legislation, not
negotiation, is to determine any new
arrangements.
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1887 - Dawes Act: Reservations divided in tracts, allotted
to individual tribal members; surplus land sold.
1898 - Curtis Act: Terminates tribal governments that
refuse allotment to individual tribal members; surplus
land sold.
1906 - Burke Act: Eliminates Native Americans’ right to
lease their land, with the intent to force Native Americans
to work the land themselves.
Government Actions (continued)
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1924 - Indian Citizenship Act: Grants US citizenship
1934 - Indian Reorganization Act: Ends allotment,
encourages tribal self-government; restores freedom of
religion; extends financial credit to the tribes
 gave preference in BIA employment to Native
Americans
 permitted consolidation of Native American lands split
up through inheritance, and
 promotes revival of Native American culture and
crafts.
1952 - Relocation Program: Moves Native Americans at
government expense to urban areas for better jobs.
Government Actions (continued)
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1953 - Termination Act: Elimination of reservation
systems, ends federal services and tax immunity.
From 1953-1954 a series of bills sought to end federal
responsibility for welfare and administration of Native
Americans.
1972 - Indian Education Act
1973 - Menominee Restoration Act: Revokes termination
and restores Menominee’s reservation and tribal status.
1974 - Indian Finance Act: Grants and loans for Native
American enterprises and development projects .
1975 - Indian Self-Determination and Education
Assistance Act: Expands tribal control over reservation
programs; provides funding for public schools on/near
reservations.
Formerly Terminated Native American Tribes Now Restored
The Termination Act of 1953
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The most controversial governmental policy
toward reservation life
It reduced costs and ignored individual needs
Federal services were stopped immediately
The effect of the governmental order was
disastrous
In 1975, the government resumed the services
Government Actions (continued)
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1976 - Indian Health Care Improvement Act: Provides
funds to build/renovate hospitals, add personnel, scholarships for Native Americans in Indian Health Service.
From 1977-1990 most tribes that had been terminated had
their federal recognition restored, but in many cases, not
their land.
1978 - Education Amendments Act: Gives substantial
control over education programs to Native Americans.
1978 - Tribally Controlled Community College Assistance
Act: Provides grants to tribal community colleges.
Government Actions (continued)
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1978 - Indian Child Welfare Act: Restricts placement of
Native American children into non-Native American
homes.
1978 - American Indian Religious Freedom Act: Protects
Native American religious rights, including peyote use.
1988 - Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
1993 - Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Restores
standards of review for American Indian Religious
Freedom Act that were overturned by a Supreme Court
ruling in 1990.
1993 - Omnibus Indian Advancement Act: Establishes
foundation for gifts to BIA schools; increases economic
development opportunities for tribes; improves tribal
governance.
1990 - Indian Art & Craft Act
Native American Lands and
Communities
Ten Largest
American Indian
Tribal Groupings,
2000
Reservation Life & Federal Policies
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Approximately 25% of the Native American
population live on reservations with
approximately 75% living in Urban areas
There are slightly over 557 recognized
reservations in the United States
Native American Legal Claims
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From 1836 to 1946 Native Americans could
not bring a claim against the government
without an Act of Congress
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Only 142 claims were heard during this period
In 1946 Congress established the Indian
Claims Commission to hear claims against the
government
Native American Legal Claims
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Led to an increase in claims
Commission was extended until 1978 - now
cases are heard by U.S. Court of Claims
Amount of awards and setoffs
The case of the Black Hills
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Desire to recover land over financial settlement
Employment Assistance Program
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Program led to the relocation from reservations
to urban areas
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Provided educational and business assistance
Impact on the economic development of the
reservation and the brain drain
Return to the reservation
Sovereignty
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While collaborative action gathering cannot be
minimized, there continues to be a strong
effort to maintain tribal sovereignty or tribal
self-rule
Collective Action
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Pan-Indianism
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Intertribal movement and solidarity
Emerged out of the effects of internal colonialism
A social movement attempting to establish a
Native American ethnic identity instead of just a
tribal identity
has not been completely accepted as many Native
Americans prefer to preserve their own tribal
identity.
Action occurred at Alcatraz (1969) and at
Wounded Knee, SD (1973)
Red Power
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National Congress of American Indians (NCAI),
founded in Denver 1948
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Political role of NCAI
Provides national leadership on issues facing tribal communities
throughout the United States. Services include legislative alerts
and lobbying.
Founded in response to termination and assimilation policies that
the United States forced upon the tribal governments in
contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereigns.
NCAI stressed the need for unity and cooperation among tribal
governments for the protection of their treaty and sovereign rights.
Since 1944, the National Congress of American Indians has been
working to inform the public and Congress on the governmental
rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
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Collective Action
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Urban problems and AIM- founded by Clyde
Bellecourt and Dennis Banks in 1968 at
Minneapolis, MN
Fishing rights in the Northwest and fish-ins
Takeover of Alcatraz in 1969
Red Power
Aim and the Ogallala Sioux and Wounded
Knee
Native Americans Today
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Economic development - high rate of
unemployment and poverty
Tourism and the double edged sword
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source of income but also a source of degradation
Cottage industries
Income from mineral rights
Casino gambling
Native Americans Today
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Government employment
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Federal control of Native American education
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BIA subculture
Education
BIA schools
Some tribes formed their own education systems
Educational Attainment - drop out or pushout rate is
50% higher than for Blacks or Hispanics
Testing, schooling and the crossover effect
Education
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Under-enrollment at all levels, from the primary
grades through college
The need to adjust to a school with values sometimes
dramatically different from those of the home
The need to make the curriculum more relevant
The under-financing of tribal community colleges
The unique hardships encountered by reservationborn Native Americans who later live in and attend
schools in large cities
The language barrier faced by the many children who
have little or no knowledge of English
Healthcare
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High rate of:
1. Alcoholism and mortality
2. Under nutrition
3. Tuberculosis and death
4. High rate of teenage suicide
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Lack of access to health care resources
Religious Expression
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American Indian Religious Freedom Act passed by
Congress in 1978
Act contains no penalties and enforcement provisions
Native American Church - ritualistic use of peyote
and marijuana
In 1994, Congress amended the Indian Religious
Freedom Act to allow Native Americans the right to
use, transport, and possess peyote for religious
purposes
Environment
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CERT was formed in 1976 - Council of Energy
Resource Tribes
Consisted of twenty-five of the West’s largest tribes
Other tribes were added later
Purpose to protect and develop tribal natural
resources such as natural gas
Environmental justice
Continued land disputes
Environmental justice
Balance between environmental and economic needs
Spiritual needs
Native Americans - Still Exploited
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Today, many people in the U.S. are oblivious to Native
Americans’ problems and consider them quaint relics of
the past; others find them undesirable and some want
their land and will use almost any means to secure it.
Native Americans still encounter discrimination in stores,
bars, and housing, particularly in cities and near the
reservations. They have been beaten or killed and their
property rights infringed on.
Of all the minorities in the United States, according to
government statistics on income, Native Americans are
the “poorest of the poor.”
Present-Day Native American Life
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By 2002 the Native American and Alaska native
population was 2.8 million.
– The Native American birth rate is almost twice the national
average.
– Half the population of Native Americans live on
reservations that provide inadequate economic support.
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Chronic unemployment is a serious problem.
Some tribes have succeeded through their own
efforts.
Present-Day Native American Life
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The average life span in some tribes is 45 years.
– Nationally, the average life span is about 10 years
less than the average.
Deaths by suicide among Native American
males aged 15 to 24 is 50% greater than among
the general population’s youth.
 The most serious problem facing Native
Americans today is alcohol abuse.
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Still Exploited (continued)
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Encroachment on Native American land continues.
Water and energy needs have led government and
industry to look covetously at reservation land once
considered worthless.
Poor, but with large tracts of isolated land, Native
Americans in recent years have seen their reservations
recommended as toxic-waste dumping grounds.
Urban sprawl and agribusiness have prompted whites to
sink deep wells around reservations in Arizona,
siphoning off the water reserves of several tribes.
A growing number of sacred Native American sites are
under threat from housing developments and industrial
plants.
Present-Day Native American Life
The Educational Amendments Act of 1978 gave
substantial control over school programs to the
Native American communities.
 Bilingual Native American language programs in
17 states help preserve ancestral language and
teach English to children who were raised in
homes where only their tribal language was
spoken.
 One of the most visible signs of Native Americans’
economic deprivation is reservation house.
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Urban Native Americans
About 70 percent of all Native Americans live in
urban areas or away from the reservations.
 Twice as many urban Native Americans live in
poverty compared to all other racial and ethnic
groups combined.
 Although urban Native Americans are more likely
to be employed than those who remain on the
reservation, they do not achieve any improved
income earnings, on average, until after five years
of residence in the city.
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Social Indicators About Native American Progress
(in percentages)
Socioeconomic Characteristics of Native Americans,
2000
The Courts
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In the late 20th century legal efforts to force the
government to honor tribes’ treaty rights were
more numerous and successful.
– Legal action occurred in
South Dakota
Washington
Colorado
New York
Maine
Wyoming
New Mexico
Intergroup Relations Continuum
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The Native Americans - El Camino College Compton Center