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Chapter 6: The Native Americans. Diversity. “Indian Culture” – glosses over diversity Language – 1500 AD, 700 distinct languages Kinship system Political - economic In 1500 Native American population stood at 10,000,000 and by 1900 declined to less than 250,000.

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Chapter 6: The Native Americans

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  • “Indian Culture” – glosses over diversity
    • Language – 1500 AD, 700 distinct languages
    • Kinship system
    • Political - economic
  • In 1500 Native American population stood at 10,000,000 and by 1900 declined to less than 250,000
summary of contact and policies
Summary of Contact and Policies
  • 1492 Arrival of Columbus
  • 1607 Jamestown was founded
  • 1620 Pilgrims landed at Plymouth
  • 1622 First major Indian retaliation
  • 1744 Treaty of Lancaster – Indian loss of land
  • 1778 First treaty between US and Indians
summary of contact and policies4
Summary of Contact and Policies
  • 1803 US Louisiana Purchase
  • 1824 BIA established; placed in the Department of War
  • 1830 Indian Removal Act – eastern tribes moved west
  • 1854 Indian Appropriation Act
  • 1862 Railroad Act
  • 1868 Fort Laramie Peace Conference
  • 1887 General Allotment Act (Dawes) – Subdivided land
summary of contact and policies5
Summary of Contact and Policies
  • 1924 Indian Citizenship Act
  • 1944 National Congress of American


  • 1947 Indian Claims Commission Act
  • 1948 Indians allowed to vote in Arizona
  • 1953 Termination Act – closes reservations and federal funding
  • 1962 Indians allowed to vote in New


  • 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act
summary of contact and policies6
Summary of Contact and Policies
  • 1972 Indian Education Act
  • 1975 Indian Self-Determination Act
  • 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act
  • 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act
  • 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
  • 1990 Indian Art & Craft Act
reservation life and federal policies
Reservation Life and Federal Policies
  • 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
Native American Legal Claims
  • From 1836 to 1946 Native Americans could not bring a claim against the government without an Act of Congress
    • 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 claims9
Native American Legal Claims
  • 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 increased
  • The case of the Black Hills
    • Indian chose to recover land rather than seek a financial settlement
the termination act of 1953
The Termination Act of 1953
  • 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
employment assistance program
Employment Assistance Program
  • Program led to the relocation from reservations to urban areas off the reservations
    • Government provided educational and business assistance…
    • …but the impact was disastrous on the economic development of the reservation and led to brain drain
  • By 1965, about 1/3 returned to the reservation
collective action
Collective Action
  • Pan-Indianism
    • Intertribal movement toward solidarity and common identity
    • Emerged out of the effects of “internal colonialism” –the treatment of subordinate peoples as colonial subjects by those in power
  • National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), founded in Denver 1948
    • Political role of NCAI was to lobby Washington for an Indian voice
collective action13
Collective Action
  • Urban problems and AIM- founded by Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks in 1968 at Minneapolis, MN: police brutality to alcohol rehabilitation
  • Conflict over fishing rights in the Northwest led to “fish-ins”: civil disobedience acts
  • Takeover of Alcatraz in 1969: Indians claimed the “excess land”; left a year later, but this led to…
    • Red Power: BIA sympathizers labeled “apples”
  • AIM led a 70 day occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D. to oust the leader of the Ogallala Sioux tribe
  • While collaborative action gathering cannot be minimized, there continues to be a strong effort to maintain tribal sovereignty or tribal self-rule
native americans today
Native Americans Today
  • Poor economic development – continued high rate of unemployment and poverty
  • Tourism is a double edged sword
    • It is a source of income but also a source of degradation
    • Cottage industries - craftwork
  • Some income from mineral rights
  • Casino gambling – significant income, but all of the negatives that associate gambling
native americans today16
Native Americans Today
  • Government employment – major source of employment
    • BIA subculture
    • BIA educated workforce
  • Federal control of Native American education
    • BIA schools
  • Some tribes formed their own education systems…with mixed results
  • Educational Attainment - drop out or pushout rate is 50% higher than for Blacks or Hispanics
  • Testing, schooling,
    • and the “crossover effect” – IQ tests taken in English instead of native language yields lower scores
  • There is under-enrollment at all levels, from the primary grades through college
  • There is a need to adjust to a school with values sometimes dramatically different from those of the home
  • There is a need to make the curriculum more relevant
  • Tribal community colleges are under-financed
  • Reservation-born Native Americans encounter hardships when students 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 is problematic
  • Native Americans suffer high rates of:

1. Alcoholism and mortality

2. Under-nutrition

3. Tuberculosis leading to death

4. High rate of teenage suicide

  • Lack of access to health care resources – poverty is a major contributor
religious expression
Religious Expression
  • American Indian Religious Freedom Act passed by Congress in 1978
    • Act contains no penalties and enforcement provisions – “the law with no teeth”
  • 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
  • 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 is to protect and develop tribal natural resources such as natural gas
  • Struggle for “environmental justice”
  • Land disputes continue
  • Balance between environmental and economic needs, just as it is in larger society
  • Spiritual needs are at times associated with environmental issues, such as the inability to restrict access to sacred sites that exist in very public places