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"Why are Indian reservations so poor?"
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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"Why are Indian reservations so poor?"  Reply with quote  

"If everyone owns the land, no one does. So the result is substandard housing and the barren, rundown look that comes from a lack of investment, overuse and environmental degradation. Itís a look thatís common worldwide, wherever secure property rights are lackingómuch of Africa and South America, inner city housing projects and rent-controlled apartment buildings in the U.S., Indian reservations."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoppisch/2011/12/13/why-are-indian-reservations-so-poor-a-look-at-the-bottom-1/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

I'm sure there are people who say that this isn't the total truth, but from my experiences there many more people who will say that it is. That said, if we were to assume that this is true right now, I highly doubt that this has always been the case. I'm wondering what the people here have to say about this.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:36 am
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corporateslave



Joined: 10 May 2005
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Location: Lawrence, KS
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Pretty clearly some shaky logic. Slumlords take great care of the property they have absolute ownership of.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:28 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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Amazing that the author describes alcoholism and drug use as symptoms, which makes you think he's going to address the main issue. Kind of.

The real issue is not that land isn't owned by Native people; it's that it's supposed to be, per a massive swath of treaties, and isn't. It's that the reservation land "allotted" to Native people was initially viewed as worthless, barren, and so forth, and they were pushed aside to make way for western settlement. It's that the federal government enforced assimilation programs, sterilization, and the dissolution of family unity. There are a litany of other factors that have contributed to the impoverishment of reservations.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:17 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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I should also add that there has been, and perhaps still is, a lot of intratribal corruption. Jim Northrup details this in the book Rez Road, and Dick Wilson's GOONs in Wounded Knee embodied this idea. Basically there is sometimes a discrepancy between casino income, trust money dispensed by the federal government, and how that money is doled out by tribal councils. I'm saying this not to disparage Native people, but to illustrate that Native people aren't homogeneous groups, and that problems on the reservation aren't solely caused by outside forces.
Post Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:22 am
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Dan Shay



Joined: 30 Aug 2003
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Location: MN
Re: "Why are Indian reservations so poor?"  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
"If everyone owns the land, no one does. So the result is substandard housing and the barren, rundown look that comes from a lack of investment, overuse and environmental degradation. Itís a look thatís common worldwide, wherever secure property rights are lackingómuch of Africa and South America, inner city housing projects and rent-controlled apartment buildings in the U.S., Indian reservations."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoppisch/2011/12/13/why-are-indian-reservations-so-poor-a-look-at-the-bottom-1/?utm_campaign=forbestwittersf&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

I'm sure there are people who say that this isn't the total truth, but from my experiences there many more people who will say that it is. That said, if we were to assume that this is true right now, I highly doubt that this has always been the case. I'm wondering what the people here have to say about this.


the Last of the people around here that talked Ojibwe as a 1st language passed away one generation ago.

That means two to three generations ago children were abducted from their homes and forcibly put in boarding schools.

Literally a cultural genocide.

Cultures and Legacies mean a lot, you can not look at the people still on Reservations and draw conclusions like this.

Experiences may vary, the tribes are so individual and run the spectrum, so much that making broad assumptions like this about them is more like a Rorschach test that tells more about where your bias lies rather than an actual observations on the current situation.

If you want to speak of the current situation in Native Americans, it would be best to study the negative aspects of 1950s-1960s Termination Era and systematic assimilation practices that came before this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_termination_policy

The gist of your article is classic Positivism, 1st World vs Third World aka. Why We're Better Than Them.

We've discussed this before, I don't think our systems are better, I think the white man had a small pox advantage that they exploited to gain the land and the world's grain supply ever since.

Are we really better off?

We come from the land of the Black Friday Stampede/Riot. Our problems just more triflin.
Post Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:50 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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You're mostly on point Dan, but the biggest thing is the compressed timescale. Termination policy entered into the picture because the US government wanted to sever the relationship established by hundreds of treaties since the late 1700s. Many of them granted lang usage for financial sums, most of which were to be paid in perpetuity. The government tired of this, and sought to 'terminate' the relationship, thereby ending their financial obligation to a large number of tribes. They felt they could do this because of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act which, among other things, allowed for Native people to own and operate their own businesses. This has since become almost entirely casino-based, but there are some other avenues, largely related to tourism, museums, and artistry. At any rate, the reservation system goes back even further to the 1887 General Allotment Act, which set aside specific territories for Native people, who were now seen as safely pacified, conquered, and otherwise rendered harmless.
Post Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:05 pm
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medicineman
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Joined: 21 Apr 2007
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This is one of those things where I'm realizing gradually how much I should know that I don't. Anyone got any good book recommendations on this?
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:47 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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One of the best books on the topic is Vine Deloria's American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century. Look into Kent Carter's Dawes Commission: And the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes for a regional case study. Another good book is Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law by David Wilkins and Tsianina Lomawaima. For a more positive and indigenous centered outlook, try Native American Tribalism by D'Arcy McNickle and Peter Iverson. The most recent text on the general subject is by a friend, Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, called The Crooked Path to Allotment.

Finding an academic text solely about reservations is difficult, but there are a couple of informative first-hand accounts of the lifestyle worth checking out: Jim Northrup's Rez Road and David Treuer's Rez Life.

If you'd like to know a bit more about how Native American's appear in American society, check out Phil Deloria's Playing Indian.

If you want legitimate and sweeping invective (as opposed to Ward Churchill's pseudo-radicalism), check out Francis Jennings' The Invasion of America.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:38 pm
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Sage Francis
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Re: "Why are Indian reservations so poor?"  Reply with quote  

Dan Shay wrote:
Are we really better off?


I really wanted to not let this question linger in my brain for as long as it did. Wanted to ignore it and just be like, "Yeah...you're right. I mean...in the grand scheme of things, is one spiritual being truly better off than another?" Leave well enough alone.

But fuck that.

The answer is yes. When considering living standards, most of us are better off in many ways than the communities who live in virtual squalor. That's besides the point though. My question is why there is such a strong pattern to this kind of shit happening.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:53 pm
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tommi teardrop



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
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Location: Las Vegas
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I would say that there is a pattern of this shit happening because there are common circumstances that lead to the conditions you see on most reservations. You have groups of people, many of which were moved from where they chose to settle as a group (where the resources were much more abundant), struggling to balance a way of life that is, at this point, a fairy tale mixed with the contemporary American life of consumption and captitalism. You add cultural imperialism, intolerance to alcohol, internal corruption, and disagreement about the direction of the tribes moving forward, and it is a mish mash of all sorts of causes, similar to indigenous cultures throughout the world that have been subjected to imperialism.

Of all the causes, I do not think private vs public ownership of property is really worth mentioning. It would be like examining poverty and crime statistics for the black community and ignoring the history that lead to the current situation. As if 40 acres and a mule would solve the problem.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:55 pm
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Dan Shay



Joined: 30 Aug 2003
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Re: "Why are Indian reservations so poor?"  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:

The answer is yes. When considering living standards, most of us are better off in many ways than the communities who live in virtual squalor. That's besides the point though. My question is why there is such a strong pattern to this kind of shit happening.


You still cannot ignore ongoing history and cannot lay blame on some stereotypes about two feather Indians and lack of property rights as ongoing reasons for poverty.

If you really want to see why the Rez is poor it's because of The Termination.

To put it in extremely simple terms those living on the reservation grew accustomed to Government Cheese. Goverment Cheese was completely cut off in the 50s-70s. After that the Rez has had a major brain/labor drain where able bodied people moved away. It's simple economic push/pull factors. Factor in ongoing discrimination and the equation has very little to do with concept of property ownership on why the Rez is so poor.

Also the elephant in the room, Alcoholism. This isn't rocket surgery.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:55 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Your eagerness to point out the obvious surprises me. Pardon me if I framed this topic in a shitty or confusing way. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty well aware of Native American history. That's a discussion that happens quite often actually. I'm looking to touch on something else here and I was interested in seeing how different types of people here might perceive it.

This isn't *just* about reservations. The article I referenced in the original post is about how it seems that people tend to let their community or place of residence fall to pieces if they have no ownership of it. I think there's a psychological twist to this circumstance that didn't always exist but it does now. In a lot of places.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:05 pm
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Dan Shay



Joined: 30 Aug 2003
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Sage Francis wrote:
Your eagerness to point out the obvious surprises me. Pardon me if I framed this topic in a shitty or confusing way. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty well aware of Native American history. That's a discussion that happens quite often actually. I'm looking to touch on something else here and I was interested in seeing how different types of people here might perceive it.

This isn't *just* about reservations. The article I referenced in the original post is about how it seems that people tend to let their community or place of residence fall to pieces if they have no ownership of it. I think there's a psychological twist to this circumstance that didn't always exist but it does now. In a lot of places.


"Swidden Agriculure" or aka Swedish agriculture. which is "slash and burn" style agriculture was invented by people that believe in land ownership. They over worked the land and the soil turned to sand and washed away. We now have to pour tuns of nutrients into that sand to farm hydroponically and eventually those nutrients will run out. The story isn't written yet and might not be in our generation.

The tragedy of the commons is a proverb written by the landed elite. Forbid commoner's land ownership. Allow commoners small area with which to graze their livestock. Note they overgrase and write mental note on how these people do not function without laws forbidding them to overgraze, convienently hiding fact that you are hording vast amounts of land.

If you watch video on hunter gatherers who stick to trails, respect forests and only take what they need you'd see this property rights concept isn't valid.

Cuba and Papua New Guinea have different property rights philosophies, have some of the most sustainable organic farming in the world and do not fit into this hypothesis by any stretch of the imagination.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:04 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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I understand all of that and I dig all of that. Completely.
Post Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:38 pm
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bigsole
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the article starts out by saying the problem is that they have trouble re-possessing cars and placing liens on indigenous debtors because they dont have property...

this tells you everything you need to know the perspective this article was written from.

if the USA honored its treaties(From the beginning) with first world nations, there wouldn't be the kind of poverty/destitution/hopelessness. generation after generation they have experienced genocide that is still going on.
Post Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:03 pm
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