Saturday, January 28, 2006

Should We Eliminate the Indian Reservations?

I grew up next to the giant Navajo Indian Reservation. As a kid, I didn't hear a lot of positive things about "the res." I didn't fully understand then, nor do I understand now, the total picture of the legal status of the Reservations. I understand they are able to have their own police and their own laws. But they are able to take full advantage of US citizenship.

I understand that we have longstanding treaties with the various Indian tribes that promise certain benefits and give certain rights, though I don't fully understand what they are.

Here is what I see: the Reservation isn't good for the people that live there. Whatever lifestyle the reservations were supposed to preserve is long gone. It seems that the time for the reservations are past. Getting rid of the reservations is a problem fraught with sticky questions and consequences. How do you assign land owernership? What about the treaties? What happens to all those casinos?

In spite of having held the unresearched opinion for several years that we ought to get rid of the reservations, I didn't share that with many people because I didn't know how firm the logical footing of that position was. I'm still not totally sure, but finally I see someone approaching the question. Here is a piece on Opinion Journal.

6 comments:

drevegas said...

Just my thoughts . . . .well, I am actually 1/2 navajo but I grew up in the Northern Bay Area, CA. My mother always made it important to take us back to The Rez to make sure that we never forgot who we are or where we came from. I, like you, didn't always understand why there was The Rez and why there was The Rest of The U.S. But along the way after continuing to go back and learn more, I never found out as much culture, history, original stories, and traditions about the Navajo Nation, except for on The Rez. I guess the way I see it, if we broke up The Rez and "mixed it all up," the people would be no more. They would have nowhere to go back to and soon it'd only be something you read in books. Kinda like if you broke up other countries and made them all one whole just because theyre on the same land mass. Or like old buildings in the downtown part of cities, people try saving them from being turned into outlet stores or high-rise condos because theyre apart of history and it's apart of who we are. These are just my thoughts but nothing more, nothing less, just thoughts, Thanks! ; )

Bradley said...

Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment. I wonder if there is a good way to preserve the heritage and culture without all the legal baggage that comes along with the reservations. It seems the the economic conditions on the reservations are dragging more people down than lifting them up.

drevegas said...

Thats true! I have seen the conditions hit close to home and still feel helpless. Good thing we have Prayers! Hopefully someone else reading this will have greater solutions! Good thing we have Blogs! Keep up with the blogs! Thank You ; )

cutler said...

I am not indian so I dont know the cultures and stuff, but what I do know is that they are taking advantage of the citizenship. I have worked with my father for a couple of years now and almost all of the jobs that we go to the natives are drunk or smoking big ol cigars. I think that the indians have had enough time to get ahead they have had over one hundred years so they should get up and get working so they know what it is like to work for a living instead of getting paid to watch tv and drink and smoke life away. I am not saying to get rid of the whole reservation and the culture but take away the advantages over everyone else so that we are not getting ripped off by the natives. I have nothing against the culture again but I totaly agree to the keeping of records and celebrations but make them have a meaning not just drink to drink have a life where you need to work like everyone else so that everyone can live life to the fullest extent thenk you! :I

anti govment said...

If you know anything of history and or reality the so called Indians or indigenous peoples of the Americas came from Europe the same way as all other immigrants across the oceans. They were just sooner than most. They were originally the Norse men who decided to stay in North America or lost their ships, and didn't have a choice, the same as the Japanese who settled in Hawaii and other islands and South America. Either way there came along other Europeans that wanted to get away from tyrants, such as the Democrats we have now in the USA, and settled in the Americas looking for a new home as the Norse men had originally done. They are not a better native American than I am as I was born here and am a native American the same as anyone else born here. Saying native American to mean Indians is a bastardized view created by Democrats for votes to keep Indians on the reservations. If you were born here you are an American Native. If you were born in the USA you are lucky to be a native or the USA. If you were born in Los Angeles you are a native of Los Angeles, USA, North America, Earth, solar system etc. Don't let a corrupt government tell you what to say.

Anonymous said...

Natives finally got U.S. citizenship after WW2, that's when we had to learn and implement modern tribal governments. Although it has a lot of problems (like every non white country) its all we have left, every race on this planet has their own home base, blacks have Africa, whites have Europe and so on. I see so much open racism against Natives, even the nations capitals football team is called the "redskins" & nobody cares, I doubt that would be the case if they were called the "blackskins" and if Clevelands baseball team changed the logo & took out the feather and put a dot on the forehead. People would be protesting in the streets but since they're Native its ok. Alcoholism is rampant but its not as bad as people hear or like to believe. Americans hate so they focus on the negative, you've been raised to be paranoid of people not like you and that paranoia turns to hate. You're all brain washed sheeple.