Presentation on theme: "What is the condition of Native Americans Today? Indian populations are diverse, geographically dispersed, and often economically disadvantaged. According."— Presentation transcript:
What is the condition of Native Americans Today? Indian populations are diverse, geographically dispersed, and often economically disadvantaged. According to the U.S. Census 2000, American Indian/Alaska Natives constitute about 1 percent of the U.S. population, with more than two-thirds of Native Americans living in the West Central and Mountain regions.
The U.S. government recognizes over 500 Indian tribes, most of which have reservations west of the Mississippi River. Created by Ingolf Vogeler on 1 June 1996; last revised on. Retrieved from http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w188/i3.htm on 04/08/04
What is the traditional Native American view towards nature and natural disasters? Native Americans traditionally held the animistic belief that all things in nature, including mountains and rivers, are alive.
The concept that disaster and other natural phenomena could be explained by telling stories relating to spirits was widely held.
How did Native Americans traditionally attempt to become prosperous and avoid disasters? Native American tribes gave thanks to one or more spirits in nature in order to maintain nature’s blessings. Charms were common.The buffalo dance brings good luck.
The traditional concept that Nature created disasters such as floods and forest fires in order to retaliate against those who desecrated or defaced her is easily dismissed by scientists. Likewise, many Native Americans are wary of the negative impact that science and technology have sometimes had on the environment, though many still welcome industrial activity such as mining because it brings jobs to their area. In general though, most Native Americans are open-minded about modern methods of conservation and emergency management. However, there is always a concern that outside groups may bring changes that desecrate the land, upset the balance of nature or deface the landscape. Indeed, there is often the fear that disasters of one sort or another are likely to follow. How does science view the traditional Native American view of Nature and natural disasters?
Why are Native Americans unusually vulnerable to disasters? In general, Native American reservations are located in remote, desolate and isolated areas. Often they are unusually exposed to droughts, fires and floods, as well as summer and winter storms. Cabins along Missouri River in Newtown, Ft Berthold, ND
Jobless and poverty stricken, many are often without adequate shelter and water supplies. Isolation and poverty go hand in hand with an infrastructure (water works, electric power, communications, transportation facilities, etc.) that leaves them vulnerable to disasters. Native Americans are more likely than any other race to live in remote and isolated rural areas.
Living in isolation, many reservations do not have adequate plans for dealing with emergencies. Since tribal governments are largely independent of surrounding regulations, it is often unclear who should do what when an emergency occurs. In general, mitigation efforts have been minimal and response procedures are unclear. Moreover, tribes are less likely than other population groups to be afforded adequate relief and insurance during the recovery phase of an emergency. What other factors prevent Native Americans from adequately responding to emergency situations?
Even now, ongoing industrial activity occasionally results in conflicts between those on reservations and those off, such as large industrial corporations. Why, then, are Native Americans often initially reluctant to accept outside assistance to mitigate against hazards?
How, then, can outsiders work effectively with Native Americans to increase community resilience to disasters? Firstly, outside concepts and practices should not be thrust upon tribal reservations. Those working with tribal leaders to develop an Emergency Operations Plan, for instance, need to be alert to the particular needs of specific reservations. Suggestions for improvement need to be related in a culturally sensitive manner. Above all, Native American beliefs and values need to be considered when trying to work with tribes. It is important, for instance, to consult with tribal governments to ensure that tribal rights and concerns are always addressed. Agencies need to work cooperatively with tribes and provide ongoing support. Scheduled training programs, for example, can be conducted on reservations in order to ensure that tribal members will efficiently follow a revised Emergency Operations Plan in the event that a disaster should strike.
Apart from seeking cooperation, why should Native American beliefs and values be acknowledged when working with tribes across the nation? Ultimately, the Native American belief that one should live in harmony with nature in order not to upset the natural balance and harmony of all things is one that should be remembered and practiced. Minimizing erosion and fire hazards by culling forests in a responsible manner, for instance, can greatly reduce the damage and extent of floods and forest fires.
“Living in harmony with nature instead of seeking domination, American Indians have shown us how to be responsible for our environment, to treasure the beauty and resources of the land and water for which we are stewards, and to preserve them for the generations who will come after us.” Bill Clinton 1995 Proclamation
South Fork, 2003 -- Montana Indian Firefighters work on putting out spot fires in the South Fork Canyon on the Flathead Reservation. Yes. Native Americans have proven to be strong allies in response to disasters. Has very much been accomplished so far?
Because Native Americans are hesitant to accept changes to the landscape and infrastructure of their lands, it is important to gain their trust and cooperation. This means allowing them to share in the decision making process, understanding their culture, and appreciating their values. What needs to be remembered in the future?