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Native Americans and the Denial of Treaty Rights Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 16, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Native Americans and the Denial of Treaty Rights Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 16, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Native Americans and the Denial of Treaty Rights Political Science 61 / Chicano/Latino Studies 64 October 16, 2007

2 Models of Minority Exclusion 1. Apartheid An official policy of racial segregation, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites 2. Economic and political disempowerment Taking away what has already been exercised 3. Two-tiered pluralism Pluralism—A condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups compete within a society Two-tiered pluralism—Ongoing competition, but access to some opportunities/resources unavailable to certain groups

3 Before We Begin: A Philosophical Question Should the Native American experience be understood in terms of “minority” politics? Yes They are a numerical minority That is distinct from the racial majority No They were here first and saw widespread violations of their rights by all “immigrant” groups The degree to which they are a people, rather the peoples is much more contested that for other groups

4 U.S. Policies Toward Native Americans 1. Sovereignty (1700s – 1830s) Treaties between the U.S. and Indian nations 2. Forcible assimilation (1870s – 1940s) Termination of indigenous practices/land tenure Abrogation of treaties Relocation of Indians to cities Establish dependency on reservations 3. Self-determination on reservations (1950s - ) Tribal sovereignty Indigenous self-government National demand-making among Indian tribes

5 Sovereignty Treaties with independent nations Military alliances in the pre-Revolutionary period —389 treaties U.S. Constitution Article 1, section 2 “excluding Indians, not taxed” Article 1, section 8 – Federal regulation of commerce with Indian tribes (like with foreign nations) Northwest Ordinance (1787) No Indian land could be taken without their consent, except in the case of war declared by Congress

6 Decline of Sovereignty Pressures to follow white land-ownership patterns Forced migration / land “trades” Indian Removal Act (1830) Worchester v. Georgia (1832) Trail of tears (1838)

7 Forcible Assimilation General Allotment Act [The Dawes Act] (1887) Native lands transfers to individuals, could be sold after 25 years Sale of “surplus” land Consequence: native lands decreased from 138 million acres to 90 million acres “Civilizing” Indians Forced education Religion

8 Legislative Grant of Citizenship (1924) Goal of civil rights struggles for immigrant-descent minorities For native Americans, used to undermine what had been (in theory) a status above U.S. citizenship Formal end of notion of sovereignty 14 th Amendment protections for Native Americans Courts only selectively recognized through the 1940s So, worst of both worlds A legislative grant can always be reversed for subsequent generations (Puerto Rico faces a similar dilemma)

9 Self-determination On Reservations or Assimilation? Ending native rights Termination Resolution (1953) 109 tribes dissolved American Indian Movement ( ) Tribal sovereignty Indian Self-determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 Tribes (on reservations) increasingly acting in the place of states in terms of “police powers” and taxation

10 Current Debates Identity Who determines who is a member of a tribe? Who is a tribe and who determines? 245 tribes not recognized by the U.S. government Tribal economic development Revenue sources – cigarettes and gambling Revenue sharing with states Role of non-tribal corporate entities The Bureau of Indian Affairs and native trust funds

11 Consequence Population growth , ,420, ,959, ,475,956 [+199%] Much of growth is not among tribally- affiliated Indians Is pan-ethnicity a concept that can be applied to Native Americans?

12 Disempowerment Revisited – Post Civil Rights Era From sovereign nation to ? Rediscovery of treaty and constitutional rights Diminished efforts to eliminate tribal recognition Economic development opportunities for some tribes Resources for lobbying, particularly around gaming But

13 But, Core resources have been stripped – land, tribal governance Human capital on reservations low Growth in Indian identity among those with limited ties to tribal Native Americans Returning then to our initial question – Can a politicized ethnicity grow from ethnics with largely symbolic ties?

14 Question for Next Time What did the Chinese Exclusion Act provide for? Who in American society supported such legislation? In other words, what was the political coalition that was built to support Chinese exclusion?


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