Historically Urban Cahokia, contemporary of Chaco Canyon and Medieval London. Population 30,000. Philadelphia had pop. Of only 23,000 as late as 1763. Largest settlement in existence before end of 18 th cen. When surpassed by NYC and Philadelphia. Pueblo Bonito largest apartment building in North America until NYC in 19 th century.
1. The majority of American Indians are urban residents. 2. The majority of American Indian elders are urban. 3. Multiple generations of American Indians are urban (60 years, 5 generations). 4. The myth of the vanishing Indian.
Introduction Assumption of cultural loss. American Indian identity doesn’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries. The majority of elders do not live on reservations. (Kramer, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Urban American Indian Aging.) 2007 more than ½ world population reside in cities (U.N.) 82% U.S. population urban. Majority of all racial groups are urban, 2/3 American Indians (1990 U.S. Census/2010 expected increase).
U.S. Census -The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010 (C2010br-10)
History Large scale migration post-World War II. Underdevelopment on reservations. Former industries such as ranching, farming decline, lead to exodus from reservations.(Harris, Native American Women and Men: Migration and Urbanization. Dobyns et al, Native American Urbanization and Socio-Economic Integration in the Southwestern United States.)
Indian Relocation Act. 1955 Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, pre-school in 1973. Cultural programming positive influence on urban American Indian students (Powers, 2006, Urban Education, An Exploratory Study of Cultural Identity and Culture-Based Educational Programs for Urban American Indian Students).
Identity Formation Empty center model. Bull’s eye “real”, genuine, legitimate, authentic Indians. Unlikely to contain living individuals, i.e. for elders might be last buffalo-hunting generation at center. (Joseph P. Gone, Mental Health, Wellness, and Identity”) Ever-evolving nature of Indian identity with endless cultural shifts. Past literature emphasize urban Indians as culturally disoriented, assimilated. Urbanization as part of downfall and destruction, damaged. Urban Indians value faithful participation in community highly (Gonzales, 2001; Lobo, 2001, Straus, 201).
Identity Formation Identity integration stages- finding a place within community, and Indian identity within. (Lucero,2010, Making Meaning of Urban American Indian Identity: A Multistage Integrative Process.) Pan-Indian/Urban identity, and tribal with family reinforcement.
Multi/Monoculture Many Urban American Indians are multicultural. Could be monocultural with respect to spiritual practices, but multicultural with music, friends, martial partners, or food preferences. (Clark, 2002, American Indian Culture and Research, Assessing Cultural Lifestyles of Urban American Indians.) Intermarriage rates over 50% Unlike other ethnic Americans, unique in our dual citizenship.
Urban Indian Youth Urban Indians identity struggle throughout life. Among all racial groups, American Indian urban youth ‘disproportionately represented in high risk behavior, youth suicide, witness violence (Bearinger, 2008, American Journal of Health Behavior, Protecting Urban American Indian Young People From Suicide).
Best Practices Appreciate history and cultural identity of urban Indians, and positive approaches to preserve culture.
Nobel Savages/Savages Noble savage- picturesque and quaint, romanticize, vanquished or powerless, no longer a threat. Nobel Savage/“Good Indians” limited to 1800s time period, limited to reservations. Savage-currently prevalent when Indians reclaim our rights, ie. Spear fishing, casino revenue
Almost Extinct Wild West Shows- re-enact wars on plains, notion Indian part of America’s past. Boy Scouts, YMCA, Indian Guide program, and Indian mascots. Natural history museums show Indians as artifacts, like dinosaurs. 1893 Columbian World’s Exposition in Chicago. Indian village, exhibit of dying race. The book urged visitors to see Indian exhibit, “it is more than probable that the World’s Columbian exposition will furnish the last opportunity for an acquaintance with the noble red-man before he achieves annihilation, or at least loss of identity.”
Culture Static or Evolve? Indian cultures of value only when static. Change viewed as cultural loss, idea that tribes continually on brink of extinction. Ethnographers and patrons collect Indian artifacts of vanishing race. J. Pierpont Morgan paid Edward Curtis to document a disappearing race. Railroads market Indian imagery to sell tourist vacations to the west, Santa Fe. National Parks display Indians in feathered regalia.
Myth that after colonization tribes disappeared. Indians were able to survive, and take on new notions of their identity, but did not vanish. Conversion to Christianity help some Indians continue to exist, did not have to disappear.
Indians are immigrants All American immigrants, Indians immigrants. Volumes written to prove that Indians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, the Vikings, Welsh, Irish, Egyptian, Polynesians, Phoenicians, or the lost continent of Atlantis. Current Bering Straight theory, all are Asians.
Vanishing Indian is script of Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny-outcome, belief it was sucessful and completed, Indians removed, vanished. Social Darwinism- two cultures battle each other, only one triumphs. Script of Wild West Shows, World Fairs, art, literature.
Push Factors Not enough jobs Few opportunities Lack of infrastructure, lack of services Poverty and War, famine Lack of safety, high crime. Political fear/conflict- intertribal factionalism, families Poor medical care Poor housing
Pull Factors Job and educational opportunies Better living conditions Better medical care Family links -brain drain youth
Migration Poverty, unemployment, social conditions/ promise of better conditions Economic or political emigration/ differences with forced migration, ethnic cleansing, forced removals, enslavement
LARGEST TRIBES CHEROKEE AND NAVAJO. STATE HIGHEST PERCENT ALASKA, 19.5%. MORE THAN 50% AMERICAN INDIANS LIVE IN JUST TEN STATES. MOST INDIANS IN THE WEST. 1 IN 4 INDIANS LIVE IN OKLAHOMA or CALIFORNIA. OVER HALF URBAN.
1944 NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS **1948 BIA EXPERIMENT WITH RELOCATION PROGRAMS TO DENVER, SALT LAKE CITY, AND LOS ANGELES 1950 DILLION MYER, FORMER HEAD OF JAPANESE RELOCATION CAMPUS, COMISSION INDIAN AFFAIRS. HOUSE RESOLUTION 108 IN 1953 END FEDERAL RELATIONS WITH TRIBES 1953-66, CONGRESS TERMINATE 109 TRIBES