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Indians of North America Anthropology E-320 Larry J. Zimmerman, PhD, RPA Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Race, Ethnicity and American.

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Presentation on theme: "Indians of North America Anthropology E-320 Larry J. Zimmerman, PhD, RPA Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Race, Ethnicity and American."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indians of North America Anthropology E-320 Larry J. Zimmerman, PhD, RPA Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Race, Ethnicity and American Indians

2 Those pesky words again… Don’t ever forget that names have power! Sometimes words and names get used interchangeably when they shouldn’t be. Terms associated with race certainly are.

3 Try some sorting by “race.” It’s easy to tell the races apart, right?

4 What exactly is race to you? We often see definitions based on: Skin color (redskin, black, white) Religion (Jewish, Indian, other race) Nationality (British, Lakota, other) Human species (human race)

5 Race: "a category of people who have been inappropriately singled out as inferior or superior, often on the basis of physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, and eye shape." Biologically, there is only one race—the human race. All humans are essentially part of a species continuum of physical characteristics that developed as part of adaptations to particular environments. However, we recognize that people categorize, rightly or wrongly, on these physical characteristics, often attributing positive and negative assessments to them.

6 Ethnicity An ethnic group, is a collection of people distinguished, by others or themselves, primarily on the basis of cultural or national characteristics. Ethnic groups share five main characteristics: Unique cultural traits, such as language, clothing, holidays, religious practices A sense of community A feeling of ethnocentrism (your culture as the "best") Ascribed membership from birth ( you are born into it) Territoriality (occupying a distinct geographic area by choice and or for self- protection By the way, American Indians are at least as ethnically diverse as the peoples of Europe, Africa, and Asia!

7 There is a tendency to use race and ethnicity interchangeably, but the distinction between the two is significant. Ethnicity is a valid construct; race isn’t.

8 How important are race and ethnicity in America? Race permeates every institution, every relationship and every individual. It is part of our individual thought processes. We seemed compelled to think racially, to use racial categories and meaning systems into which we have been socialized. Race and ethnicity are the basis of hierarchical ranking in our society, with dominant groups holding power over subordinate groups, with dominant groups having the best of matters.

9 Race, Racialism & Racism: There is a BIG difference Race: the categories people use and how they are formed Racialism: sorting and thinking about people by categories of race Racism: acting on the basis of racial categories Race and Racialism may be unfortunate, but are not bad in themselves. It’s what they lead to… When they are actualized, they are.

10 Prejudice To pre-judge, based on some set of criteria or characteristics, generally in a negative way "as a negative attitude based on faulty generalizations about members of selected racial and ethnic groups.“ Gordon Allport Racial prejudice like this is often called racism, that is, a belief that some racial or ethnic groups are superior or inferior to others.

11 How do you measure prejudice? Social distance is the extent to which people are willing to interact and establish relationship with members of racial and ethnic groups other than their own. Social distance varies from time to time. The twenty-year-cycle hypothesis America has a love/hate relationship with Indians.

12 Discrimination Whereas prejudice is an attitude, discrimination involves actions or practices of the dominant groups members that have a harmful effect on members of a subordinate group. Prejudice doesn't always lead to discrimination.

13 Severity of discrimination can vary. This is well demonstrated by the history of the dominant society toward Indians. Genocide is the most dramatic form and is the deliberate, systematic killing of an entire nation or people. Individual discrimination consists of one-on-one acts by members of the dominant group that harms members of the subordinate group or their property.

14 Institutional discrimination: day-to-day practices of organizations and institutions that have a harmful impact on members of subordinate groups, but often is carried out by individuals Isolate discrimination is harmful action intentionally taken by a dominant group member against a subordinate group member. Small-groups discrimination is harmful action taken by a limited number of dominant group members, outside the accepted norms of community. Direct institutionalized discrimination is organizationally prescribed or community-prescribed action that intentionally has a differential and negative effect on subordinate group. Indirect institutionalized discrimination refers to practices that have a harmful effect on the subordinate group members even though the organizational or community norms have no intent to harm.

15 Institutional Discrimination Against Indians



18 In 1998, 38.6% of all American Indian, Aleut and Eskimo children lived in poverty, 18% nationally Indian children are placed in out-of-home care at a rate 3.6 times greater than that of the general population. Men in Bangladesh have a higher life expectancy than Native American men in South Dakota. Rates of death from a variety of causes was considerably higher for Native Americans than for the general US population, including alcoholism (579%), tuberculosis (475%), and diabetes (231%). Infant mortality in Indian Country in the US was reported to be double the national average, and Pine Ridge Lakota Indian Reservation in South Dakota has the highest infant mortality rate in the Country. …and a few other minor problems of discrimination

19 So, don’t ever refer to the Indian “race!” There is no such thing. To think Indians as a “race” masks amazing diversity and continues 500 years of discrimination. Unless it’s like this one at the Yakima Tribal Rodeo in Washington

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