Saturday, April 8, 2017

Constants and Variables: The Divergent Experiences of Indian Nations with the United States

     Most native tribes in the United States share a similar experience. They were originally free, then they might have made some treaties with the United States to secure that freedom, then they were subjugated by the United States. This is certainly the case for the Lakota, who negotiated a number of treaties with the United States only to face naked aggression and conflict that ultimately resulted in their defeat. The Lakota now live on fragmented reservations, have extremely high poverty rates, and have little economic agency because of the arcane trust system. This is not the case though for groups like the O'Odham though. The O'Odham were once part of Spanish and later Mexican territory and were then brought into the United States after the Mexican American war. The O'Odham proved to be valuable allies to the United States and because of their cooperation they were able to maintain the second largest reservation in the United States. The O'Odham were shielded from termination in the 1950s and allotment as well. The tribe is currently facing a number of challenges resulting from their relationship with the US but not to the same degree as the Lakota.
      The interesting part of this story is how different these experiences ended up being. I know that when I started this course I expected to hear a similar story to what I learned about the Lakota, but if this course has taught me anything it has taught me about the diversity of experiences that exist in native tribes.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. That's exactly our justification for making these​ distinct courses with different course numbers- which incidentally allowed you, Pepe, to get credit for taking both. While all tribes share some aspects of their in common with other tribes, it is the vareity of experience, culture, geography, demographics and institutional arrangements that are even more striking than the similarities.