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Indians in Minnesota

Kathy Davis Graves
Elizabeth Ebbott
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition, Fifth
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Indians in Minnesota
    Book Description:

    Characterized by a balanced perspective and a comprehensive approach, Indians in Minnesota provides an account of Ojibwe and Dakota Indians living in both reservation and urban settings. Compiled from interviews with tribal members, as well as data from the 2000 Minnesota Census and federal and state reports, the fifth edition of this resource examines the continuing needs of Indians in the twenty-first century._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8708-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiv)

    When Europeans named them, “Indians” did not constitute a group with uniform characteristics. They were separate nations spread over the vast Western Hemisphere, living according to the demands of various climates and food supplies. Political and economic styles, language, dress, and religion differed among each nation. Although many had common characteristics, each nation was distinct.

    Early Europeans in contact with Indian nations in the East expressed amazement at the Indians’ personal liberty. The American model of democracy, with liberty for the individual and a system of government with divided powers, owes a debt to the Indian example. America’s founding leaders,...

  6. Chapter 1 Indian People and Their Culture
    (pp. 1-10)

    Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, Indians lived holistically, with strong beliefs in the interconnectedness of the physical and spiritual worlds. It often has been difficult for non-Indians to understand the American Indian way of life. Indians lived life at a deliberate, patient pace, synchronized with the rhythms of nature. Indian society was not hierarchical. Rather, decisions were made by consensus, and leaders emerged from group decision-making. Learning focused first on observing and listening to elders. Spiritual ceremonies and oral storytelling were central to Indian life, and restitution was the primary method of resolving conflict.

    Indian values...

  7. Chapter 2 Shifting Governmental Relationships
    (pp. 11-24)

    In the centuries since Europeans’ first encounter with the peoples of the Americas, the native people have been treated with a varying mixture of conscience and convenience, conflict and domination, but rarely with equality. Formal governmental policies have changed frequently, and there has always been a large gap between those policies and what actually happened to and on behalf of Indians.

    To understand how Indians view their relationship with the U.S. government in the twenty-first century, one needs a historical perspective. Once the U.S. government was formed, the view of Indians and their land followed European patterns. An early U.S....

  8. Chapter 3 The Tribes and the Land
    (pp. 25-54)

    Two major tribes—first the Dakota and later the Ojibwe—occupied the territory known as Minnesota. Both tribes skillfully adapted to the resources and limitations of the cold, water-rich, woodland country. They hunted and fished; gathered wild rice, berries, and maple syrup; built houses of poles and skins or bark in semipermanent villages; and traveled in summer by birch bark canoes and in winter on snowshoes along the countless waterways.

    The Dakota (“friends” or “allies”) were called Sioux by the whites, from the French corruption “Nadouessioux” of the Ojibwe word “Nadowa,” meaning “snake” or “enemy.” Sioux was the name used...

  9. Chapter 4 Tribal Governments, Sovereignty, and Relations with the U.S. Government
    (pp. 55-76)

    Indian nationhood and tribal governments were European concepts. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Minnesota Indians (Woodland Dakota) had structured governments, but they were much different from the European system. Tribal governments were based on clusters of families that lived in the same geographical area and formed bands. The Ojibwe had a traditional form of social governance called Clan or Totem divisions.

    Political leadership tended to be in the form of consensus, and it changed according to the particular situation. Leadership was considered an awesome responsibility, sometimes a burden. Leaders were to serve the people’s needs. Women assumed leadership roles...

  10. Chapter 5 State and Local Relations
    (pp. 77-88)

    The U.S. Supreme Court noted in 1887 that tribes are “communities dependent on the United States; dependent largely for their daily food; dependent for their political rights. They owe no allegiance to the States, and receive from them no protection.”¹ However, because Indians, as U.S. citizens, have constitutionally mandated rights to both state and county services, states cannot ignore Indian needs.

    The role that state governments have played in providing state services to reservations has evolved since the 1920s. Because Indian reservations were located by federal decision within only some state boundaries, those states complained about being expected to provide...

  11. Chapter 6 Characteristics of the Indian Population of Minnesota
    (pp. 89-106)

    Within Indian communities, both urban and reservation, people are known as Indian because they wish to belong or the communities consider them Indian.

    Qualifications for Indian-designated programs vary. For example, the Bureau of Indian Affairs requires an individual living on or near a reservation to have one-fourth Indian ancestry or membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe. The federal Indian Education Act requires only that one grandparent be a tribal member, with no Minnesota residency requirement laws. Minnesota laws, while consistent in defining Indians as having one-fourth or more Indian blood, differ on whether the person needs to be tribally...

  12. Chapter 7 Natural Resources
    (pp. 107-128)

    Throughout history, Indians’ relationship with the Earth has differed from that of the dominant culture. Indians were intimately linked to the natural world around them. They concentrated on their long-term survival by using the diversity of nature, adjusting their lifestyle to focus on many foods rather than just the few most productive products.

    Tribes have always dealt with resources on a communal basis, with ceremonial taking of fish or animals and ritual ways of collecting plant materials like sacred pipe stems, medicinal plants, birch bark, and maple syrup. A wild rice chief or council has traditionally determined the proper time...

  13. Chapter 8 Economic Development
    (pp. 129-158)

    No aspect of reservation life has changed as dramatically in the last decade as economic development, a change driven primarily by the casinos. Indian gaming and related economic opportunities have become a major state industry since tribally owned, Las Vegas–style facilities opened beginning in 1990. The financial resources resulting from gaming are helping tribes invest in their reservations, offer expanded employment opportunities to their members and residents in surrounding communities, and provide truly meaningful self-government.

    The increased vitality of reservation economies began before the casinos, however, and is traceable to several factors: tribes gradually taking over management of most...

  14. Chapter 9 Employment Patterns and Opportunities
    (pp. 159-170)

    Unemployment has been a way of life for many Indians in Minnesota due to isolated reservations, discrimination, inconsistent government funding, and lack of education. Reservations have been targeted by a succession of government training programs and government-supported incentives to encourage new industries for more than forty years. Almost without exception, the results have been short-lived and disappointing.

    While the unemployment figures of the 1990s and the early part of the twenty-first century show cause for concern, some positive trends have emerged. The gaming industry has dramatically increased employment in the reservation areas of rural Minnesota. Tribal governments are employing more...

  15. Chapter 10 Education
    (pp. 171-208)

    The state has done a poor job educating its Indian students. Minnesota has one of the worst Indian high school graduation rates in the country, most recently reported at 42.8 percent.¹ In Minneapolis, only 27 percent of eligible Indian students (those completing high school in four years) graduated in 2001, according to district officials. With very few exceptions, Indian students show below grade level performance and high absentee rates throughout Minnesota. These figures illustrate a tremendous loss of opportunity and talent that can never be reclaimed.

    From the beginning of Indian contact with whites, education was seen as the mechanism...

  16. Chapter 11 Social Services
    (pp. 209-240)

    Ever since treaties forced Indians onto reservations, native people have had to depend in large measure on support from the government. Geographic restrictions and the destruction of timber and other natural resources denied Indians access to income and traditional food supplies. Increasingly, Indians had to pay for their own government programs funded through the sale of Indian lands. When the money ran out and starvation became imminent, government food rations began.

    The supplying of rations continued until criticized by the Meriam report in 1928, which concluded, “It worked untold harm to the Indians because it was pauperizing and lacked any...

  17. Chapter 12 Health
    (pp. 241-268)

    Although Indians’ health has improved greatly over the past two decades, significant disparities remain in causes of death and sickness between Minnesota’s Indian population and the general population. Most tribes are now running their own health programs, with a major portion of the funding coming from the Indian Health Service (IHS), making culturally appropriate services available to tribal members. But government funding cuts have affected the quality and availability of health care for Indians, resulting in a failure to keep up with the health needs of the population.

    Diseases introduced to the Indians by white Europeans devastated Indian communities. Diseases...

  18. Chapter 13 Housing
    (pp. 269-282)

    To meet the goal of adequate, safe, and healthy housing for all citizens requires many complex public policies and programs to fit a wide array of human needs. For the state’s Indian population, in spite of several innovative programs, the needs far outstrip the resources being allocated.

    Housing statistics from the 2000 U.S. Census show substantial differences in living arrangements between Indians and the state’s total population. The rate of Indian home ownership is about two-thirds that of the state average; in Minneapolis, it is even lower, about one-half (see Table 13.1). However, the percentage of Indian, owner-occupied housing units...

  19. Chapter 14 The Criminal Justice System
    (pp. 283-306)

    Before the immigration of Europeans to America, Indian tribes had well-established codes of conduct and ways of dealing with crime. If a person violated another’s rights, penalties were culturally sanctioned. Crimes against another individual called for restitution to the injured party. When the price was paid, the matter was settled. Public shame and humiliation were major punishments exacted by the group. Tribal elders counseled until the behavior changed.

    Other penalties included spiritual disenfranchisement, prohibition from participation in ceremonies, isolation, and temporary banishment. Banishment was the ultimate punishment because it represented the loss of one’s people and status, as well as...

  20. Conclusion
    (pp. 307-308)

    In its July 2003 evaluation of the federal government’s programs to assist Indians, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded, “Measured by honor of funding commitments, none of the agencies reviewed has met its obligations to Native American tribes. . . . The government’s failure has resulted in services that are of lower quality than those provided to other Americans and inequitable access to much-needed programs.” Importantly, the Commission said that new agreements and studies were not what were needed; rather, “swift and decisive action oriented to fulfilling existing federal responsibility must be taken.” ¹

    Indians’ relationship to the federal...

  21. Glossary
    (pp. 309-312)
  22. Appendix A Minnesota Indian Reservations: Facts, Figures, and Maps
    (pp. 313-324)
  23. Appendix B Treaties, Significant Federal Legislation, and Federal Court Decisions
    (pp. 325-340)
  24. Notes
    (pp. 341-368)
  25. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 369-372)
  26. Internet Resources
    (pp. 373-378)
  27. Index
    (pp. 379-386)
  28. Back Matter
    (pp. 387-387)