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Native Pathways

Native Pathways: American Indian Culture and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century

Brian Hosmer
Colleen O’Neill
FOREWORD BY Donald L. Fixico
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Native Pathways
    Book Description:

    How has American Indians' participation in the broader market - as managers of casinos, negotiators of oil leases, or commercial fishermen - challenged the U.S. paradigm of economic development? Have American Indians paid a cultural price for the chance at a paycheck? How have gender and race shaped their experiences in the marketplace? Contributors to Native Pathways ponder these and other questions, highlighting how indigenous peoples have simultaneously adopted capitalist strategies and altered them to suit their own distinct cultural beliefs and practices. Including contributions from historians, anthropologists, and sociologists, Native Pathways offers fresh viewpoints on economic change and cultural identity in twentieth-century Native American communities. Foreword by Donald L. Fixico.

    eISBN: 978-0-87081-859-2
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Donald L. Fixico

    The day finally arrived in the late twentieth century when American Indians became an economic force to be dealt with in the U.S. business world. Previously, American Indian communities and their tribal governments had reacted to U.S. actions and policies. Now the rest of America began responding to American Indian enterprises, largely as a result of the success of Indian gaming, an annual $10 billion industry involving over 200 tribes in twenty-four states. As a result, American Indian economic development in the twentieth century marked the greatest pivotal change in Native American history. How did this happen? The seeds of...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Rethinking Modernity and the Discourse of Development in American Indian History, an Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)
    Colleen O’Neill

    One afternoon several years ago I was browsing through the stacks in the library, and I stumbled on a book entitled Stories of Traditional Navajo Life and Culture. That book, published in 1977 by the Navajo Community College Press and edited by its director, Broderick Johnson, included stories from twenty-two Navajo men and women about their “traditional culture.”²

    Traditional culture? My research was on twentieth-century labor and working-class history. I was interested in “the modern.” So the book sat on my desk for weeks while I tried to sort out the “modern” evidence I’d found in the archives, stories that...


    • CHAPTER TWO Searching for Salvation and Sovereignty: Blackfeet Oil Leasing and the Reconstruction of the Tribe
      (pp. 27-51)
      Paul C. Rosier

      In spring of 1934, Native Americans debated among themselves and with representatives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) the Wheeler-Howard Bill under consideration in Congress. Facing a sympathetic federal government for the first time in their lives, Native American leaders and their constituents expressed diverse reactions to the legislation. Some leaders saw it as yet another level of intervention in their political and social lives, an effective end to relations defined by treaties. Others saw it as a unique opportunity to enhance control of the tribal estate by embedding regulations within tribal constitutions and charters. For some Native Americans...

    • CHAPTER THREE Minding Their Own Business: The Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Business Committee of the Early 1900s
      (pp. 52-65)
      David La Vere

      “Follow the money.” This is not only a useful guide for investigators in modern America, it also implies what is important in U.S. society. If you want to know who profited from the merger or why the city council built the bridge where it did, then “follow the money.” In American Indian society a better directive might be “follow the lines of kinship.” Do you want to know why someone joined this faction rather than the other? Kinship would provide a better clue than a money trail. “Who’s your mother” means more and gets asked more often than “what do...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Casino Roots: The Cultural Production of Twentieth-Century Seminole Economic Development
      (pp. 66-90)
      Jessica R. Cattelino

      At parties, over coffee, and in supermarket checkout lines, non-Indians of many political stripes who learn that my work addresses Florida Seminole casinos almost always ask a version of “So are Seminoles losing their culture?” or “Have they sold out?” Mainstream newspaper editorials, both for and against tribal gaming rights, worry that native people will become more materialistic, less “traditional.” Some tribes vote down tribal gaming referenda in part because they do not view gaming to be compatible with the cultural life they value. Others, including most of the Florida Seminoles with whom I conducted thirteen months of ethnographic fieldwork...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Dawn of a New Day? Notes on Indian Gaming in Southern California
      (pp. 91-111)
      Nicolas G. Rosenthal

      On April 19, 2002, the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, a small tribe with a reservation 130 miles east of Los Angeles, celebrated the grand opening of the Cabazon Cultural Museum, a multimillion-dollar facility featuring ongoing exhibits, public programs, and performances illustrating the tribe’s history.¹ About 100 tribal members and friends, from young to old, gathered in the museum’s sculpture garden for ceremonial prayers, songs, and speeches. Joining them was a spokesperson for U.S. Representative Mary Bono, who presented the tribe with a congratulatory proclamation. Writing of the event, the director of Cabazon cultural affairs proclaimed, “A new day has...

    • CHAPTER SIX The Devil’s in the Details: Tracing the Fingerprints of Free Trade and Its Effects on Navajo Weavers
      (pp. 112-130)
      Kathy M’Closkey

      In his new history of the American West, Richard White highlights how cattle, minerals, timber, and wheat exports supplied a growing world market in the nineteenth century. Although White does not include sheep and wool in his list of commodities, domestic wool production was very much a part of the global economy by the mid-nineteenth century. White notes how, in the drive to wrest the vast resources from that region, Native Americans were pushed aside, and many perished from starvation and disease.¹ By contrast, Navajo (Diné) and Pueblo peoples of the Southwest were able to maintain their farming and herding...


    • CHAPTER SEVEN “All We Needed Was Our Gardens”: Women’s Work and Welfare Reform in the Reservation Economy
      (pp. 133-155)
      Tressa Berman

      The ethnographic literature of the Northern Plains is rich with descriptions and images of the settled village life of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara along the Upper Missouri River. In the nineteenth century the artist George Catlin painted realist landscapes and portraits of a people at peace and at work. From the top of earth-lodge dwellings, men scouted for game and intruders, and women worked their garden plots, tending to their fragile rows of corn, beans, and squash—the symbols and mainstay of intertribal trade and cultural continuity. Women’s gardens were not merely subsistence plots but gendered and ritualized spaces...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Work and Culture in Southeastern Alaska: Tlingits and the Salmon Fisheries
      (pp. 156-183)
      David Arnold

      The commissioner of Indian affairs under Theodore Roosevelt, Francis E. Leupp, observed that “the notion that the Indian is by nature indolent and by habit an idler has been so impressed upon the minds of [the] American people that it is hard to shake loose.”¹ The notion of the Indian as idler rather than worker began with the first colonists, who “were struck by what seemed to them the poverty of Indians who lived in the midst of a landscape endowed so astonishingly with abundance.” Those first Europeans in America constructed a myth of the idle savage living within a...

    • CHAPTER NINE Five Dollars a Week to Be “Regular Indians”: Shows, Exhibitions, and the Economics of Indian Dancing, 1880–1930
      (pp. 184-208)
      Clyde Ellis

      On November 18, 1890, seventy-nine Lakota Indians employed by William F. Cody’s Wild West show gathered in Washington, D.C., to meet with Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs Robert V. Belt. They were there to challenge Belt’s recent opinion that shows featuring Indian dances were, among other things, “ruinous evils” and that Indians ought to “remain at home and engage in more civilizing avocations.” At the heart of the matter was Belt’s opinion—shared by official Washington—that earning a living by dancing in the shows was not only unseemly, it contradicted federal Indian policy. Speaking for the troupe, a Lakota...

    • CHAPTER TEN Land, Labor, and Leadership: The Political Economy of Hualapai Community Building, 1910–1940
      (pp. 209-237)
      Jeffrey P. Shepherd

      When Hualapais irrigated their crops from rivers and streams in northwest Arizona, long before non-Indians migrated to the region, they engaged in economic development. When Hualapais participated in extensive trade networks that connected people from present-day southern California to northern New Mexico, they became a vital link in an intricate chain of diverse cultures seeking mutual economic gain and community security. And as local and not-so-local political alliances shifted, Hualapais adapted to these changes and sought new alliances with different people, much like they adjusted to environmental conditions such as drought, flood, erosion, or overuse of hunting grounds. Their responses...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Working for Identity: Race, Ethnicity, and the Market Economy in Northern California, 1875–1936
      (pp. 238-258)
      William Bauer

      In August 1884, Senator Henry Dawes led an investigation into the conditions of Indians living in California. The investigators interviewed Philo Handy, the agency farmer at the Round Valley Reservation, who told the Dawes Commission, “Some of [the Indians] are very good laborers and some of them are not, but I think they will average very well with the floating white population.”¹ Handy’s comments and others like it illustrate the creation of racial categories for Indians within the labor market. White ranchers, government officials, and Round Valley Indians used the market economy to invent and occupy racial and ethnic categories...


    • CHAPTER TWELVE Local Knowledge as Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Definition and Ownership
      (pp. 261-282)
      C. D. James Paci and Lisa Krebs

      The fact that indigenous peoples have always generated distinctive bodies of local knowledge sounds like a simple idea; however, this point has often been lost in quests to subdue or understand the “indigene.” Within the academy and in aboriginal communities, local knowledge serves a variety of masters and fulfills different and sometimes opposing ideas and uses of local environments. Colonization certainly interfered with the production of indigenous knowledge by altering the integrity of local aboriginal cultures in a number of ways, in particular in the erosion of aboriginal languages by use of the dominating language of commerce—English. Colonization, as...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN “Dollar a Day and Glad to Have It”: Work Relief on the Wind River Indian Reservation as Memory
      (pp. 283-307)
      Brian Hosmer

      From 1933 to 1942, several hundred members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming labored on a variety of projects sponsored by the Indian Emergency Conservation Work (IECW) program, later the Civilian Conservation Corps–Indian Division (CCCID). Wind River residents thus joined the ranks of the more than 60,000 natives from twenty-four western reservations who participated in the “Indian New Deal” version of this Depression-era work relief program.¹ Hundreds more found work through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), other public works programs, and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Still others worked on...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN Tribal Capitalism and Native Capitalists: Multiple Pathways of Native Economy
      (pp. 308-329)
      Duane Champagne

      The twenty-first century and beyond promises to extend the world capitalist market economy deeper into the lives of individuals and communities. Its origins traced variously to Europe as early as the eleventh century and to multiple local and regional “world economies” from various locations and historical eras, the emerging world market promises to be more inclusive and far-reaching than any observed heretofore. Since 1990 the major socialist nations have struggled with the transition to capitalism and market production. As the case of Russia shows, such transitions are difficult, especially when a nation’s culture and institutions are not compatible with capitalist...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN Conclusion
      (pp. 330-334)
      Brian Hosmer and Colleen O’Neill

      Native Americans today face daunting challenges as they struggle to find solutions to problems anchored in centuries of colonialism. Sovereignty tops the list for many reservation communities, whether it involves asserting political independence and reclaiming control over natural resources and reinvigorating indigenous cultural practices or rebuilding effective tribal infrastructures. Although structures of power have varied historically, Europeans and Americans have generally operated as though controlling indigenous cultures and their economies were pivotal to establishing and maintaining colonial hegemony. But as contributors to this volume demonstrate and as many American Indians know from history and experience, indigenous communities resisted those efforts...

  9. About the Contributors
    (pp. 335-340)
  10. Index
    (pp. 341-354)