Fish-ins etc. Militant exercise of treaty rights as a protest.
Occupation of Alcatraz Island 1969-1972
Development of Indian legal defense teams
Assertions of nationhood, cultural autonomy
Urban Indians & reservation Indians interact.
Alcatraz Proclamation (1969) - excerpts
To the Great White Father and his People
We, the native Americans, reclaim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.
We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty:
We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island 300 years ago. We know that $24 in trade goods for these 16 acres is more than what was paid when Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen over the years. Our offer of $1.24 per acre is greater than the $0.47 per acre the white men are now paying the California Indians for their lands.
We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of the land of their own to be held in trust . . . by the Bureau of Caucasian Affairs . . . in perpetuity -- for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down in the sea. We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, our way of life -- ways in order to help them achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state. We offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with all white men.
Alcatraz Proclamation, more excerpts
We feel that this so-called Alcatraz Island is more than suitable for an Indian reservation, as determined by the white man’s own standards. By this, we mean that this place resembles most Indian reservations in that:
•It is isolated from modern facilities, and without adequate means of transportation.
•It has no fresh running water.
•It has inadequate sanitation facilities.
•There are no oil or mineral rights.
•There is no industry and so unemployment is very great.
•There are no health-care facilities.
•The soil is rocky and nonproductive, and the land does not support game.
•There are no educational facilities.
•The population has always exceeded the land base.
•The population has always been held as prisoners and kept dependent upon others.
1980s –1990s (& beyond)
Growing cultural revitalization – powwows, etc.
Specific tribal culture & language
Pan-Indian movements, cooperation
Growing emphasis on economic development on the reservation so a separate life can be viable
Continuing legal actions to defend treaty rights, press land claims & political sovereignty
Emphasis on separateness, distinctiveness of indigenous people. “We are still here.”
Have effective government that can enforce contracts & maintain order
Have governmental forms that fit the culture (either parallel governments used before conquest or are adaptive to new circumstances – not imposed IRA forms)
Are teaching children & adults their native language, running their own schools, & expanding their own cultural practices
"White": land is to be used, it is unfair to keep whites out of any section of land. Current possession or occupancy should outweigh any historical legal claims. (Some occupants have a multi-generational sense of entitlement, of belonging to the land through parents or grandparents, occasionally further generations.) No recognition of group or tribal ownership.
"American Indian": We belong to the land, the land does not belong to us. Land, place is sacred. Religion closely linked to place. Ancient ancestral claims are still valid, current users/occupants are squatters who should be evicted.
Legal institutions recognized by US government, BIA. Rules require recognition of "mixed bloods" up to 1/4 "Indian" ancestry, require certain voting rules, certain governmental forms. Tend to be dominated by the more assimilated or mixed elements.
"Traditional" rules, standards of government, self-rule. Traditionals may reject "official" government as legitimate.
Ongoing conflict is common on many reservations.
Alcohol, in many cases.
Lifestyle disputes. E.g. structured, clock-based, accumulation-oriented “American" lifestyle oriented to "getting ahead." Vs. unstructured, eat when you are hungry, go to bed when you are tired, work when you need money or food, spend a lot of time socializing.
American Indian reservations have a legal status roughly comparable to US states: self-governing sovereign political units under US government
Tangle of laws & court decisions about states’ abilities to regulate reservations
AmInd right to run casinos is grounded in sovereignty; can do anything that is permitted at all in the state without state regulation