Hope for a Future:
The Downfalls of Rural US Indian Reservations
December 15, 2012
DOWNFALLS OF RURAL US INDIAN RESERVATIONS
Hope for a Future: The Downfalls of Rural US Indian Reservations
The past and current struggles of Native Americans have created nonfunctional and dependent societies on tribal lands across the United States. Native Americans have a desire to live in an independent society that can function while still maintaining their long and vibrant culture. There are many factors that must be accounted for before any steps to better the reservations are put in place. The importance of education on reservations is virtually nonexistent. About 70% of Native American high school students will drop out before their senior year (Walters, 2011). Child abuse, poor living conditions, teen pregnancy, crime and ramped substance abuse are the major traps that reservations have fallen into. The elimination, or at least a decrease in these evils, has the potential to bring reservations to the independent and functional position they desire to be at. As a result of ineffective treaties and contracts between Native Americans and the US government, many Native American reservations face corruption or are already fully corrupt. Therefore, the root of the issues must be identified and given proper attention by both the US government and Indian officials.
In order to identify the causes of corruption and the traps of murderous sins on reservations, one must first understand the history between Native Americans and the US government and how the US reservation system came to be. In 1830, President Jackson signed the Indian-Removal Law beginning the reservation system in the United States. President Jackson is known as a monstrously racist white supremacist and is a large reason why Native Americans are in the position they are today. Andrew Jackson is to blame for the Trail of Tears in 1836. By demanding over 16,000 Cherokee Indians to migrate to Oklahoma or face death. This migration took place in the dead of winter and 1 out of every 4 Natives died. Next, in 1837, DOWNFALLS OF RURAL US INDIAN RESERVATIONS
the US congress passed a law ending all direct payments to tribes for land bought or forcibly taken by US officials. Rather, the money was to be put in trusts to later “benefit” the tribes, but in 1996, over $2.4 billion in trust account transactions could not be accounted for by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) (Neis, 1996). In 1885, Indian police units were established by the BIA in 48 of the 60 reservations across the US. The units were paid for by the US government and were used for enforcing BIA regulations. Many of the policemen were either US government informants or assimilationists (Neis, 1996). It was not until 1924 that United States Indians were allowed to vote and made actual US citizens by the Indian Citizenship Act (Cornell, Stephen, Kalt, 2012). This was the beginning of a series of positive progress for Native American rights. In 1964, an office of economic opportunity was created that gave anti-poverty funds directly to Native American tribes (Neis, 1996). This may sound like a positive advancement, but it was the farthest thing from positive. The lack of regulations on this money within the tribe created opportunities for even more corruption within the reservation. This mistake went unnoticed for almost 20 years, but by then it was too late, the seed of corruption in the forms of money laundering and other financial crimes was already planted. One of the last advancements for Native tribes was the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1979 (Neis, 1996). This stated that Indian religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, a colossal step for the security of Indian culture. This string of improvements to Native American rights was short lived and soon could be seen as virtually useless. The creation of gambling on reservations can be traced to the cause...
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