Indian Country · Modern Disasters

“How Much Have We Spent on Native Americans?”

Slate Vault: 1894 Federal Report —rePosted from Turtle Talk

Here:

CostsOfIndiansFinal2.jpg.CROP.original-original

The 693 page report is here.

By Lara/Trace,

This report is interesting to see how America’s “land grab” was progressing. Taking land was how they built their war chest to wage more war against Indians! These government guys thought they were so clever.

It was in December 1890 that the final Indian War (really a massacre) was waged in Wounded Knee. By then over 400 peace treaties were signed with promises made to care for Indian people sent to reservations. Many actually starved, froze or were killed by germ warfare using smallpox in blankets. No one really expected Indian people to survive.

Native Americans, still the most impoverished people in North America, still live under Third World conditions, long after we gave up traditional ways of subsistence (hunting and gathering) to move to “grass prisons.”  We then became wards of these governments. We received parcels of waste land. They promised food rations and commodities as welfare, to assimilate us they promised education and to protect our health they established Indian Health Services (IHS). All of this is dictated and managed by the BIA or Bureau of Indian Affairs – once part of the War Department of the United States.

[WIKIPEDIA: First called the Office of Indian Affairs, the agency was created as a division in 1824 within the War Department. In 1832 Congress established the position of Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In 1849 Indian Affairs was transferred to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The bureau was renamed as BIA, Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1947.]

The loss of land, life and culture is not something we could ever measure in monetary terms.  It will not be possible to repay these losses with money. Sovereignty, dealing directly with the federal government as a sovereign tribal nation, is another matter entirely. Indians won in the Cobell lawsuit and will be repaid milllions of dollars this year. Some tribes are already buying up lands lost in bad treaties.

Until all our tribal nations rebuild our distinct communities separate from the colonizer, and include citizens we choose and recognize, and dispel the blood quantum requirements, we will be the wards of this colonizer.

If we don’t rebuild on our terms, eventually Indians will disappear (at least on paper.)

Wiki: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of 55,700,000 acres of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is one of two bureaus under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs: the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which provides education services to approximately 48,000 Native Americans. The BIA’s responsibilities once included providing health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In 1954 that function was legislatively transferred to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, now known as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where it has remained to this day as the Indian Health Service.

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