The indigenous people of the Americas were originally from northeastern Asia. Other cultures have struggled to recognize and value their cultural identity, resulting in a historical reversal and the birth of modern America. From its original Native American culture, modern-day America has undergone significant changes. Unlike other American colonies, the natives lived and worked in natural settings for several years before the American Revolution. All they needed to survive was supported by their climate. Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans have all had a major influence on American culture. Non-Indians have been unable to agree on certain aspects of Native Americans’ historical identity, and this has emanated to substantial changes to the Americans culture. The primary cultures that they have diverged from include political, economic individualism and liberal representative democracy.
David Treuer in his book describes the past, present and the future of the Native Indians having grown up in the reservations. He was an Ojibwe Indian and was well acquainted with the area around Lake Leech which housed one of the pioneer inhabitants of America. Some primary subjects are discussed in this book, and they include the sovereignty of the native tribes, treaties, gaming, public policy and the relations between the people and the state. To begin with, he takes notice of the fact that he could not imagine his current success while growing up especially considering his mixed parentage and origins. He went against the routine of the community and joined an Ivy League school where he felt outclassed and out-educated by his classmates especially since the school was exotic compared to what he was used to. It was not long before he felt appreciation for his culture after being far from his home. In modern America, equality has been fostered, and anyone can make it without consideration of economic background.
The government of the United States tried to assimilate the Indians into a European culture to enable the civilization policy. They were not allowed to run their affairs without interruption by European Americans. They were regulated regarding their economic activities such as fishing in the Red Lake, hunting, and gathering and were required to observe the limits of the treaties. The treaties took effect from 1783-1889. The tribes were also relocated to other regions which were small and isolated and given empty promises such as increased provision. However, they were left destitute and depressed.in the modern America the Indians have moved from this reserves, and economic empowerment and capitalism have ensured they migrate and seek employment opportunities and better living standards. The government now recognizes the leadership of the tribes, and the constitution protects them with equality like any other American citizen.
Many treaties signed by Indians in good faith were broken and not honored. They were tricked into giving up their lands and rights through the signing of agreements. After signing the treaty of Paris in 1783, the government took control over the lands belonging to the Indians. There was also a treaty afterward that the Indian chiefs signed requiring them to trade their properties for money henceforth being prohibited from a building, this was in the broader area of present-day Wisconsin and parts of central Minnesota. Failure to honor this contracts led to endless suffering and even death in cases such as starvation. In modern America contracts are protected by the constitution and are required to above everything ensure that human rights are adhered to by all means. The government also has to ensure that citizens cannot be compelled against their will to contracts that are not just. The lands are now being owned by the Indians rightfully, and they are allowed to own land wherever they wished.
According to the Apocalypse in the Andes, the world has become opened up to all the indigenous communities and tribes of the world. The emergence of a wave of capitalist expansion and increase in population has made the concept of first encounters or contacts a thing of the past. In the modern America, the native communities are more exposed due to the increased pressure to accept to share the available space and resources in a more aggressive approach than ever before. The indigenous communities have also been accorded a voice and can proclaim their demands and aspirations as this is provided for in the Declaration de Quito published in 1991, this is among the initial documents that resulted from conventions held by leaders belonging to the indigenous communities in the hemisphere. Likewise, countries like Colombia in the early 90’s had a new constitution that recognized the rights of indigenous communities and allowed for their representation in government. Canada as well as pressed for the recognition of indigenous communities as this will guarantee the legitimacy of their constitution. Other conventions and congresses regarding the attention of the importance of the indigenous people have taken place and has attracted worldwide interest.
There has also been an improvement in how public affairs are handled .natural resources in the modern America has been enhanced compared to the previous years, and this is a significant milestone. Treuer in his books outlines how people overfished in the red lake, but they have improved this by adopting modern methods that conserve and regulate all the entire fishing process.
The emergence of gaming led to a lot of conflicts between tribal law, state law, and the federal law. The profits from the Casinos are now being used in other businesses such as hedge funds, real estate, and technological industries. A large junk of casino revenues is attributed to Indian owned ones which generate 65% of the total.
Indian families were concentrated in reserves and they entirely aligned to their cultures and beliefs.in the modern America the attractive economic development in the country has made them relocate to look for better economic opportunities. There was the introduction of blood quantum which was regarded as a policy aimed at wiping out the tribe. To be a full member of the tribe one was not only allowed to learn the culture of the tribe but instead, have an Indian identity. Her federal government also introduced the Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB0.This system was used to recognize the parental status of the Indians. Example it would reduce if a member married a non-Indian by half.
The identity of Indians could undergo systemic corrosion in future if the trend it is taking continues. Many Indians have moved away from the reserves and abandoned their traditions due to the attractive economic opportunities in America. They have intermarried and had children with other non-Indians and migrated away from their homes to be assimilated into these new cultures. Earlier the tribes were considered to be all-inclusive, and any married couples were required to remain in the tribe. The population has increased rapidly, but the culture and identity cannot be considered to have done the same.
The Native Americans reacted to the dominant cultures by either maintaining in their reservations while others decided to interact. They could not resist the economic empowerment provided by the developing American economy. Those that remained preserved their language and cultures while the rest intermarried with non-Indians and merely got assimilated into their new lifestyles. The Indian culture due to the emergence of gaming and casinos has attracted a significant number back to the reserves. This development is attributed to the benefits such as scholarships and employment opportunities for only members considered to be of Indian identities.
Most of the Indians who left the reservation found it hard to come back especially those that intermarried and had children. Many believe the idyllic cultures of the Indians were destroyed by Europeans and some greedy Indian Ancestors.
There is a western fantasy that portrays indigenous people as those seeking to remain in their pristine distinctiveness. However, this has never been the case as they only fought for self-determination and to be in control of the circumstance in which they would develop economically and in their relations with the outside world. Indigenous people encountered culture as survival is a result of apocalyptic and genocidal history people are living in the modern times.
The concept of interpretive and meaning-making can be ascribed in the contact zones. These were areas that different cultures interacted and at many instances were a result of violence and invasion. They end up forming a “radical heterogeneity” which is a space where different cultures coexist. In the contact zones, there has to be one dominant tribe that is the colonizer of the other. The indigenous tribes were therefore subjected to serve and submit to their colonizers who were the whites. In modern America, this has been challenged by activists who have pushed for equality of the indigenous people.
The modern times in America has seen a rise of a culture that appreciates all the diverse societies and a collective identity has been forged from Native Americans. All indigenous tribes have been accorded equal opportunities in the various social structures, and their contributions have been eminent. Historical events have formed the basis of uniting and improving the state functions and better lifestyles for all people in America.
Treuer, David. Rez Life: an Indian’s Journey through Reservation Life. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012.
“Birdman of Assisi: Art and the Apocalyptic in the Andes.” Birdman of Assisi: Art and the Apocalyptic in the Andes | ACMRS, acmrs.org/news/events/birdman-assisi-art-and-apocalyptic-andes.