Land Rich, Dirt poor: Challenges to Asset building in Native America. reading ect.
The reading brought up a lot of points and examples for how the instituted laws in America have prevented the nation of Native Americans from being able to build wealth in their communities. I found it interesting how the Native Americans are the single largest landowners in America, but that the people have no control over how it is invested and distributed. The American federal government manages the wealth of Native American lands. This is a conflict of interest because it is similar to say your own investments made with your money, but that you have no choice in the matter of how, with whom, or where money is invested. As an investor you would receive returns on your profits but those profit may not be as high as if you had control in the way your money was invested. The big questions that arise from this are â€śis it really your land if you have no control over how it is used/invested?â€? as well as â€śwhat makes a tribe a tribe, who decides, and what is their best interest?â€?
The fact that Indians are the single largest landowners in America doesnâ€™t really mean that they are able to control the land as far as economically. The discussion in class that we had Tuesday the 4th, Brewer explained that the treaties are only in existence as long as America does not necessarily need the land Indians inhabit. The Indians would eventually be forced to renegotiate any treaties should the government want to. This also relates to the treaty making after 1812 where tribes were forced to sign treaties. In later years when tribes would try to get their lands back, only to awarded small fractions of their value. â€śIn February 2000, a federal jury awarded the Cayuga $36.9 million, despite the appraised value of $660 million. In October 2001, a judge ordered the state of New York to pay Cayuga an additional $211 millionâ€? (40). The idea that the American federal government has the â€śbest interestâ€? in mind for the Native people is really counteracted in itsâ€™ actions. The case here demonstrated that the government is not interested in giving full value to the people for what they lost, even in more recent occurrences. This type of attitude where the government is using the Indian lands for a cheap way to undercut economics severely affects the Indian peoples. The returns on the lands are artificially low and thus substandard to quality they could have received if they had control over their investments. The other interesting fact to note is that the federal government defines what a tribe is. The federal government has control over the economics and with the legal power to decide who gets a share in the capital; it can exclude groups of people from receiving money or land.
The government outside of the Indian Nation has thus decided what is fair and has also defined in legal terms what qualifies as a tribe. The author wants to convey the idea of how the conflicting ideas between America and Indians about how space is shared collide to oppress the development of wealth for Native Americans. The most notable of this conflict was with the allotment act. This act was an attempt by the government to split up the lands of the Native people to conform to individual ownership as opposed to a community-based ownership. This attempt to break down the people into separate landowners would fractionalize heirships in the future and further prevent the building of assets wealth because how it disrupted the Native landownership patterns (50).
In conclusion the federal government has repeatedly misused and misallocated the Native American lands and investments suffered. The control that the federal government over Native land is certainly far overstepping the bounds of one sovereign nation into another because it diminishes the sovereignty of the Natives. They may â€śownâ€? the land, but only for as long as it suits the American government. In this way we see the Native Americans suffer because they must bend to the economic will of America.