Monday, October 24, 2011

Barrett_Territory_Indian Reservations

Indian Reservations

The Territory and the Legalities

Currently there are about 310 Indian Reservations throughout the US. Not all federally recognized tribes have a Reservation, some share Reservations and some have more than one. Reservations take up 2.3% of the US.

In 1851, Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Act, which created the first Indian Reservation. These reservations were first created to mollify relations between the Native Americans and the settlers. They would delineate the boundaries between the tribes and the settlers so that missionaries and other groups could come to these reservations in order to “civilize” the tribes so that they could eventually become American citizens. Settlers often moved on to Indian Reservations anyway, and the federal government then reduced the size of the reservation in order to accommodate these settlers. This happened in the case of Deadwood, SD. Deadwood was a town created by settlers on Indian land and because of its rich gold resources; it was annexed back to the United States while the rest of the Dakotas stayed Indian Territory for several more years.

Indian Reservations West of the Mississippi were mostly granted by the federal government and many cross state and municipal boundaries. Those East of the Mississippi were granted by state governments. Over the years, parcels of land within the Reservations have been sold to private owners or back to the federal government, segmenting the Reservations.

Indian Reservations are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but some are quite autonomous from their adjacent territories. Although technically crimes on Indian Territory are supposed to be investigated by the FBI, the Reservations often have their own police force and laws. Also many businesses are owned communally by the entire Indian Nation. Many Indian Casinos for example, share their profits with every member of the Indian Nation. Only those with proof of direct bloodlines can be recognized as members of the Nation.

The Players

Although non-Indians can work for businesses on Indian Reservations and land can be sold to non-Indians, jurisdiction is fuzzy at best, and relations between Indians and non-Indians in and around the Reservations can be highly charged.

1 comment:

  1. Both of your territories seem to share the theme of examining groups of people who are set aside as different or special in a way that allows them to earn a living that they would not otherwise be able earn without being a part of that "group". Though, as you've pointed out, these groups are often marginalized by society.

    When I re-read this it reminded me of a special report that NPR did last week about the problem that tribes in North Dakota have had with the state placing native american foster children into non-native homes. This isn't a new problem, and i suspect that it isn't your exact direction but it does contain lots of interviews about the importance of place and culture in shaping individual identity. I have a difficult time thinking about how this translates into an architectural intervention, without being something obvious along the lines of a community center. Or, maybe places where the reservation interacts with the "outside" community is where its separateness is emphasized- like at casinos or tourist destinations like the one at 4 corners.

    This is a strength that I feel the freak show example has, it already presents a space which highlights this separation between groups. Maybe it would be helpful to look at how the temporary nature of the show aids in keeping these groups separate (or maybe it doesn't).