Celebrate Native American Heritage Month: What’s New Since 1492?

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month: What’s New Since 1492?


– [Elizabeth] All right,
looks like we are at the top of the hour here. I want to welcome everyone
to today’s National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s webinar. This session that you’re
attending is being hosted by our Greater Midwest
Region, as a part of our Kernel of Knowledge series. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Greater Midwest
Region, we are located at the University of Iowa,
which is why we use the kernel of corn in our
Kernel of Knowledge series. We have an exciting
presentation for you today. So let’s go ahead and
get started to make sure we have time for all of the content and time for questions. I want to encourage you
throughout the presentation to ask questions because
your host here, myself, and Maura, will be watching that chat box. As we get set up and as
folks are coming on the line, just a few housekeeping items to note. As you join, you’ll notice that you are automatically muted on entry. So please use the chat
panel to ask questions and to make comments. You’re gonna find the
chat panel on the toolbar at the bottom of your page. You’ll notice there’s also a Q&A panel. We prefer people to use
the chat box for questions. You’ll notice that when
you use the chat box, you’ll open it up and
there’s a dropdown arrow that says, just panelists. You can go and select
panelists and attendees, so that everyone in the
group can see your question. Also, I want to let you
know that the session is being recorded. We’re going to post this
on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s YouTube page for future viewing or reference
within the next week or so. I want to introduce myself
and my cohost today. My name is Elizabeth Cascaden
and I’m the associate director of the Greater Midwest Region. With me, I have my cohost, Maura Saltzman, who is our communications assistant and who was a former
student of Eugene Fracek, our presenter today. Do you want to say hello Maura? – [Maura] Yes, hello and thanks. – [Elizabeth] At the end of the session, there will be a one credit
hour CE certificate offered. So for this webinar, I’m
gonna send everyone an email after today’s session. There will be a link inside
the email you receive to complete an evaluation. After you complete the evaluation, you’ll automatically be
redirected to the certificate. Today’s presentation is held
to recognize Native American Indian Heritage month. I’m pleased to introduce our
presenter today, Eugene Fracek. Eugene is a member of
the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He served for 10 years as
director of Indian education in the South Dakota
Department of Education. Until his retirement, he was a principle in the Des Moines Public School System. At present, Mr. Fracek is a
lecturer at Simpson College, where he teaches the
Indians of America course. Eugene is also a story
teller and a singer. Today he will discuss current
events, economic realities, cultural issues and other topics
related to Native Americans and their cultural legacy. At this point, I’m gonna
stop sharing my screen and Eugene is going to
be sharing his screen and his presentation. While Eugene’s sharing his
screen, I just want to encourage everyone again, to share
questions throughout the presentation because
we’d really like to open a dialogue and it makes
for a much more interesting presentation for everyone. So don’t be shy and get
those questions in there. Looking good.
– Think so? – [Elizabeth] Yep, you’re doing great. – All right, let’s see, gotta get in. – [Elizabeth] Go ahead
and click that again. Then there you go, perfect. That was great. – Well, welcome everyone. We’ve been watching God Friended me Lately and as a blogger, you never
get to see your audience, so I’m kinda treating you that way. I’m glad you’re all here, even though I don’t know who you are. But welcome and I’m gonna try to identify some things that
may be useful to understand Indian people in America. So my basic outline and
goal is who’s an Indian, tribe and demographics, Indian as a name, tribal sovereignty and
the U.S. constitution, the BIA and Trust Responsibility and hopefully have time to
get in some cultural behaviors versus class behaviors,
usually due to poverty status. So let’s see what we have here. First, thing I’d like to share with you I’m offering a way to
understand who is an Indian. I would offer three definitions. Definition number one is blood biology, heritage and family tree. Definition number two is cultural. Definition number three is legal. Blood biology heritage and
family tree means somebody in your family says we have Indian blood or we’re Indian somehow. There’s no proof, you just get to say it. Many times people who have
this family connection that they know about or have heard of they don’t have a tribe to go with it. Occasionally they do,
but many times they don’t and they’re using the term
Indian to kind of identify this connection that they
don’t quite know what it is. So they’re usually missing a tribal name or a tribal connection. This definition of no proof needed is used by the Bureau of Census
when they count how many Indian people there are in America. They simply count Indian
but it says I’m Indian, I got Indian blood and that’s good enough. You don’t have to prove it. Definition number two is cultural. Cultural means you do Indian stuff. That could be you eat Indian food, you live on a reservation,
you participate in certain traditions or activities. You might speak the language. It’s display or expression
of cultural behaviors, beliefs and values that might be present. Generally speaking, you
need to be in a place where you can learn, someone
teaches you these particular behaviors, or you have the
opportunity to go to them. You don’t need any Indian
blood to do cultural stuff. If you have 100% Indian
blood it’s possible you don’t do any Indian stuff. Blood biology heritage family tree and cultural stuff are
not necessarily related. Culture is learned. Anybody can learn Indian stuff. They might even learn
specific tribal stuff, but you can learn it
because it’s just culture. All culture is learned. Definition number three is legal. Now you gotta prove it. How do you prove it? You have documentation,
they’re called certificate of degrees of Indian blood. There’s certificate of Indian blood or out of the 300 tribes in
America, and I’m throwing out that number just in general,
300 tribes in America, about 100 of them have their own website. They are able to have
the ability to maintain their own website. In general, about 200 of
those tribes don’t have that capability and
they may have a website that’s maintained for them by
the Bureau of Indian Affairs. But if you want to be a member of a tribe, you need to belong to a
federally recognized tribe. So the proof that’s required,
the degree of Indian blood certificate, is
either that certificate from that tribe saying you are a member or for those 100 or so tribes
that have that capability, you can get a little ID card, which is what my tribe is able to offer. I’m a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe. The definition of
membership is what is used by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs
figures are not the same as the Bureau of Census figures. So this is not a definition
used by the Bureau of Census. It is the definition used by
the Bureau of Indian Affairs to determine who gets services. 300 tribes in America,
once again, I’m just making it very informally, the BIA
recognizes what are called tribal entities or tribal governments. This is not the same as what we would call in anthropology, a tribe. A tribe is a whole group
and they’re broken down into little subgroups. Each of those little
subgroups can be considered a tribal entity. For example in South Dakota,
with my tribe, the Dakota, that’s the name of the tribe, Dakota. There are at least nine
reservations in South Dakota. Each of them is counted by
the BIA as a tribal entity. That 573 includes all
these little break downs of different tribes because
all tribes are broken down for the most part, into
little subgroups of some kind. You also have to understand
that 573 includes, excuse me, over 200 villages,
tribes, Eskimos, Aleuts, et cetera, just in Alaska alone. So what I use the term 300 tribes, I’m trying to restrict it
or limit to the 48 states in the United States. The total population, according
to the Bureau of Census in 2010, it’s about
309, 310 million people. When the Bureau of Census
adds up all the people who say I have Indian blood, I’m Indian, I want to be counted as Indian,
either under the category alone, as and Indian Alaskan native, or in combination with
other, what they use, sometimes called racial categories. If you add all those together,
in the Bureau of Census figures, out of that 309 million, you come up with about five million people who the Bureau of Census
says are American Indian. That’s only 1.7% of the population. These figures are gonna
be considerably lower for those who are members of
federally recognized tribes or legally identified as
Indian people in America. Switching and moving to Indian as a name. Trying to talk about… Sometimes politically correct. If you probably noticed I use Indian. So what are the options? Well, there’s Indian as identify a few, American Indian, Native American, indigenous, First Nation, First People. There may be a variety of other things. My choice is Indian. I have a rationale for that. Why I choose Indian, I
basically have five reasons. The first reason is
pretty important to me. It’s the U.S. Constitution
uses the term Indian tribes and it’s present in the First
Article of the Constitution. Article one, section eight, clause three, it’s the powers of Congress. Clause three identifies
the power that Congress has to regulate commerce with
foreign nations, other countries and among the several states, everything that passes the
border of all the states in America and with Indian tribes. This comment, this
notion, this terminology in the Constitution as kind
of automatically created this special relationship
that Indian people have with the federal government. That’s one of the first reasons
why I use the term Indian for myself, because
that’s how it’s mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. It doesn’t say American Indian. It doesn’t say Native American. It says Indian tribes. Number two, there are
multiple state organizations and position in my home
state of South Dakota. It’s a state that has a
high Indian population, high percentage of Indian people. We use the term, for example,
South Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner, the office
in the Governor’s office that has an actual Indian person in it. Well, that person is the
Indian Affairs Commissioner. I was the South Dakota
Department of Education Indian Education Director. We have one of the largest,
oldest organizations there that deals with education,
called the South Dakota Indian Education Association. In every case, in these instances,
they use the word Indian. Not Native American, not American Indian. Just Indian. So once again, that helps
me to feel comfortable using the term Indian. Number three is federal legislation. Congress makes and passes laws
that effect Indian people. These laws over the past
several hundred years, tend to have the word Indian in them. So my guess, if I were to make guesses, ’cause I don’t know all the laws, I would say about 80-90% of
these laws use the word Indian. Some of them may use American Indian. Only about 10% use the
word Native American. Sometimes American Indian
falls in that 10% as well. So the vast majority of
laws passed by Congress use the word Indian alone. Examples being the Indian
Reorganization Act. This was in 1934 that
allowed tribes to become federal entities by
establishing a constitution. Many tribes created flags at that time. There are a lot of things
that happened because of that. It also, that period of
time, 1930’s, mid ’30s, allowed Indians to gain
a little more freedom. They could actually leave
reservations without having to get special
permission, if you will. We have the Indian Child Welfare
Act, which impacts a whole lot of people in this part of
the country and further west, dealing with adoptions
among Indian tribal people. The Indian Civil Rights Act. It’s kind of on the coat tails of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Indian Civil Rights
Act happened in 1968. Casinos are big, big deals. The Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act kind of oversees all of this. Indian Religious Freedom
Act allows us to still go on “sacred land” to practice some
of the religious traditions that we have. Indian Arts and Crafts Act, to be sure that you’re purchasing
something that actually was made by an Indian person. Made by an Indian person in every case, under federal legislation,
means the legal definition, a member of a federally recognized tribe. Not a blood definition. We have the, this is literally what it’s called, the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act. That’s where you would go to say, BIA.gov, and ask to see well, what
are all the tries in America. Congress has said you gotta list it. That’s the act and it’s called
the Indian Tribal List Act. There are some pieces
of legislation that use the term Native American. I think a couple of the important
ones are Native American Language Act, allows us to be
able to speak our own language in ways and maybe even
get some funding to do so. A big one that impacts a lot of places, including
museums especially, Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act. So that’s rationale
number three for why I use the term Indian. Rationale number four,
there’s a whole bunch of state and national organizations
that use the term Indian. Bureau of Indian Affairs,
that’s what it’s called. It’s not called the Bureau
of American Indian Affairs or Bureau of Native American Affairs. The Indian Claims
Commission, which is a part of the Supreme Court system. The U.S. Senate actually
has a standing committee on Indian Affairs. There’s a Governor’s
Interstate Indian Counsel, which about 34 states belong to that. Indian Health Service, National
Congress of American Indians is probably the oldest
established organization of Indian people. National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. on the
mall, one of the newer things, new buildings on the mall. Really, really a cool place
and encourage everybody to go. Indian tribes need help
legally, many times, and there’s a group that
are just a whole bunch of attorneys, if you
will, who are kind of, they represent tribes as much as they can. It’s called the Native
American Rights Fund. I believe they’re headquartered
out of Boulder in Colorado. The American Indian Science
and Engineering Society, the American Indian Higher
Education Consortium. In every case, there’s that
word Indian more often than not. Once again, it’s a way to support myself for why I would use the term and continue to use the term Indian. But reason number five is
the most important, mom. My tribe is matrilineal. Matrilineal means that
we trace our heritage back through the female. So the most important
person a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago was grandma. So the grandmother was
the head of everything. If my mom, what she did, said Indian, I cannot tell my mom,
hey mom, you’re wrong, it’s Native American. No, that’s not how it works. My mom uses the word Indian. She did, my mom is deceased, but I can’t not use the word Indian. I’m actually uncomfortable
saying Native American. It just doesn’t work for me. There’s some bumper sticker
that’s present in the state of Iowa and it has the
outline of the state of Iowa and it says “native” in the middle. My immediate inclination
is to say, oh it’s Indian, but no, it just means native Iowan. I guess it’s not me, since
I’m not from Iowa originally, but I find it kind of
appealing in a sense, that would be nice. Now if it said Indian,
that would be cool too. The reality is regardless
of which definition people see, think, use
or feel attracted to is the only thing that
really matters is tribe. What tribe do you belong to? What tribe do you affiliate yourself with? What tribe does the BIA
track you on their list of individuals who are connected to Indian people, historically. So when I’m kind of hanging
out maybe at Sam’s or Costco or at, in terms of Iowa, Iowa State Fair, if I see somebody that
has that stereotype look of maybe being an Indian,
I will often go up to them and I’ll ask two questions. The first question is hey, are you Indian? If they say yes, the second
is the important question, what tribe are you? If they can’t answer that,
then they’re not really Indian because all that matters is tribe. It doesn’t necessarily
mean you belong to it or have to, but it does
mean that you understand that your connection to your
Indianness is through a tribe, very specifically. Switching gears again,
going to dry to address an understanding of what,
how is this all connected to whatever we do legally. We have to understand what’s
called tribal sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty is
the strong connection with the U.S. Constitution
kind of started. Once it was identified in
article one, section eight, clause three, that Congress
has to deal with all the commerce issues that
deal with Indian tribes as well as states and other
nations, other countries, they needed a mechanism to do this. The mechanism that they created,
that the executive branch needed to use, they gave the need to have it done to,
if they passed appropriations or authorization bills,
that has to be executed or administered. They give that to the
President, the executive branch. The President, upon
receiving things that impact Indian tribes, needed
a mechanism to actually carry that out. So the executive branch,
in the early days of our political history and
government in America, created the BIA, the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, to carry out these things
that needed to be done, that Congress passed as legislation. Later on, the executive branch
also generated treaties, ways of stopping us
from killing each other in the mid 1800s, created
treaties and every time they created treaties that were proved in the legislative branch
that Congress approved, these treaties created reservations. The BIA needed to know,
well who’s supposed to be on the reservation and they
made lists of the first people that were supposed to be on reservations. These lists are the first
set of enrollment lists for each tribe. So there’s like a genesis. The first people to be
put on this reservation and be monitored by the
BIA are on the first list. This means that everybody
who says they’re related to this tribe, 100 years from that point, they say well, I think
I’m part of that tribe or I’m connected to that
tribe, they have to show that somehow in their
lineage, they can go back, literally, to somebody whose
name is on that first list. So the names of Indian people with tribes only goes back to when
the BIA created them. If you’re gonna do a genealogical search, you’re not gonna be able
to go back any further, ’cause there are no
written records after that. The enrollment lists that
are maintained by the BIA, they maintain lists of all the children that were, that came along after these original
enrolled people died off. As the generations kept going, the BIA continued and still does continue, to makes lists of who all
the heirs are to these, what were the lands on the reservation. – [Elizabeth] Hey, Eugene,
can I but in with a couple of quick questions,
since we’re talking about the executive legislative branch? One of our attendees was interested about criminal justice issues
facing Native Americans. I’m wondering if you have
any information to share about that, particularly, you
know, in the context of these like enrollment lists
that have been created? – Jurisdiction is a whole ‘nother thing and I literally at the end,
get to say, well there are other issues that are
jurisdictional issues, there’s talking about
traditions and values and blah, blah, blah, family relations. I’m gonna just give a short answer to it. The short answer is
Congress passes legislation that only applies to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes. That legislation means
that who gets the services that the BIA offers. If there’s criminal activity, it depends on a couple of things. Number one, it depends on
where’s that activity occurring. So that means, is it on
federal land or non federal. So that means a variety of things. Federal lands or non federal. Who’s involved? Is it an Indian in the
terms of an enrolled member of a tribe or is an Indian
person who’s just on the list for the BIA but the are
not member of a tribe. They either have joined
the tribe or the tribe isn’t able or unwilling
to take them as a member, whatever the case may be. If they are not an enrolled
member of a federally recognized tribe, then for
all practical purposes, regardless of how much
Indian blood they have, they are just simply a citizen. But if they are enrolled
members of a federally recognized tribe, then you
have to look at are there any special laws that
applies to these groups. Those special laws are
probably easiest understood in two parts. Is it a misdemeanor or is
it a significant high crime? Those crimes that are not
misdemeanors are identified in federal law and they keep changing. There’s a term for them
and I can’t remember, but there’s like 14 of them now. If there isn’t somebody,
some government agency that is responsible for
that kind of a high crime, it automatically becomes the
jurisdiction of the federal government, hence because
of where it’s occurring, on government land, which
the trust responsibility, which we haven’t quite got to yet, creates this special
relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes. The tribes, when the
reservations were first created, didn’t own their land. They were forced to be in a reservation or they couldn’t do
anything with the land. The title for that land’s all held by the federal government. That is called trust land. So if a crime was committed on trust land, then it’s automatically a federal crime. So without getting too
much further into it, it depends on where the crime occurred, who was involved, if it was an Indian
non-Indian, Indian non-Indian or Indian enrolled, non-Indian enrolled, if it was a misdemeanor
or a serious crime. All of that impacts each
individual situation. – [Elizabeth] Great, well
thank you so much Eugene. It sounds like it’s complex. Before we go on I just
want to put out a call to our attendees. We try to make our
webinar as really engaging and open some dialogue,
so if you have questions, please go ahead and pop
’em in that chat box and we’ll keep and eye out for them. Thank you. – So, what we’re saying at this point is, the Bureau of Indian Affairs
has the responsibility to carry out services and
benefits that were created by Congress and it has the responsibility to administer laws that
were created by Congress. It has the responsibility
to tribes to represent their needs so that they
can say to the President, please let the Congress
know they need this. So, can they pass a law to help us. It’s a back and forth kind
of arrangement with the BIA in the middle and this, in turn, creates a love hate
relationship with the BIA. They have do to everything
that Congress says. They have to also represent
tribes to do what tribes hope get done. It’s not a good place to be. Enrollment means an individual and member of a federally recognized tribe. Registered means the BIA’s
tracking the individual. In case that person, that
individual becomes a member of a federally recognized
tribe at a later date. That means you can say
I’ve been trying to join and I know I can trace my heritage back to that original enrolled member at some point in my ancestry. Tribes have the sole right to determine who are their members. The government doesn’t do that. The tribe has the sole right to determine who are their members. As a rule, a little sideline here, as a rule, you can only
belong to one tribe. So you might say, oh I
have three different kinds of Indian blood, I’m gonna
join all three tribes. No you’re not. You kind of get in to
whichever one takes you. Because joining a tribe
is basically saying I’m filling out an
application, vote for me and if they like you you’re in. If they don’t like you you’re not. You can’t just say I’m
gonna join any tribe. You can only join the one
you can trace your connection to through your ancestors
and it’s the tribe that decide whether they
like you enough to keep you. Tribes have the sole right to determine who are their members. This means that the enrollment
numbers that are maintained by the Bureau of Indian
Affairs are considerably lower than those that you would get
from the Bureau of Census, where no one has to prove it. Enrollment populations
probably only about two or three million, compared
to the five million for the Bureau of Census in 2010. It will never get bigger
than the Bureau of Census. Gonna change a little bit
again, but focus a little bit more on trust responsibility. The BIA’s responsible for providing goods and services,
promised either in treaties or in congressional legislation. Tribes operate as governments, recognized by the federal government. Most tribes have a constitution of bylaws and they operate under
Robert’s rules of order or something similar. There’s a government to
government relationship created by all of this that’s carried out by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of the federal government. That relationship we call
a trust responsibility. The Bureau of Indian Affairs
has the trust responsibility to make sure that as trustees,
things are taken care of for these people. So back early on, when they
were put on reservations, they didn’t speak English. They didn’t know how to
access goods and services from the local town or
community or how you would order something on the
rails, through the railroad. They didn’t know how to do all that. That was all done for them by
the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That’s the benefit these
people because the treaty that created that reservation,
the first element of that treaty basically said
taking all your land. So it’s basically a
real estate transaction. In exchange for all that land,
Congress says we’re gonna do this because that’s
what the treaty said. We’re gonna do this for you. That relationship is called
a trust responsibility, carried out by the federal government through the mechanism of the
Bureau of Indian Affairs. – [Elizabeth] Say Eugene, it’s Liz again. Do you mind if I ask
you a couple questions from our attendees? It might give you a break as well. I got a question from one
of our attendees that asks, why is it that an Indian
wouldn’t enroll in a tribe? For example, is that something to do, is it something that a
person has to do when they’re an adult or are they born
into it, how does that work? – Two reasons. To enroll in a tribe,
you just find out what the enrollment criteria is. Every tribe is different. 300 tribes, 300 different criteria. So going to website of those
100 tribes that have websites, or you write to the BIA
and ask, I want to find out how to get to some little
tiny tribe somewhere, Mashantucket Pequot, I
talked about in the past. I want to find out what are
the eligibility requirements. Once you get an application
and if you think you qualify, you fill it out, you turn it in. Looking at the application
to see if you qualify and recognizing that blood is
not always the major thing. You do need a connection
through blood, if you will, to somebody who was on that
original enrollment list that was carried out
that still exists in the office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. But let’s say you have that
connection, then two or three things can happen. You have the connection,
you know that you’re 100% of some tribal blood. You might be saying, and I
cross my arms and imitate what that might look like,
I’m not joining the tribe, you can’t make me. I don’t need the federal government telling me I’m an Indian. That’s kind of one of those things that can sometimes happen. So there may be voluntary reasons for why they’re not joining. The other reason and it’s
a little bit more common, out of those 300 tribes, I
make a little triangle here. At the top of this list of 300 tribes, there’s probably about 25-30 plus tribes that have really, really good
casinos, in the sense that they make a lot of money. One of those, for example,
I usually ask people when I talk about this
stuff, who knows who owns all the Hard Rock Cafes in the world? The Hard Rock Cafes in the world? Which are really fancy restaurants. They’re kind of all over the place. High end-ish. Who owns them? The correct answer today is
the Seminole tribe in Florida. The Seminole tribe in Florida. Somewhere, I think in 2007,
they bought all of them. How much did they pay? 987 million dollars. 987 million dollars. They had the money
because of their casino. What might be happening is someone saying, hey, I think I have Seminole blood. I’d like to join that tribe. Get an application and
they figure out that yes, they can trace heritage
back to someone on that original enrollment list for Seminoles, that’s still contained
or is held by the BIA. But now what tribes can do,
because they have their own right to do that, is they
can say, oh I’m sorry. The term they use is,
I’m sorry, we’re closed. Closed means you can’t get in. They don’t take applications. Many, many of the tribes
who are doing very well with casino income are closed. You can be 100% blood of that
tribe, you ain’t getting in. Then finally, kind of
this little addendum, you mentioned well, what
about a baby being born? Once again, it depends on each tribe. Does a tribe say babies
are automatically members of tribes, if the baby is
the result of a relationship between two members of my tribe, my federally recognized tribe? Right now, I’m gonna say that’s probably a minority criteria. It’s not present in
every tribe by any means. So those are the two things. Either you don’t want to
join because you don’t feel you should be made to
and you don’t have to. Or your tribe’s closed, they’re
not taking new membership. – [Elizabeth] Wow, that is complex. If you don’t mind, I’ve
got one other question from attendee about this tribal process, this enrollment process. So this attendee remembers
reading something about how some groups attempt to
achieve tribal recognition through a means other than the BIA because the process for
the BIA so time consuming. Do you know anything about
this or are there any, I guess updates on how tribal
recognition is handled? – I’m gonna say I don’t
have total, not even total, my information is not as
complete as it is in other areas, especially when we talk
about jurisdiction. My understanding would
be that that process to be identified is totally
contained within Congress. The term that is used is plenary power. Congress has plenary power over tribes. What this means is Congress,
at any time it wants, anytime, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, can save by vote, “you’re not a tribe”. In the same token, they can
say by vote to some tribal group or club almost if
you will, who applies for recognition, Congress
can say yep, you’re a tribe. Good for you. It’s totally up to them. There have been periods of
time in American, political and legislative history where
it happened a lot in the ’50s, 1950’s, where Congress said they unrecognized about seven
big tribes in America. There was a federal law
they passed that allowed states to take over control
of that relationship between the tribe. They cut that relationship
with the BIA, cut it. That didn’t work out well. Mainly because of issues of poverty that all of the sudden states inherited a whole bunch of poor people. That doesn’t work well for any state. But what you really need to
understand is it’s not tribes that can have any control
over this, it’s Congress. Congress is in a continual
state of receiving requests for recognition and they
constantly, not like necessarily yearly, but they’re
always adding new tribes. By tribes, I’m using that
broader term of tribal entity. That just means yeah, that
may have been a Narragansett group and now we’re recognizing
another Narragansett group, which is just another
group of the Narragansetts, that wasn’t recognized before. They will recognize them. Now you got two Narragansett
groups when you only had one. Or maybe there’s a fourth
one that used to be three, now there are four. Congress can do that if they wish. That process means there’s
always the constant number, when I’m calling for
lack of a better term, but to understand, a club of
people who consider themselves tribal in all the other ways, culturally, but are not recognized by
the federal government, who are seeking that recognition. It’s Congress that gives that
recognition or chooses not to or in some instances, can
even say we are going to unrecognize you. – [Elizabeth] Wow, interesting. All right, well thank you so much Eugene. Again, if you guys have any
questions from our attendees, pop it in the chat box. Don’t be shy and we’ll ask
Eugene while we have him here. – So with this love hate
relationship that tribes have with the BIA, it continues to this day. There are Indian people
that work for the BIA but that is relatively new. I would say in the past, less than 100 years has that happened. Probably mostly since the 1930’s. So before that, there was
always what Indian people and others would say, it’s
more like a paternalistic approach toward Indians in America. You know, daddy’s home,
we’ll take care of this. So that’s always been
kind of the way that BIA has handled their trust responsibility. It does create a love hate
relationship with them. The other part of this also means that members of federally recognized tribes have dual citizenship. Because the laws of Congress impact them, this means that they are
subject to those laws. They are also subject to
the laws of every state in which they live. That can’t change. We’re just stuck with it. Issues, issues tend to
revolve around disagreements between tribes and states
and where these tribes live, over the exercise of tribal rights. If one tribe says they’re
doing this and the state says no you’re not, then you need resolution. The resolution is usually
legislative or judicial. Legislative simply
means that Congress says we’ll pass a new law. If it’s judicial, then the
Supreme Court, if it gets that far and the Supreme Court
takes very, very, very, very, very, very few
cases, then in retrospect, we can say it appears that
the Supreme Court likes to apply roughly what’s called
a three pronged approach to determine who has the
right or power regarding that circumstance. Is it the tribe or is it the state? Because states and tribes
are constantly clashing with each other in the
locations where tribes are in states, they’re constantly
clashing with each other. The three prong approach basically says okay, if you’re talking
about a right such as the tribe wants to have a
different hunting season. Or the tribe wants to say you
have to have license plates put out by the tribe in order
to come on the reservation. Or if the tribe wants to say
whatever the wants to say, if the state says no you can’t, and it really came to a head with casinos. We’re gonna have slot
machines and the state says no you’re not. That’s not, you can’t do that. The Supreme Court basically
says, what’s the right under question taken away by a treaty, and because treaties are
like the turny thingies, they have to be specifically
identified in the treaty. If it doesn’t say casino, it’s
gotta at least say gambling, it’s gotta be pretty
specific or it’s considered not in the treaty. So was that right taken away by a treaty? Did the tribe give away
the right at some point in their history, say
in the past 150 years? Did the tribe say we have
promised, we are not gonna do any gambling? Was that in, you can find
that historically somewhere. Number three, did Congress,
through legislative action, take away that right from a tribe or even from all the tribes? If you start talking about,
if that right under question was not taken away, not given away or not, what’d I have the other one,
that Congress didn’t create a legislative act to take it away, then the tribe still has that right. These are the rights that are the basis of tribal sovereignty. This is part of the reason
the trust responsibility continues to exist
because tribes have often, many often, often times
have the same rights as the state in which they reside. This is what causes that
conflict, when they try to exercise those rights and
the states say no you can’t. So the exercise of these
rights has and continues to create friction
between tribes and states in which the tribes are located. Switching gears, so
within the time remaining, at least on my end, what’s
the basis of a behavior, is it culture, is it poverty? You add on the factor of is
it happening on a reservation, off a reservation. By off I mean, in the urban
center, typically a city town. Any place other than a reservation. If you’re on a reservation,
you have more access to traditional things. Traditional values are probably
present, you can see them. If you’re off a reservation,
you’re probably more isolated, you don’t have opportunities. There may be a blending of
other tribes who may be present and you’re not really getting
just your own tribal values. No opportunities. All those things off reservation
yields less traditions, more isolation, poverty and
the behaviors it generates. Poverty behaviors are different
than cultural behaviors. You do that because you’re
poor not because you’re Indian or Hispanic or Asian or anything else. You’re poor that’s why you dress that way, that’s why you eat that way, that’s why you work in that
location or why you’re homeless. Because you’re poor, not
because of your culture. We reflect on our behavior
practiced with a line of whether it’s on a
reservation or whether it’s off reservation, and we
recognize access to these things. Then as we look at those,
we can say if we have this on reservation, off reservation thing, that how are families, what are families look like culturally. If it’s on reservation,
they’re probably still that extended family mode,
everyone’s connected, a lot of cousins, your
grandparents are present. If you’re off reservation,
you’re kind of by yourself, you don’t really have
opportunities to practice the old traditions or you don’t see them. If we talk about employment activities, if you’re on a reservation
there are no employment activities, especially
the further west you go, what we call the West in general. There’s no jobs. These people don’t have
access to the opportunity to have a job. Off reservation in urban
center, at least you can get some work if you’re able to get work. It’s there, it’s still
a problem getting it to meet your criteria and whatever, but there is work available. Access to healthcare, if
you’re on reservation, you’re stuck with the
Indian Health Service. If Congress short changes the legislation and doesn’t provide
appropriations to fund hospitals, ambulances, doctors, dentists,
then you won’t have any. And they’re in the middle
of nowhere if you’re on the Navajo Nation or someplace in Wyoming, there’s no real access,
even though you’re supposed to have access to these
services and benefits and BIA’s supposed to make that happen. Doesn’t always happen
because there’s no money. Off reservation you’re kind
of stuck as the normal person is here, can you afford to go to a clinic? How you gonna get that paid for? There’s no Indian Health
Service option in many places that Indian people live. Certainly not Des Moines,
where I’m currently living. You don’t have a place to go
to that will service Indians. You kinda got to struggle
like everybody else does to get those health care benefits. Housing, on a reservation,
there’s not enough housing. The BIA doesn’t make enough houses. What happens at a school
environment where there’s a high school, it’s a campus. It’s a campus for BIA
people as well because there’s no place to go rent a house. There’s not enough homes to go around. Hence, we have multiple
families, multiple households living in one home because there’s simply not enough homes. Off reservation, can you afford the rent? Are you still gonna be living together? Because of poverty,
not because of culture. All these things mean this is problematic. Education, there’s a
history of Indian students not graduating from high school. It’s a whole lot better since 2000. Prior to that, you literally
could count on two fingers in some cases, how many kids graduated from that high school. Zero. When we start talking about
communities on reservations, who graduate students, it’s
gotten a whole lot better but what are you gonna
do if you do graduate? There’s no jobs. Off reservation, maybe you have a chance, but at least you can go to a
public school because you are a regular normal citizen
of the state you’re in. You don’t have to rely on
a BIA school being present. – [Elizabeth] Say Eugene,
another of our attendees ask, what happened in 2000 to
make education better? Was there an event that took place? – I’m kinda just throwing
that out in general. I would say it’s more
of a reflection in 2000, that not a good year,
it’s just I’m using that to say the distinction between
what happened in the first half century and what happened
in the second half century, what’s different. – [Elizabeth] Okay, sure. – When I was growing up
in the ’50s and ’60s, there weren’t any Indian
students, there weren’t any Indian role models, there
weren’t any Indian teachers, there weren’t any Indian doctors. They did not exist. But by 2000, now we had enough
Indian people graduating from high schools, mostly off reservation, and now we have doctors,
now we have educators, now we have attorneys. We have more of those. We still need more and we
still need to get these kids out of high school. Make sure they finish. – [Elizabeth] Great, thank you. – At this point, other
than I put down libraries, because you know, on a
reservation, no libraries unless it’s in a school. Is the school gonna have
the funding to be able to have a library? No. Off reservation, a lot of
opportunities you know. The little community I live
in here in Ankine, Iowa, they’re building a new
one, real fancy one, it’s kinda cool. It doesn’t matter if I’m
Indian or not, I can still go. Part of that dual citizenship. Everything’s for everybody. I recognize that librarians
are the best resources around. Always used them in the past. They’re still the best. But if you’re gonna be
using internet sites, which are becoming so common anymore, my suggestion is to limit yourself to .gov, .org. or .edu sites. They seem to have better information. .com is always a big red flag, be careful. I strongly recommend if
you want more information about Indian people and some of the things I started talking about,
Bureau of Indian Affairs, bia.gov, they have a lot
of stuff about tribes and histories and connections and links. National Museum of the American Indian, it’s nmai and the si is
Smithsonian Institution, .edu. They have really good cultural things. They deal with tribes as
well as Indian populations in North, Central and South America. They’re very broad in their view. The National Congress of American Indians, the oldest Indian organization
in America, the ncai.org. They have a lot of information. They have access. They have opinions that
are more tribal related. So with that, I think
I have my contact info and I’m gonna open up
to what other questions you might have. – [Elizabeth] All right
Eugene, thank you so much for an engaging presentation. I learned a ton. I do have a few more questions for you. Here’s a good one, this is a hairy one. What is your opinion of
casinos on reservations? Do you believe these have been
a good thing or a bad thing? – This is what is, it’s a
question that’s commonly, that’s common among tribal
groups that have casinos. They argue about it all the time. It’s because casinos give you
income, income is perceived to make life better, but
it does it at a price. As that price is understood,
some tribes say no, we don’t want that. Other tribes just feel compelled
that we need the money. That’s because on reservations,
you’re so dependent on the federal government
not always coming through with the money they said they would have for all the things we
need, that casinos kind of give us free money that we
don’t have access to otherwise. But it’s still is only
for about 25 to 30 tribes that get a great deal of it. Now, the same issue is usually alcohol. Should we sell alcohol on a reservation? At least it keeps our kids
and people from leaving the reservation to drive off
reservation to get alcohol some place else and then drive back drunk, killing each other, killing other people. It’s a struggle. It’s one of those you can’t win things. Those two things come up a
lot at almost every tribe that has either casinos or struggling with how to deal with alcoholism. – [Elizabeth] Well thanks Eugene. Here’s another question for you. As you know, a lot of our National Network of Libraries of Medicine
members are librarians or library staff. You know, as librarians,
what is the best way we can insure that Indian
people feel welcome to interact with our libraries? – My perception, and
once again it’s just me, I don’t have this perception
that Indian people feel like they aren’t welcomed anywhere. It’s pretty much the situational
things that may occur, but for the most part,
if you go out and about, it’s just kind of like
well, I think I’ll try that. Whether it’s a restaurant
or whether it’s a service. Unless something happens
negatively to you, it’s like yeah, I’m glad I went. The people I know who have
any connection to libraries are kind of like the general
public, I don’t think they realize all the stuff that’s there, the services as well as the
things that you can check out but participation and all
the training and things that can be offered. I don’t have this sense that Indian people are struggling with oh gosh,
should I go to the library. I don’t think it’s any different
than most of the public saying gee, should I go
to the library or not. – [Elizabeth] And one
last question for Eugene, tell us a little bit about
what tribal libraries are like. Can you share a little
information about that? I’ve never been to one myself. – On a reservation, the
best source of that kind of information are at what
are called tribal colleges. A number of tribes, not all of them, but within that 300 tribes,
there’s probably a good 100 maybe 150 that have tribally
controlled colleges, higher education colleges in some manner. Two year, four year occasionally. That’s where you can
get good library stuff. You go there and their
bookstore has you know, course material, has souvenir
items, clothing, et cetera. That’s the best place to go
to find the kind of library contact that can access information on some of the big needs
that a tribe might have. – [Elizabeth] Sure, thank
you and last question comes from one our attendees,
can you tell us Eugene, what your thoughts are
about land acknowledgements or the pros and cons of
land acknowledgements? – I don’t have any issue
personally with it. It’s kind of nice. But it’s not something
that I would strive for. It’s just, I went to, we had
a celebration here in Iowa just last, I think it was last week. Putting up flags of all
the tribes that have lived in Iowa, even though there’s
only one tribe today in Iowa. You know, I think it’s nice. It’s like a start to all the
things that need to be done to recognize the
contributions Indian people have made to America. One of the things I’ll end up with is, my favorite bumper sticker,
America Love it or Give it Back. – [Elizabeth] Sorry, I was laughing. I was trying to unmute myself Eugene. Thank you so much. I’m looking at the attendee comments. I think you know, everyone
would like to learn more and several people here
have said that this webinar isn’t enough time. So perhaps we could, when
we send out our evaluation, we’ll take a look at our
results, and perhaps we could schedule another time to learn more. I know this is a, I mean,
this is a huge topic. It’s hard to unpack so much
in just a short webinar. But I want to thank you
so much for your time. Thank you for being such
an engaging presenter and for our attendees on the line, thank you guys all for participating and being so active during this webinar. Just so everyone’s aware, I’m
gonna send that evaluation out via email to all
of our attendees today. That’s how you’re gonna
get your CE credit, if you’re looking for that. The recording from this
presentation will go up onto our YouTube channel
within the next week or so. So you’ll get an email from
me also when that is up online and accessible. So thank you all, I’m gonna
go ahead and close our webinar room today. Thank you again, Eugene. – Thank you. – [Man] Thanks for watching. This video was produced
by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Select the circular
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