Wednesday, June 7, 2006

On the land use plight of the western Indian tribes

  Here are an uneducated easterner's thoughts -- perhaps ignorant, perhaps obvious -- about the land use plight of the American Indian tribes of the West.  Traditionally, the tribes were either nomadic (such as the Apaches) or agricultural (such as the Hopis), often on marginal land.  With their modern-day concentration on reservations -- often very poor land, of course -- the tribes were unable to continue a nomadic lifestyle and have found subsistence farming to be very difficult.  Thus a young Indian is faced with a dilemma: the traditional way of living is all but impossible on the reservation, and joining the dominant, non-Indian economy means leaving one's culture behind.  Today, of course, gambling has recently brought in a lot of money, and pleasant new houses are visible across Indian lands.  But support through the money of gambling is not a culture ….

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