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Dr. Stone is it a fact or fiction that there are less Indians now than there were in the 19th century. It's estimated that there were probably about a million Indians north of Mexico that is in North American with Mexico at the time of Christopher Columbus landed. I won't go into details about how this estimates are arrived at. But most anthropologist I think agree that it's a conservative one. And of course once there was contact with the Europeans the picture is is one of declining population for North American Indians. And I think that this decline was it was steady and probably disease was the was the number one factor responsible for it. But it is the decline that is was not arrested until around the turn in the century probably
one thousand ten thousand nine hundred fifteen could have been that late. The picture today is that the population of American Indians probably probably around 700000 and increasing rapidly. They probably have the highest rate of increase of any ethnic group in the United States. So that I think Indians have turned a corner in terms of fluctuations in their particular population. Do most of them live either on reservations or in Indian communities. Probably today. You know I would have to really do some digging and I'm not sure anybody has a precise answer to this but they're probably well over well over half of the Indians who are identified as such today are living in you need communities. And the other the other fraction something under 50 percent
is living in communities nearby Indian communities or in cities. Now Indians have been involved in urban migration just within the last 10 or 15 years. And you know this this. Migration is probably speeding up if anything is and get a little better education and as opportunities for making a living on the reservation continue to be a rather bleak. Unions are literally forced off the reservation into the urban centers. But then an interesting thing happens and this is what makes it so difficult for Indians to date at least tended not to form anything resembling stable communities within within the cities and they might in the future. We knew the price but most Indians if you meet them in the city will will if you say where do you
live. Say oh I live in Oklahoma or something like that and you say how long have you been in the city Well I've been here 10 years. He said you live in Oklahoma. Well that's really home. And I go back there often I visit. That's where all my relatives are. Three years ago I quit work for two years and went back on the reservation I can finger do so if I came back to the city and work and Indians in a sense I think are much more mobile. Then in the general population how many reservations and how they mostly in the West Midwest. Oh yes most of your most of your reservations are in the OR in the West. There are not too many you know and what we call Midwest there are none in the south. Well that's not true. There is you have the MCs who keep Florida in the Seminole and then you have in North Carolina there is a Cherokee reservation.
There are a few in the east. You have some interesting Runic groups in fact you get the lombe down in North Carolina. How much how many reservations are there I'm not sure that I can deliver it at the top of my head. I don't know if you want me to go into the whole be i.e. organization because if you have they have area offices and within it which are called agencies and within that within the area office you have you have a number of reservations. Even the number of tribes let me assure you is not is not something everybody can settle on if you say 300 you're not going to be far off reservations. I don't honestly know but I would. There's probably a hundred or so then dunes were enfranchised in 1923.
It's a great event that might have some of that problem since that time well being franchises I don't think I don't think that's all of them. What difference did this make. Well. I don't know I just honestly don't know how much difference it made. For one thing many Indians didn't want to be enfranchised many Indians assert the position that they belong to a separate nation and that in that they are they have no wish to be incorporated within the United States. That's that's one position that the Indians take. I'm sure other Indians even though they were enfranchise found that they could not vote at least in certain states and in Utah it was not possible to vote to a few years ago. Even though you were they were officially enfranchise. That's what I thought of that problem is that some of the union problems. I know that was a very large question. Well.
You know you have to I suppose I would prefer to define problem from what I take it take to be their point of view. You know I take it to be their point of view from what they tell me and from what I read in the in the newsletters and things like that. I guess they have a lot of problems of course everybody I think knows this. They're underemployed but they're certainly not participating to any great extent you know in the in the affluence that is characteristic of most of the rest of society. They they have a health picture which is not is which is not as. Pleasant as the rest of the population and even from the point of view of education they have a very high dropout rate probably the highest very low achievement rate
by any measure there. They're having a lot of problems and point of view of education now that what I've been saying here is the opposite what I started out to say I've been telling you how the public sort of defines the Indian problem. The Indian may not necessarily define it this way. You can find this out of course as they say by talking to the right. One of the big problems that I think Indians are talking about today in fact they know there is a problem of land. You see while it's true that the Navajo have a very large reservation it's equally true that the river Indians in California have nothing. Is it is it conceivable it that the Pitt Rivers didn't live on any land when when settlers first came to California. You know obviously not yet they have no land today now they are.
They are sick or seriously concerned about this and they've been resorting to I suppose what will be termed illegal means to seize land you know or if you like to actually get it or at least to dramatize the fact that they're in very sore need to land. I had a I had occasion to talk to some Indians from a fun and great lakes and parental experience. Who who who have had a great deal of trouble because their land has been slowly slipping out of their hand and and they want desperately to discover some means or for retaining their land. See the great problem. It goes all the way back to the Dawes Act which was in the was in the late nineteenth century and which provided that to Indian land would be divided into allotments individual allotments and the
result of this was it was a tremendous amount of Indian land became non Indian land almost overnight. Probably the major factor here is that most Indians at that time had no clear conception of what individual ownership of land involved. They rather wanted land more than property. That's correct that's absolutely true. Yes it's land rather than property and it's a good distinction to make. So that so that today you we've had a number of incidents. Press is not made too much of it. But this is been going on in California. There is of course Alcatraz which is I suppose very symbolic of this desire for Indians to have their own land. There was the attempt to take Fort Latin which was Army surplus and of course there are the diggers that you work that the
river group has done California Northern California in taking over Pacific Gas Electric property. In other words Indians who are normally law abiding have gone to the to the point of breaking the law in order to get the attention of Americans get the attention of the government. You get the attention of state to get the attention of people who have power to see if they will do something to relieve their plight. Do you feel sometimes that some of that a lot of that energy is being dissipated in trying to maintain a way of life that has really don't. No well in the first place I think people you know have a naive idea of what it is Indians are doing when they're attempting to maintain their They're in the in this so to speak. If the answer is purley historical what we have to remember is that Indians there and their ancestors of
course didn't spend thousands of years making if you like an adaptation in this environment you get a lot of accumulated wisdom together with that epic adaptation. There are a lot of rules about living with each other about relating to the world around them which they are reluctant to alter until they have a clear idea of what the consequences are. And I defy anybody you know to prove to me that wisdom necessarily rests with the West in this particular circumstance because we have done a pretty good job of polluting this environment killing each other on the highways or in wars. In other words we don't hold a monopoly on the truth or own wisdom. I feel very sympathetic to the to the to the Indian
point of view which I take to be that he is not ready to embrace the culture of the dominant society until he feels himself that he understands the implications. I think we would be foolish not to let him do that because he has something to teach us. And right now we are riding high and and ignoring what he says. But he may be the guy that saves what's left of left of Western civilization a hundred years from now. Dr. Stanley is the program coordinator of the Center for the Study of man now applied and I work there. Is the music different. Yes it's a very very different. The war dance for instance from the round answer from other types of social events is easily distinguishable.
Is it a different instrument always with the drum. So our song with the drums vary from Alaska to Florida and once again they were mostly the males playing the drums. That's right some of the social dances the women sing. But there are very few instances when women would beat a drum. Do you have any music. Yes we did. Yes we do have and I'd like you to hear this keeping in mind that these songs which we now call war dance and these in particular are from the horns TRO are songs that were so the tribes are as the war party prepared to go on a raid. I am.
I would say around the age of 12 13 and 14
depending on how the boy himself developed there were certain ceremonial things in many tribes that he had to participate in prior to being taken. Certainly he grew up playing with the inmost tribes of bows and small bows and arrows that were made by the grandfathers or the older warriors who no longer went on raids. He played with these he killed his first rabbit or squirrel our bird and finally attained the age and the experience where he was taken on these protective raids or other types of raids. I think that here is a spot where we should keep in mind that. In taking animals such as the rabbit or squirrel that I just mentioned and and the increasingly large animals they were never shot
are never captured for the fun of it. There was never a sporting thing but it was a thing that was necessary for existence. What about some of the less warlike music some of the strictly social music that I suppose that was played for dances. There are many social dances. Some tribes share the same social dances among others there are a real variety in today's society. We have what is called a pan-Indian group movement. Whatever you will these primarily this primarily stems from the Indian people who have moved into urban areas and there in order to retain and because they are Indian come together as a group in Indian centers and Indian organizations and we have quite a
pan indian music and dance movement now so that. In talking about social dances we see that for instance the round dance has become almost a national Indian dance although at one time it belonged to the southern plains people. Do you feel that the Native American Church is in any way a cohesive force among tribes today. Yes it is to some extent. The Native American Church has grown considerably in the last 20 years until it includes people from just about every tribe in the nation. Is it a monotheistic religion. Yes very definitely. Using as a sacramental time the cactus button P.O.D..
And the beauty road is pasta and yes it is partaken of by the people in the meeting and it always is held in a teepee put up especially for that purpose. Each. Participant eat some of these during the ceremony. There are other rituals to the ceremony. What is the effect of piety while not having protection of it myself I can only tell you what I have been told in that regard but it is a hallucinogenic type of thing. At one time it was shoes to gather images that would direct the person in a search for power. And a conquest of what should be done next for them. The people involved this time.
But how does this fit in with modern life. Again it's one of the people participating from the city. Away from your living. Is that particular. Yes I'd like you to hear some of these are so. Interesting.
I believe his name was had a vision that with certain ceremonies including certain rituals the white man would disappear from the earth and things would once again become as they were prior to his coming and all Indians would become alive again. That's right. Right absolutely. And that the buffalo would come back because at that time they were rapidly being destroyed and of course this was the thing that finally defeated the American Indian was the fact that the buffalo hunters came out and killed all the buffalo. Now why do you why it is that it defeated the. And because it took away his means of existence in the case of the northern and southern plains and many other Indian groups. He lived with the Buffalo it was the Great Spirit's
gift to him to feed him to clothing to make his peace with the bones were used to the marrow of the sinew every part of it was user. There's a story that we like to share that says you know as I said before the Indians were never wasteful people. Anyone who was wasteful was looked down upon and very quickly corrected this but we were told that the Indian used every part of the bill and then he even used the stomach to cook the meat in there when the meat was done he even ate the stomach he didn't waste. So the buffalo disappeared and it was very easy to conquer the American Indian because no longer did he have children or anything like that. Do you feel that there are still many myths and misconceptions about Indians. Very definitely and it is quite amusing at this
time. 1970 was as many years as America has been settled by the population. There's so very little known but other than scientists perhaps or other researchers in that area about American Indian while today the general public knows about the TV in the late late show. The cowboy and Indian and are often very disappointed when they find that we don't know where for others yet we find that. It's very difficult to have people accept the fact that many of us never did wear a feather so we're trying to correct some of these misconceptions through a program that the Smithsonian has an Indian awareness program. This correcting of misconceptions is a side effect of the program which includes the Indian participation in the Folklife Festival each summer which
includes touring performances and will include several other types of things that will get an honest message concerning what Indians are about today. And hopefully as a result of the US people will begin to realize even more there are other similar kinds of programs of course. But we hope that the public will begin to realize even more that the person next door could be an Indian person and that he goes to work or goes to school and does the same kinds of things but that he has another dimension and that hopefully he continues in some way a part of his Indian community whether it's in the Mexico or New York or wherever it might be Miss is not work that is the Indian awareness program director of the division of performing up here.
Radio is presented weekly at this time produced by Dan McLean even the Office of Public Affairs Frederick M. Phillips director. This is since. This is the national educational radio network.
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Radio Smithsonian
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American Indians Their Lives Their Art Yesterday and Tomorrow Part 2
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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