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Uh uh huh. I am. The only one IUF am a public radio station of Northern Illinois University welcomes you to the first program of a six part series about the American Indian intitled Uncle Sam's false assumption. These documentaries made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will attempt to illustrate some of the ways in which people outside the Indian culture assume that they can decide what an Indian is and what he wants. You know I mean who wouldn't or couldn't you would need a new job documenting your stock run naked you knew you were in New Guinea going you don't know who do you. You knew it would look to do new world don't we. And then done it going you go you couldn't you. You were going to need me. Nigga Dean
you too good young good girl whom do we took to get her what Daddy do you could do going or you doing can you do when can you. Translation kill Grace. Then I could tape this. And it's supposed to be propitious. You know so to me it would need an explanation to await dilution sisters. Surely Gagan understand this morning because there are so many misconceptions was Union is concerned. We want to know what do we read in books and some of the books disagreed it's been written too. So I thought it wouldn't hurt this investigation into Indian history and the current status of the Indian in America will present him simply as a human being containing all the potential as one of the
shortcomings of the species. Indians themselves will tell how they feel acculturation has affected their history. Religion education land housing and health. There are diverse views of themselves in the role of American citizens now and in the future will be presented in the light of their past and present status and compared with the views of those outside the Indian culture. Oh. In the beginning that is the creation of the Indian legends present a picture not so very different from the mythical accounts of Western man's entry into the world before the creation of the world. There was only he who contains all things. He grew tired of the blackness and the nothingness and so created life within himself to fill the void because the mists of increasing to flow out of himself and he formed a great light. The sun when the sun appeared it caused the
mist together in one place and fall as rain. It became the sea in which the world now floats. Evil contains all things formed in himself and impregnated the waters. In the heat of the sun greens gun four became hard and divided into Earth Mother and Sky Father we see in this legendary account of the creation story that much of Indian culture is predicated on the hypothesis that man came into the world as a complete entity and therefore a significant entity. The difference between the ancient Indian legend and the myth of the Judeo-Christian tradition is one of how the spontaneous appearance of man on earth was affected. This is their Christian tradition presents man placed into the world from outside the Earth. Managing other life forms which were present in this sense Western man has assumed the role of paternal obligation over a small part of the
cosmos. On the other hand in the Indian legend primitive man appeared from out of the earth. Therefore having a fraternal relationship to it. White people and acculturated Indians who believe in this concept the ideal Redman's sun of the earth perpetuate the belief that a heritage of high regard for all that exists within the world was unique to the Native Americans. As it happens. Much of the Indian creation story is substantiated by scientific findings. Evidence gathered and interpreted by archaeologists and anthropologists. In the case that the American Indian came into the Americas across the Bering Straits from Asia where in the middle of the last ice advance about 65 thousand years ago he'd been firmly established in Siberia. The formation of ice from this advance locked up so much of the Earth's water that the level of the oceans dropped. A land bridge formed in the Bering Straits which was several hundred miles wide and free of ice.
The warm influence of the Pacific Ocean on the southern edge of the land bridge created a wide grassy plain such as is found in the Canadian tundra today. When herds of animals migrated into the North American continent by way of this plane the men of Siberia followed after them spreading east south even north. Wherever the animals migrated the men followed in their need for food. Our kids life develop throughout what is now the United States and food technology is diversified as the climate changed. At the time Europeans discovered America. An estimated one million Indians were living in wide ranging geographical situations and formed into more than 600 distinct societies. But I won't count sheets. Well none of us in our recollection
of course in the not being things that drives with us recall how IBM with the disappeared as a lone couch so we searched and searched and finally we went to Canada and found the sins of the people there of the earthquake and the shining sea who had moved in long house and there's a house and children brought them down and we had our share moments falls on Saturday morning with built up the fire and had our sharing with us all the way through and then at noon we took the coal which was a fire and moved to the new long house and went through our ceremonies again and everything was all right for this gives you an idea of some of the heritage that play our part in this and a lot of this was lost. There are other factors that we were discussing earlier here that are our. Might cause you to wonder and that is that always the values of the dominant culture is the values by which we have to have more precision more about which we are judged and I think this may be one
of the areas in which we have a real problem because our value systems are different in various ways many of the material goods of white society have appealed to some Indians. Those men who served in the armed forces sometimes became used to the housing they found in the white world and sought to provide themselves with similar housing when they returned to being able to find adequate financing often blocked their attempts. The following is an account of one the Indians frustration after he had been assured that loans were available to war veterans. He said You're coming next I didn't pick up the money. So that Saturday they came home from work there was a postcard in my mailbox. Now if I do not think it was a postcard in my mailbox and do not come in one explanation from the bank. So I whirled around outside. Well kept developing in my head wondering why what happened. Well as we got to the point the
curiosity in my head got the best of me. I dropped everything when I was doing changed my course we went to Europe during those years what happened. Who says it's a long story. He said We just discovered a law he says with credit risk credit risk. You know he says we can learn you know many you know comp a couple days ago you still don't have the money. You know I do. But we haven't discovered that line yet at the time. And so I mean you're not even citizen of this country. That's when I blew my stack. Harder. How can I carry a rifle side by side you want people and not be citizen of this country. I says I must have this and then you will have a beer as long as you live you. This is my country not yours. This is mine. You're the foreigner not me.
Until the late 1930s Indians were ineligible to receive assistance from the Federal Housing Authority and other agencies which were established in the mid-1930s. Now legally at least the Indians can obtain the same assistance as other Americans. The strength of the Indian was remarked upon by really explore. The epidemic diseases of Europe and Asia were unknown in the Americas until brought here by whites. Smallpox and cholera swept through America just as they had through Europe. The persistence of communicable diseases among the Indian brought about the creation of the division of medical assistance within the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1902. Then in 1055 the responsibility for directing medical care and health services for Indians was transferred to the public health service in the Department of Health Education and Welfare and Indian tribal leader describes the way the public health services division of Indian health involves Indians in the
formulation of policy. The Indian Health Service has taken the lead over the BSA they've been the Indian people. There are eight areas. In the United States that has every office set as yours diction over a number of states. The public health service has been around and involved truly the Internet is picture stage. They asked the Indians to send representatives from the various tribes to formulate a board and we have one here in Oklahoma City. We call it the advisory board it consists of five states Kansas Oklahoma Mississippi Florida North Carolina. Now there are still eight such area offices throughout the United States. Now each one of them have formed this and this is the first time that any government agency has ever asked us to participate. We have sat down and made policies that the public health service has accepted. We made suggestions. We made revision plans and they've been they've accepted easily put them into force and they found out that the Indians can contribute. And we're hoping that to be able watch
this in over a period of time to be able do this because this is what you call involvement. He also has strong feelings about the necessity for increased funding to develop adequate medical facilities. This is the way he saw the situation in January 1970. The aid areas are going to be represented in Washington we're going to testify again for additional money for public and service for the simple reason that we've got people that are sick in bed. We've got people in and people that are dying right now and then pulling the money up in Washington are people that are dying are not going to say well wait I'll die tomorrow. They're going to die today they're going to name but there's a possibility where there's additional money we can get some additional drugs and additional equipment that might possibly save some of these lives. We
want to police the world to look for our own brand of democracy in government of Rwanda and I guess shy internally to explore notions of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence representative government English poem entry government Roman law all of which are OK ask and basically correct ethnic and cultural moles which are not the moles in which the Indians necessarily fit not should they fit into which and which are not necessarily the wisest or the only models. We're going to deal with that problem as a society. And I would expect that the union will act and continue to act in some sense both as a conscience and I would expect the voice of sanity for the society which is increasingly aware of the limitations of materialism but doesn't necessarily know how to come to grips with it. Most investigations into the problems which Indians face in America seem to advocate a
single method of resolving the dilemma or one organization is cited as most probably having found the best approach to a solution. However as this series has continually pointed out the problems are complex because the people called the Indians are so diverse. While this approach may seem an oversimplification it is far less so than the solutions offered by those who purport to know and understand the crisis facing these people. We've had a good many media study recently of Indians now very few of them have been as extensive as I understand you plan to be. Some of the commercial media have been compressed into very small time frames so they've had to be highly selective. But I have watched for years people who began to study the Indian picture. There's a good bit of romance and a good bit of mythology that is abroad in the land in connection with Indians. And I like to give this little warning it's pretty obvious really. But I think it's important that when we when we approach Indian problems are problems that pertain to Indian Affairs. We try to remember to avoid seeking a simplistic solution.
It's it's awfully tempting to think now there must be a key to this somewhere. You know we sort of despair as we look back over one hundred forty five years of history of federal Indian relationships and then we look at the Indian today and we're not satisfied at all with his conditions of life or his level of opportunity. Or his level of attainment. And we say one other must be something wrong surely if I if I visit some reservations and talk to some people I find what it is this is sort of a simple minded view that we wouldn't dream of applying to any other group. We ought to remember that that Indians are extremely varied and complex and their interests they themselves don't agree on what their priorities are what their programs are. If you remember that you're talking about people who live all the way from Hollywood Florida clear up to Barter Island off the northernmost coast of Alaska. California New York Oklahoma and you remember that some are urban and some rural and some go to public schools and some go to Indian school. Some are highly acculturated some don't speak English. Some have a lot of money and some have none.
Suddenly you begin to realize that my gosh generalizing about Indians makes no more sense than generalizing about Americans of European descent. We are dealing here with 300 identifiable linguistic groups we are dealing with cultures as widely divergent as you can find in the world. And we're not going to find one simple single little gimmicky solution that we can use. We've got to come to a hard negotiation community by community to work as a government to be responsive to the problems that we see and not expect one single Eureka you know to work for the Seminoles of Florida and the Elliotts of Alaska. And as I say I know I sound I'm afraid highly condescending to say that and yet must not be that obvious because the doggone many people miss it. And you know you hear people talking about what we as a government ought to do about Indian affairs you know as though they were just a solution there that if we could only articulate it would be through President Nixon recognize the needs of Indians in his message to Congress of July 8th 1970. The president identified the major inconsistency in policies of the United States regarding Indian
Affairs as arising from the dreaded terminations policy. As recently as one thousand fifty three this policy threatened to cut Indians off from federal support upon which they had grown dependent because of the paternalism of the federal government's attitude in dealing with them. The president agreed that forced term a nation is wrong. What he proposed instead of term a nation was a policy of allowing the tribes to exercise self-determination. That is providing federal funding to allow tribes the means for development in the directions they determine will be best for themselves. Individual tribes would be able to operate their own school systems attract industries to reservations and support their own governments and hospitals without the necessity of seeking the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the secretary of the interior. President Nixon also made it clear the tribal control over these various programs would not be forced but would be wholly voluntary and locally administered
programs would be funded on equal terms with similar services federally administered. Another phase of the president's proposals would increase the aid and services extend the Durban Indians especially services offered reservations which are not available to those in urban areas. And finally the president proposed the Indian trust Council to assure impartial representation for Indians who are required to negotiate with the federal government. At present such negotiations frequently result in conflicts of interest because they generally involve the Department of the Interior and the Justice Department both of which are agents of the federal government. As the president said in his message quote No self-respecting law firm would allow itself to represent two opposing clients in one dispute. Yet the federal government has frequently found itself in precisely that position unquote. The final point in the president's message reflects the potential for change in policies of the United States government regarding Indian Affairs. Quote The Indians of
America need federal assistance. This much has long been clear. What has not always been clear however is that the federal government needs Indian energies and Indian leadership. If its assistance is to be effective in improving the conditions of Indian life it is a new and balanced relationship between the United States government and the first Americans. That is at the heart of our approach to Indian problems and that is why we now approach these problems with new confidence that they will successfully be overcome unquote. A recurring theme in pronouncements of the federal government related to Indian Affairs is we have made mistakes in the past which were detrimental to the Indians. This new act or this new policy or this new program offers in a new era. The Indian will now be able to achieve the good way of life in America.
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Uncle Sam's false assumption
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 71-36-SAMPLE (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Chicago: “Uncle Sam's false assumption; Sample,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2023,
MLA: “Uncle Sam's false assumption; Sample.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2023. <>.
APA: Uncle Sam's false assumption; Sample. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from