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This is Injun country. I recorded educational radio presentation produced by the University of Denver under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcast. This is a story told by you in your own words by those who know Indians well. The story of the American agenda in the modern world which has surrounded him and changed is ancient way of life. My story brought to you by a tape recording made largely on Navajo and Sue reservations interpreted and analyzed by our guide through Indian country. Dr. Ruth Underhill Professor them out of his of anthropology at the University of Denver author an internationally respected authority on her favorite subject the American Indian. This time on the final program in the Indian country series one last look at the future through the eyes
of Indians themselves. And now here it is. Dr. Ruth under him. This is our time for talking about the future of the Indians are they to stay on reservations are they to mix with white people. In fact are they to become flight or are they to stay Indian. And some people put it. Now for one thing the answer to that is up to them not to their white neighbors in the rest of America no one has dared to tell an Irish English or what have you. Instead people remember the old country with love and they keep many of its traditions but they are proud to call themselves Americans. Now Indians are Americans do you graphically. But so far that has been all they have lived like little separate nations inside the larger one sharing part of its ways but not really belonging on this subject here Bob Bennett the younger who is a government employee and also an official in the all Indian Congress. I'd ask him and you think they can't remain completely endianness rather
poetic people would know so they should keep the good old ways which were so beautiful and be supported while doing it. No ma'am they can't do that. The statement was made this morning about individuals say they want to be a good Indian but the only way you can be a good Indian here is to be a good American. And if you're a good American you'll be a good Indian. Does being a good Indian mean staying on the reservation. Plenty of Indians are leaving because they don't like farming and they want more money the better educated ones have been doing that for years. In fact Bob Bennett thinks that all the ambitious who have gone we have to remember then we talk about these problems are only talking about half of the American Indians. The other half have in effect adjusted themselves and and I know now they don't forget that. That's right. Of course there are many who don't believe or could not handle outside jobs and they of course should be given help at home. The commissioner was very clear about that. Now we have to realize that that's a long
way older the very oldest of the Indian people. They don't care to have an a Chines I think they know that. They can't get out away from the reservation and don't want to. On the other hand there are a vast number of people that know that they cannot make a living on the land resource. Therefore they want an opportunity to use the skills utilize the skills to be given opportunity to get out and make a living decent living the same as any other American citizen. Maurice McCabe secretary treasurer of the Council feels the same way. I know there are those who feel that the Navajo Indians and only Indians should be should be restricted to an area where they have lived for ages past and that that employment and.
Welfare hospital service isn't like that should be brought to them. We feel that that should be done but we are thinking of the Navajo Council to relocate those who wish to be relocated to other communities and learn to live with their white brothers and there's good reason why some Indians at least will have to leave. This simply will not be room for them on the reservations. There was a time back in the last century when it looked as though Indians were dying out. But say what you will about Reservation Life it provided better living conditions and no fighting Indian numbers increased. Stanley Lemon at the Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation Division went into that with me. You asked about the Andean population today in terms of what it used to be a few years ago. The Indian population is increasing rather than
decreasing there is no such thing as a vanishing American Indian that we have heard about in. Stories and books. And part of that is because of better medical care and better food which has been provided by the government on without a delay that is true. To give you an example of how that growth is taking place it wasn't too long ago just a few years ago I believe that there were around 48 or 50000 out of a horse and at the present there is estimated to be around close to 80000 Navajos So they are increasing at a very rapid rate. There is no use in saying the reservation should be made larger. But white people have increased too. There is no more land available. As for making the reservations better
able to support more people. There are plans afoot for that and some reservations it will be possible to set up lumber mills oil refining plants and other industries where Indians can wait in which they can learn to manage but often the sites are not desirable for this. There's not water and other facilities enough for large manufacturing plants or for towns. The next move would be for Indians to do what large farm families often do. Send some members outside to make their living in towns. This is the plan of relocation which is caused hard argument all over the country. Stanley Lyman the head of the Denver office described it our business is assisting Indian families from all over the United States who wish to leave the reservation and move to the city to do so. Now this is the first point isn't it. Yes they are not this estate to move unless they wish to. That is that is correct that's very true. Our people at the reservation.
Investigate the background of these people quite thoroughly and they investigate their work records and their attitude toward toward working and staying on a job. Now I have read statements that when they come to the city they're likely to lose their job that then no care is taken to get them anything for that and they become a public charge. We have had very few of these people who have become public charges it does happen. It is in an isolated instance of course. Why over half of the people that came to the city both Denver Los Angeles Chicago and San Francisco in the first place so people are still still there. In fact a study made in all the relocation offices puts the total return in a 24 percent. Three years ago when the program began operating it was 32
percent and there's been a steady drop. One criticism made in print has been that when Indians reach the city and in any case if they fail in their first job they would drop by the government and live to flounder. The government has recently employed a large number of social workers to help them through this period of adjustment. This is how Mr. Lemon described the program. I don't know if I told you or not. We do give a certain amount of financial assistance to these people when they come. It's generally speaking enough to keep them transportation food and clothing and buy a lot of fun each year. For a month which at the end of which time they are supposed to have obtained a job and a place to live and they do we see that they do obtain a job in a place to live in that time. And you also help them find associates and help them with marketing Oh yeah you know what you do is a mess in varying degrees of course.
One one interesting thing about the financial end of it is that in about a year ago we made a spot check of these people who are presently employed and we find that they are paying enough income taxes to pay them off and they pay off the en tire cost of their relocation and less just a little less than two years. Now that's the whole thing that isn't just what we spend on them direct but that is the overall administrative cost of running the program. In other words these people. Enough of these people are staying and paying taxes that our program up to now is actually paying money into the government's pocket rather than taking about where rather proud of that of course. Of course we want to know what Indians themselves think about relocation. So I inquired
both on the reservation and off it. The young educated people were generally anxious to leave any way they planned for their children to leave. That was the case with Byron Sinnott the Navajo better and working at a government school. He wanted his children to have a better education than he had had and who were in higher pay. I said then it was mean jobs on the reservation when you're young you think many of them really want jobs off the reservation with the younger generation. How do you feel about going off the reservation you want to do something. George Bush is head of the big Navajo boarding school at Brigham City Utah. Said he graduated three hundred students last year. I asked about their plans and you said they want to go off the reservation. That is the that is a trend today at our school. It's there also to give the object as a hearing. For instance there's Oscar bear running. He has not been able to manage drumming but he doesn't want to live in the city.
We don't believe in relocation. We don't believe you know actually John that this community didn't want to leave the reservation. They tell it like an Indian and he was sent out to a certain place but when he does go there there's nothing in readiness for him that he has to come back so we don't kill people who have had that experience. Oh yes we have several imagine during this tribal council in the last few days where they actually went to some relocation and they had come back and they made a plea and also a letter was sent to one of our delegates that went to Washington a certain Christian people Christian groups claim that the Indians shouldn't go out and I believe their right to. We could place against Oscar's statement that a Bob Bennett to the think that all the ambitious who have already left the reservation. But he was James luckier an older man going down going backwards
for a day. There where they are I don't know what's winter like but when they were about to get you know a job well it's a real question. Did this prove that people outside and most of my disapproval. This one I did not but told him to settle this stuff. He saws and stuff. He's going out for good good combat. Looking back they told me he couldn't come back that day just said. The man says out to a location there was a car going more like that but they intend to go at that to work and he said you have to send your stuff. I was there with me and. Let's get
caught that forgot he went like that and they don't even want a family you know. Since I had several times heard the statement that Indians could not come back to the reservation after they had relocated. I asked the commissioner and about that I would like to be quite clear about the Indians going off the reservation you don't age them you don't require them to fight. It's simply that those who wish to go can do so. It's entirely fallen Terry and left for years and years in the past. Dr Underhill MGM's have left the reservation they have attempted many of them to relocate themselves. But there were unguided and that movement. And many of them of course did not succeed and many of them landed in the slum areas of course. Now we have as you know a voluntary relocation service. The government
and this voluntary location service is trying to lead and direct these people in this movement. We want to be sure that when an Indian gets to a relocation center where we get a job for him that he is properly adjusted. We want to be sure that he is living not them slums but any neighborhood comparable to his fellow worker. If the NBA doesn't prove satisfactory on this first job assess tell me I'm getting a job that will be that he will study to much better commission Emens And this statement has not answered Locke is complaints the relocation office however told me that Indians can return to the reservation and that a small proportion do. Also they need not sell their property. Undoubtedly there
are some Indians who don't fit into the life outside and who come back. Statistics from all the relocation offices say the proportion is about a quarter a year ago it was 29 percent in the year before that the first year relocation. They did too. So the number of misfits has steadily gone down. This may be due partly to careful screening the relocation novices take care not to accept anyone who is not physically fit and competent for a job. The rest must be helped on the reservation where they are the 76 percent who stay in town. I having some eye opening experiences as Stanley Lyman of the Denver relocation office puts it. These people are finding that they can make it in the city that. They do enjoy it there. They are finding that they have friends there. They are finding that there is certainly less discrimination than they are used to near the reservation that where they live at home and they are finding that there's opportunity here that there just isn't that it
just is not available at home. So it is something that we don't have to urge them to come at all the way they come to us in order to get this service with all its pleasures and advantages. This life means a tremendous change from the habits Indians have been brought up in. I don't about that with Ray Whiting the Sioux who came to the white man's world some time ago without help and who now has a good job. How do you feel about this. Will we call it a treadmill life that we lead regular was long hours keeping to a routine do you find that hard. It's not a super way to live. OK when that alarm clock rings in the morning I get up that's for sure. Do you wear wrist watch. Yes I do. Are you the first Indian I met and wore wristwatches. Still another thing do you do you save money but in the betting. Oh yes I put away clothes some money every month. Saving money every month is a decidedly not an Indian habit. So is
buying on the installment plan. I've talked about that before and noted how hard it is for Indians to think ahead and have the money ready. So I asked Ray if he use that plan. Yes I use it I had to buy my car because I didn't have a money get in the first place but if a person watches himself I feel it's a good thing that some of these people have never had any dealings with a white man and you find these shysters that'll take you on every turn. But if you deal with Ripley units of Finance I find that you can get by and that they'll help you all we can we got to save your nationality or you think a good many Indians do get in trouble when he has a standing I don't look at me. I just think you have today's all it's just they live just for a day and let come what may tomorrow. Of course that's what they had to do when they were wondering about you know just killing them day by day. You can say that it's a tradition and they don't want to give it up. That's right they feel that that's really what you could get up to what is you know a lot of a sad
nor a Benelli a Navajo girl is a bride recently arrived in Denver. She and her husband also are buying on the installment plan. And I asked how they managed. How about buying these other things on the installment plan. You're buying television perhaps or furniture. And you brought that on the installment plan. Yeah so many Indians have trouble with it but you didn't I suppose you manage the payments all right don't forget. Yeah yeah right. The Hogans are a Mojave family from a reservation on the Colorado River which has to be had before and these broadcasts they left the reservation some time ago just as Ray did. And they've been handling jobs here and they are all over the West will likely forget how many Indians have done that long before relocation was an official project. I asked Mr. Hogan about installment by. Well now we'd like to know about this and that of buying things on the
installment plan. And that's a very different plan from anything that Indians have used. Do you buy anything on the installment plan. Car he said well you really went in for it. Current living rooms and bedrooms and bedrooms said Well do you find it hard to remember the payments you know where it came from. She keeps track of it and I had a time let this sound good. Do you wear wrist watch all resist to find out where other people are tied to the time you know you don't either do that you just got famous. You'll get it down in St.. The Hogans planned out even more than a car pointed your own wristwatch. I asked for it.
You have a plan to buy a house instead of just living in the project house and private house will it be. What kind of a place. It was Thomas saying yeah well you know what three bedrooms two and about how much do you expect to pay when you buy a house. It's a very nice kind of house the new money situation means a real change from the old Indian system of hospitality. I've talked before about how every Indian shared everything you had. Since there was no good way of keeping food and goods anyway and people would share with him in return with money which can be put out at interest. Things are very different. The Hogans have found that I had asked them Are you making. Then you could have made down there on the reservation. Ninety one dollars a week back home but I only make about Sandy here six
more here than I do back home back home where I am but 14 on a table. Everything that you've really cut away from that. Now you and your wife are living alone and you don't feel your relatives I suppose they don't come stay with you Do they know you're still friends do for the. Well it is that lonesome. Do you regret it that the boys of the intermountain school said the same thing about his young people. Well that is one of the problems that our students frequently report that their parents want them to send money to them. And sometimes I do. Sometimes they do it for a while and then I begin to feel that they're being taken advantage of. And do like most of us have done it comes a time when we also resist what our parents
impose upon this. In fact when Indians live with whites they're likely to behave very much like whites. We've tried to solve the problem with old age pensions and Social Security. But there's more thinking to be done on the subject by both races. Next I wondered about social life of Indians separated from their tribe and I took that up with Stanley Lyman. Generally they they associate with other people at their at their work. However they are going to get together with other Indians too and they and they do it just as the Irish get together and the English get together and for example out in California you have people who have come from Colorado who are going either Colorado Club and others who come from South Dakota who are guys a South Dakota club. Oh very normal for these people to get together and we see no harm in others all as a matter of fact it's a good thing.
They do feel lonesome and last you find somebody love cars. For those who do make the adjustment however they may find new friends here and are enjoying their new way of living. I asked the Hogans about their children who go to the public school now. The children they play with are called white or Anglo whatever the word is or rather Indian make white collar it makes all kinds white colored Mexican in their own rights. They get along with all the others all right then I'm not afraid. And how about your friends you have friends a white Mexican. This is just destroyed in the news. But I know there are others out there and it sound there but then I can only know that you know which Do you really like better who can
you get on with best. I don't know if the people that I knew you the white you get on with them better than with these children's homework creation. Just as with every white child now up above the TV set that is interesting but what programs do you people like to do what the kids like likes to I think I like to watch wrestling so they fight over the last. As a finish to this matter of living off the reservation Let's go back now to Ray Whiting departs. Who sums up life on the reservation pretty well. I asked you really moved into a new kind of yes light different from the reservation that's for sure you're living on a different plan going to work every day. You moved out into the cold get myself to my surroundings
about what it goes to. Finally we can listen to Maurice McCabe the educated Navajo who is secretary treasurer for the Navajo Council. First of all I would like to share a few of the people. Are you very much interested in becoming a part of the normal the American people in other words we do not see for ourselves any future in clinging to traditional thinking and traditional living patterns. We feel definitely that the Navajo Indian people wish to become part of the general public of the United States if they wish only an opportunity to do so with education. We feel that they will become absorbed into the normal stream of life and that they will make good
citizens. Since this is our last glimpse of Indian country let us have the words of Commissioner Emmons about future plans both on the reservation and off them. Now the NBA themselves a quite placed over the program. Sure. As they have expressed in some very beautiful resolutions at the four meetings I have attended so far with they and gangs of North and South Dakota and Nebraska and all the Indians of New Mexico and the Navajos of Arizona Utah and New Mexico and their utes of southern Colorado I think that through these programs that the NDA can see that they can have a better future I think they appreciated the fact that we're now
Indian country
A look at the Indian's future
Producing Organization
University of Denver
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The final program, "A Look at the Indian's Future," takes a look at what might lay ahead for Native American people.
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The problems of social adjustment in the attitudes and through the words of the modern American Indian.
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Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
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Interviewee: Bennett, Bob
Interviewee: Whiting, Ray
Interviewee: Bear Runner, Oscar
Interviewee: Lyman, Stanley David, 1913-1979
Interviewee: McCain, Morris
Interviewer: Underhill, Ruth, 1883-1984
Producing Organization: University of Denver
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-51-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:03
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Chicago: “Indian country; A look at the Indian's future,” 1957-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Indian country; A look at the Indian's future.” 1957-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Indian country; A look at the Indian's future. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from