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#702660 - 07/19/11 10:32 PM Reservation Mindset  
Joined: Feb 2008
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

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Southeast Georgia
This article has been bouncing around in my head for months. Working it out was a good exercise in maintaining objectivity with an emotional issue. What is the "Reservation Mindset?"

To John Stossel, it's seems to be one of Entitlement. But it's not solely based on "Indians are freeloaders," but rather on what was agreed upon and accepted in ratified treaties. I understand this point of entitlement, which many of my friends adhere to so strongly. Not growing up on a reservation, we were poor, but not in the dire position of being dependent upon the government for most, if not all, our needs. This may be one of those things that if not personally experienced, one can never completely understand.

Even trying to imagine myself in that situation, the lessons of my parents and what I have lived through and learned from get in the way.

Reservation Mindset - Is it Changing?

Last edited by Jane - Native American; 07/20/11 02:20 AM.

Jane Winkler, Editor
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#705183 - 08/02/11 10:33 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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A fascinating article, Jane, and one that certainly can stir up many strong feelings. I would have to guess that if I'd grown up on a reservation that I might have strong feelings about it.

I gently posit that past wrongs cannot be paid for for eternity. At some point we have to forgive the past. It would not make sense for the US to pay out to slaves forever, or to Japan forever for bombing them in World War 2, or to try to make amends to all the other people we've hurt forever. At some point everyone has to move forward. It is in everyone's best interest.

I have great sympathy for all the people hurt by the actions of the US. I also think, if we go back in time, that everyone has been hurt by everyone else at some point. The people who came to the US were themselves hurt by others in many cases. The people who hurt the colonists were themselves hurt. The US fought with England - England was invaded by France - France was invaded by Romans. It never ends.

I think we need to start fresh and build a foundation where everyone can thrive and move forward.


Lisa Shea, Low Carb / Video Games Editor
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#705195 - 08/02/11 11:28 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Lisa LowCarb / VideoGames]  
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I agree that we cannot pay out to people forver, in the sense it's not a sustainable answer. But I do feel that the reservations are a unique case to the USA, and that those nations within our nation are still needful of assistance.

#705205 - 08/03/11 12:46 AM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Jilly]  
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Jane, I'm glad that you let this article run around in your mind until it was ready to be born. Thank you for giving us all many things to think about.


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#705208 - 08/03/11 01:03 AM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Connie - ADD/Sandwiches/Reading]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Wonderful article, Jane. Thank you for having the courage to bring this out in the open. So many people are not even aware of the ramifications of the past.

I agree with Lisa that there comes a time to forgive and go forward.

I have often said that it is time for us all to stand together as brothers and sisters, side by side, and make this Nation one that will benefit us all and be a good world for our children and grandchildren and generations to come. That is my dream. I have been labeled naive for having that dream, but I do believe it is possible.

No achievement has ever been realized without first having a dream.


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
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#705328 - 08/03/11 12:21 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

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Having grown up with a firm foundation of self reliance, combined with a strong independent nature, it is almost impossible for me to identify with some Elders. They adhere to the "We Are Owed" stance so strongly. I was taught we aren't owed anything. Life is what we make of it, and it's our responsibility to take care of our own.

It seems to be a cultural dichotomy for American Indians. Fierce individualism somehow coexists with an entitlement mindset. After all the years, and all who have languished on the reservation, it's inspiring to learn of success stories.

There is so much contributing to this new mindset. With the ability to conduct global business from even the most remote locations, the internet is most certainly a major contributor. Improved schools are another, but I think there are also emotional components. Defiance is one that brings a rush of pride for me. Despite all efforts, We are still here. And it may be that Native Americans will be the business moguls of this century. There are Cherokee made parts on the Space Station. That's certainly a good start for a dream.
Economic Development - New Reservation Mindset

Last edited by Jane - Native American; 08/03/11 02:41 PM.

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#705333 - 08/03/11 12:55 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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"There are Cherokee made parts on the Space Station. That's certainly a good start for a dream."

Aho! That is a good start for a dream. smile Wado.


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#705875 - 08/07/11 04:41 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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vhawk Offline
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this is a tough one.. I was thinking about this when I read an article by a lady who works with the Peace Corps in Africa this is what she wrote.. ..many areas of Malawi are struggling with dependency syndrome. So many charities and government agencies have brought assistance that some Malawians have stopped trying to get ahead on their own and wait for for a foreign group to provide assistance. she wrote.. I (she) try to not give anything away..they can borrow ,, but anything I bring into the community for projects must be matched or paid back in some part by community contributions ..It is important they have a sense of ownership.'' maybe there needs to be a change...so that people FEEL good about what they have..what they get .. what is the teach a man to fish ..??

#705882 - 08/07/11 05:24 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: vhawk]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Hi vhawk. The 'teach a man to fish' is a Chinese proverb that many other cultures have adopted:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Old Chinese Proverb


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#706130 - 08/08/11 06:36 PM Re: Reservation Mindset [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

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Southeast Georgia
Welcome vhawk and thanks for joining in.
"Dependency Syndrome" that's very descriptive. I really like how the lady with the Peace Corps addresses this in Malawi.

I so hardily agree how a sense of ownership can dramatically improve communities. Recently I learned why there is no sense of ownership for many on the reservations. The reason is so disheartening.

All reservation land and improvements are held in trust, there is no individual ownership. Why would one maintain and improve something they do not own or control? For example, a family works hard at building a new house or renovating an older one. If Tribal government decides to use that property for something else, the family can be removed. This has actually happened.

Several years ago, my Mother visited Rosebud reservation in the Dakotas. All the old rusty cars and shacks, many with no electricity or plumbing were very depressing. I had to agree with her questioning why they didn't at least clean up around their homes. I didn't know how efforts towards improvement could attract attention with possible negative outcome.

You have shared a significant point within a very tangled situation that is pertinent to both privately held and tribal assets in Indian culture. It's most definitely another dichotomy, struggled with for balance.

Our culture was/is based on clans, small groups. All assets were shared and those who gave freely of their personal property held high status. History provides numerous examples of how this works well on a small scale, but fails miserably when applied to large groups, such as an entire Tribe or country. Greed can be addressed within a small group, but can proprogate unchecked in large ones.

On one hand, a sense of ownership does instill pride and care, but on the other, it contradicts our culture. Including capitalism into this tangled mix can bring out the best and the worst. Personal success, wealth, and ownership pretty much sums up the "American Dream." However, Native Americans who have achieved this for themselves may not necessarily be viewed in a positive manner by some, even when they do share freely. Tribal businesses don't entirely escape this negative opinion either.

I was talking politics with an Elder who mentioned the "Deep Pockets" of the Seminole Casino business. He was referring, unflatteringly, to individuals who had grown exceedingly wealthy from this industry. This is reminiscent of how Indian Agency staff and local vendors have been viewed since reservations were established. Distrust puts it mildly.

This is so hard for me to "wrap my brain around." The simple solution of economic development through capitalism to improve the lives of American Indians, both on the individual level and community wide is fraught with cultural complications. The more I learn, the more I understand why development of any type has taken so long to get started.

Now that it has, I wonder how long it will take for a positive sense of ownership to be reconciled and integrated into our culture. Maybe it starts with a renewed "sense of self" and cultural pride.



Jane Winkler, Editor
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