Social Question

Sneki95's avatar

Where are the Native Americans?

Asked by Sneki95 (6957points) February 16th, 2017

I remember hearing that they live in some secluded areas, separated from whites. Is that true?
Have you ever met a Native? Are you in contact with them?
How do they live in general?
What is their general rep in US and what do they think of the whites?
Are their cultures still afloat, or are they integrated in American society and culture?
In general, what’s going on with the natives?

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37 Answers

Mimishu1995's avatar

We have one jelly here who is a Native American. I don’t know if she is available for you though, she isn’t very active.

kritiper's avatar

Many Native Americans (who I call Indians, respectively) live on reservations and are given certain freedoms and accommodations via the government. But they don’t have to live there. They can settle anywhere they want and work accordingly like everyone else, except they don’t necessarily get the reservation liberties. They tend to live as well as can be expected.
I think they look at white people like any other persons of different color. Some abide quite well, others not so much. And some of that depends on where they live specifically.
They keep their cultures afloat to teach and pass on to their children the knowledge and lore of their forebears, as well as to show others their culture and great pride in themselves.
I, myself, am about 1/16 Cherokee, of which I am most proud.

Mariah's avatar

One of my best friends from high school is Native. Many of them live integrated in society, many live on reservations. They are some of the most persecuted people in our society even now; the state of many reservations is a mess. My friend is very angry and politically outspoken but of course she is just one individual.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I have a fraction of Cherokee as well. The only part of my heritage I feel close to.

SavoirFaire's avatar

What you’ve probably heard about are Native American reservations. And while plenty of Native Americans live there, most actually live elsewhere. In any case, reservations aren’t exactly secluded. The town I grew up in borders a Native American reservation, and there was a lot of interaction (both personal and political) between the people in the town and the people on the reservation. And of course, the whole problem with the Dakota Access Pipeline project is that it impinges on the rights of those living on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation (so they obviously aren’t completely isolated from events in the US).

It’s hard to answer your requests for generalities because, like any group of people, they are diverse. There’s no one way that all or even most Native Americans live—not least because many of them have integrated into various communities and are therefore as influenced by their locality as they are their heritage. Of those I grew up near, most were politically active, and most couldn’t care less about what race you were. They weren’t concerned with white people. They were concerned with racism, ignorance, and the constant attempts by various levels of the US government to undermine their sovereignty.

As for their general reputation in the United States, one of the biggest problems Native Americans have these days is that few people know much about them. They are often seen as denizens of the past rather than a group that exists in the present and has pressing issues concerning them right now. Too many non-indigenous Americans think of Native Americans as having a single, homogeneous culture. And when not being looked down on as savages or alcoholics (old stereotypes that sadly persist to this day), they are often exoticized and idealized rather than being treated as normal human beings.

My uncle (by marriage, not blood) is a Native American, and he’s an HVAC technician. His son paints houses. They are more or less integrated into American society. But they do have family members who still live on the reservation and uphold their tribal culture. So even within a single family, diversity abounds. Casting around for generalities just isn’t likely to be very productive. I don’t mean to denigrate the question. Obviously, it is based on what you knew when you asked. I’m just trying to suggest that you would probably be better off trying to get a sense of the wide array of lives that Native Americans lead than looking for neat categories to fit them into.

rojo's avatar

Many live in the various villages in reservations set up by the government over a century ago. I am not certain how it is back east but in the Southwest there are several active Pueblos (Acoma, Taos, etc) that are almost exclusively Native American.. These are generally underdeveloped areas and the population lives, for the most part, hand to mouth. However, because they are technically separate from the United States being sovereign nations that have their own laws many have decided to open gambling casinos and other games of chance in areas where they are not allowed in US territory. These have been a boon to the reservation economy and helped provide funds to bring in necessities such as basic utilities and better housing.

Around the reservations are towns and many of the Native Americans live in and around these towns and cities. Others have been assimilated into the populations of larger cities around the nation.

I guess what I am saying is that they live many varied lives and lifestyles throughout the US and not just “on the res”.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Natives used to be in demand for building construction, because heights don’t bother them.
Reno has reservation property within city limits. The reservation police station is right off the freeway next to one of their tobacco shops.
Lots of reservations own casinos and tobacco stores because taxes don’t apply to them. I used to buy at that tobacco shop next to the rez police all the time. Their prices were unbeatable.
There are several native websites.
I am part native. My estranged husband is half.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Oh, and there are some looking at maybe having medical marijuana grown on reservations. If that became a thing, boom! Their economy would skyrocket.

Seek's avatar

Sure. One of my hubby’s oldest friends is half Blackfoot.

They have property on a res in Oklahoma but there’s literally nothing on the land and no work in the area so they can’t afford to live there.

Cruiser's avatar

We used to have a lake cabin in north central Wisconsin that was near the border of the Menomonee Reservation. Once they got a casino there it transformed their previous dirt poor lifestyle into a respectable solid community. One of best friends there was Menominee and dated his sister one summer. My new Flooring Director just the other day told me she is part Cherokee. So to answer your question Natives are pretty much everywhere these days. My guess is most people would not know a Native passing them on the street.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In NY State they run most of the gambling casinos. They make a fortune taking money from the gullible “white man”.

Seek's avatar

I can assure you that by no means is every Native American on the casino payroll.

Nate works at a BBQ place. His brother is a bouncer and does drywall.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek Agreed. They do run most of the casinos, however. Sadly the very substantial wealth tends to concentrate into the hands of the few.

chyna's avatar

They have the Creek Indian Nation reservation in Oklahoma near where my relatives live.
They do own most of the casinos in that area.
When I was a kid and went out there to visit, I remember they were highly disrespected and shunned by the white people. My uncle (by marriage) is 3 quarter Indian but kept it hidden from anyone that wasn’t family. In later years he owned up to it when it became more acceptable to be Indian.

ucme's avatar

Law courts, they like to Sioux

Sneki95's avatar

Thanks, for your answers, interesting read.

I do admit, @SavoirFaire, that I asked out of ignorance. I didn’t mean to generalize or offend, I asked based on small info I had.

It just came to my mind that no one ever mentions them, so I just asked what’s up with them.

Thank you for all the info, I appreciate it.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^That’s what Fluther is for:)

I ask lots of questions out of ignorance.

Some might argue that I answer out of ignorance as well.~

Strauss's avatar

A man’s character is his fate.


Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, their far, far distant relatives were Eastern Asian. Small bands of nomadic hunters from Eastern Asia traveled by foot, in two waves, over the Bering Land Bridge during the last two ice ages, 20,000 and 10,000 years ago. Anthropologists estimated that each band had 50 or so people, but not less. They determined that was the minimum genetic diversity to successfully do what they did, which was spread all through the North American continent and down in to Mexico and South America. The people who built the great Aztec Empire were their decedents.

They remained relatively unscathed until the coming of the Spanish in the 15th century. The foreign diseases wiped out much of the existing civilizations in what we call Mexico today. They also brought them horses, which American Indians didn’t have until then.

Some pockets of “pure” Indian blood remained, hidden in the mountains. Some are still there.

As for the U.S., well, then the White Europeans showed up and all hell broke loose. Indians can live on the reservations if they want, and there are some benefits to it. Most recently, casinos. In Oklahoma you not only go from county to county, there are signs that say, “You are now entering Kaw Nation / leaving Kaw Nation.” or Kiowa or Ponca nations. There are a LOT of native Americans in Oklahoma, but when you hit the Kansas border it seems to end there.

On of my motherless boys, who was my son’s best friend, was part Cherokee. His mom lived in Oklahoma. After living with me for a couple of years during high school, he went on to join the US armed forces. When he made First Lieutenant he teasingly told me I have to call him “Sir.” Ya right. ;)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Sneki95 “I didn’t mean to generalize or offend, I asked based on small info I had.”

It’s all good. Everyone starts out ignorant. What matters is where we go from there.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, the more “pure” a native American is, the more genes he shares with other native Americans, from South America to Alaska. It was a relatively small gene pool to begin with.
Cultures are vastly different, of course.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rick actually has some Cherokee at some point in his mother’s line. He’s the only one of the three boys that it sort of shows up in. I knew I was seeing something that wasn’t Greek (which he identifies with. His paternal grandfather immigrated from Greece,) and when his daughter told me it fell into place.
LOL! One of my daughter’s ex boyfriends, who didn’t know Rick at all, but saw a picture of him, said he looks like Mr. Miyagi And he does, too! I don’t know how I didn’t see it before.
He wants to get a Mr. Miyagi headband.

Berserker's avatar

I lived in Winnipeg and there are tons of them there. Unfortunately most of them fall prey to alcoholism, substance abuse and poverty. The youths are often in street gangs. And much like blacks in some parts of the US, they are handed the harshest sentences. If you think I’m making it up, look up “winnipeg natives” or “winnipeg gangs” online. The city is known for its problems with the natives. I have seen it first hand for twelve years and it’s really sad. Out of perhaps 100 natives, I have known three to have jobs and not be all messed up because of drugs and especially alcohol.

There are also plenty of Indian reservations in Manitoba, many of them with questionable living standards.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have heard that too. I guess reservations are pretty much like “the projects” in the inner cities.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Check out Jim Thorpe. I can’t do links from here, or I would certainly hook you up.
One of my favorite actors is Chief Dan George. Check out HIS bio, it is great reading.
Also, Graham Greene is cool as f-_-.

Berserker's avatar

I saw a doc on YT about native gangs in Winnipeg, and while there are organizations and projects to raise awareness about native culture and get them involved…one young gangster said; powows and shit are great, it’s part of my people’s heritage but all that old shit doesn’t put food on the table. I can sit here for an hour selling drugs and I feed my sibings way faster than a welfare cheque does.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Sad, that, ^^ in so many ways.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Very sad.

I have always known who Jim Thorpe was, but then I saw a Drunk History episode on him and got hooked. It was amazing.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Oh, definately look up code talkers. Just google code talkers, and you will get gobs of really cool stuff.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, and the native Americans have a reputation of being able to handle heights. Many of them are called on to work on the outside of sky scrapers being built.

Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest, all around athletes in the world.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Where are the natives of the Americas?
Check youtube…
Redbone, on Midnight Special.
If somebody would please provide a link?

Patty_Melt's avatar

Of course, if you plan to visit the states, and want to meet some native descendants, go to any Oklahoma Walmart.
Many rest stop restaurants and gift shops in OK are native run.
NOTE, before buying “authentic” beadwork or carvings, look for the Made in China lable. Not so many natives make their wages from crafting these days.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Please don’t stare!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Doesn’t Oklahoma literally mean “red man?”

kritiper's avatar

When invited to a Indian’s house, you bring gifts: A carton of cigarettes, a bag of apples or oranges (some kind of fruit) and a bag of hard candy.
If you talk to a Indian male on the street, you offer him a cigarette, if you have one. It’s always good to make peace!

Dutchess_III's avatar

And the dirt is red, too.

How odd @kritiper!

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