Native American Sports | Encyclopedia.com
Popular Games. Despite the diversity of Native American cultures, some games were widespread. The rules of a game might vary, but several games were popular in large regions of the West. Native Americans occasionally incorporated games into religious ceremonies. Heavy betting was common with most games.
Lacrosse. The best known of Indian games is lacrosse. It was most common among the tribes of the Atlantic seaboard and around the Great Lakes, but it was also played in the South, on the plains, in California, and in the Pacific Northwest. It was played with a ball made either of wood or of buckskin, which was caught with curved rackets with a net on one end. The goal was usually marked with two poles although in some areas only one was used. In 1860 J. G. Kohl, a white traveler in Wisconsin, examined some lacrosse equipment. He admired the fine carving of crosses, circles, and stars on the white willow ball and praised lacrosse as “the finest and grandest” sport of the Indians. Although he was unable to see a game, he claimed that the Indians “often play village against village or tribe against tribe. Hundreds of players assemble, and the wares and goods offered as prizes often reach a value of a thousand dollars and more.”
Shinny. A kind of field hockey known as shinny was among the most popular Native American games. It was usually played by women, but sometimes, especially on the plains, might also be played by men. Among the Sauk, Foxes, and Assiniboine Indians, men and women played the game together, and among the Crows, teams of men played against teams of women. Native Americans in the East, on the plains, in the Southwest, and on the Pacific Coast played shinny. It was played with a ball or bag, often made of buckskin, which was hit with sticks curved at one end. The ball and sticks might be decorated with paint or beads. The length of the field varied from two hundred yards (among the Miwok Indians) to a mile or more (among the Navajos). The object of the game was to hit the ball through the opponent’s goal. The ball could be kicked or hit with the stick but not touched with the hands.
Snow-Snake. In regions of the West cold enough to have snow and ice in the winter, snow-snake was played. Its rules varied even more than those of lacrosse or shinny, but in general the game involved sliding darts or poles along snow or ice as far as possible. The projectile could be only a few inches long or might be a javelin up to ten feet long. The game was usually, but not always, played by men. Among the Crees, who played a variant of the game in which the dart had to pass through barriers of snow, only men played the game. Among the Arapahos, on the other hand, snow-snake might be played by adults or children but was most commonly played by girls.
Hoop and Pole. Hoop and pole was another widespread game with varying rules. In general a hoop was rolled along the ground while men tried to knock it over with spears or arrows. The hoop was usually relatively small, from three inches to a foot in diameter. The hoop might be open, but often the players stretched cords or a net across it. The hoop itself was often of wood but might be made of corn husks, stone, or iron. It was sometimes decorated with paint or beads. The score was determined by the way the hoop fell when hit by the pole. The game was most frequently played by two men although in some cases more participated.
Among the Apaches
In the 1860s Col. John C. Cremony described a Mescalero Apache game as follows:
There are some games to which women are never allowed access. Among these is one played with the poles and a hoop. The former are generally about 10 feet in length, smooth and gradually tapering like a lance. It is marked with divisions throughout its whole length, and these divisions are stained in different colors. The hoop is of wood, about 6 inches in diameter, and divided like the poles, of which each player has one. Only two persons can engage in this game at one time. A level place is selected, from which the grass is removed a foot in width, and for 25 or 30 feet in length, and the earth trodden down firmly and smoothly. One of the players rolls the hoop forward, and after it reaches a certain distance, both dart their poles after it, overtaking and throwing it down. The graduation of values is from the point of the pole toward the butt, which ranks highest, and the object is to make the hoop fall on the pole as near the butt as possible, at the same time noting the value of the part which touches the hoop. The two values are then added and placed to the credit of the player. The game usually runs up to a hundred, but the extent is arbitrary among the players. While it is going on no woman is permitted to approach within a hundred yards, and each person present is compelled to leave all his arms behind.
Source: Stewart Culin, Games of the North American Indians, volume 2, Games, of Skill, Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), pp. 449–450.
Stewart Culin, Games of the North American Indians, volume 2, Games of Skill, Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992).
Native American Games And SportsNative American ball games often involved hundreds of players
Native American Games
Native Americans played games as part of tribal ceremonies and also to teach skills to children through these games. Games were played ceremoniously to bring luck like rain, good harvests, drive away evil spirits, or just bring people together for a common purpose. Boys and girls played separately. Native Americans appreciated the skill, talent, and discipline. Girls learned about childcare while games for boys and were aimed at helping them learn about warfare and hunting. The games were either a game of chance or games of skill. Chance involved luck while skill games involved physical and mental abilities. At the end of the day, enjoyment was crucial so was learning. Winners were rewarded, and admired.
Lacrosse was and still is a famous game in America. Highly popular among the Native American games, lacrosse involved passing a ball using sticks with nets attached at the end. The game was popular that it could last from dusk to dawn. Apart from entertainment, the game was at times used to toughen young warriors and also settle disputes among tribes. The brutality of play could cause injury to the players.
The Bowl Game
Ring The Stick Game
The Butterfly Hide And Seek
The game was a very quite game played by little girls. A girl would close her eyes and sing “Butterfly, butterfly, show me where to go.” The rest would hide quickly but quietly. The singer then had to seek the others girls without another word. It was a game of skill, and the skilled girl could identify the hiding place by following the marks left by those in concealment.
The Moccasin Game
The Snow Snakes Game
Played in the winter when village men returned from the annual hunt, the snow snakes game . Village played against each other. It was a skill game and a team sport. Each player had a snake like curved wood. The playing teams would then pull a log through the snow to form a trough. The objective of the game was to throw your snake as fast and far as possible to win points for your team. The best score was the winner.
The Hand Game
Two teams played the game. One team passed around a small ball or bone quickly. The opposing team would try to guess who on the other team had the item. A correct guess was rewarded by earning a point. Then the game switched to the other team. It was a game of skill.
The Double Ball Game
It involved 2 or 3 opposing teams and the goals almost a mile apart. These games provided women with a chance to prove their strength and agility. From stick to stick the double ball was passed up to the goal post. Women and girls played the game. The strongest woman was admired and achieved high status.
The game involved throwing disk-shaped stones across the ground. A spear was thrown at the stones to attempt targeting the spear to land as near to the stopped stone as possible. The game involved many people in a huge arena. It was specifically designed to bring people together.
History of Native Americans in Sports
History of Native Americans
From lacrosse to the blanket toss, sports in Native tradition have evolved and endured. Whether the origin is survival or entertainment-based, sports have always played and continue to play an important role in Native American history. Canoeing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, relay races, tugs-of-war, ball games, and lacrosse, are just a few of the sports games early Native Americans played and still enjoy. The traditional game of lacrosse originated in the Iroquois Confederacy. Not only did lacrosse provide the means to challenge oneself physically (it was nicknamed “little brother of war”), it was also considered a gift from the Creator, played for various spiritual reasons, and used to heal the sick.
Perhaps the most famous American Indian athlete of all time is Jim Thorpe. In 1907, Thorpe persuaded legendary football coach Pop Warner to allow him to try out for the Carlisle “Indians” college football team. After starring for the team, he went onto stardom in numerous athletic endeavors including as an Olympic athlete and professional player in basketball, football, and baseball. The Carlisle Indian football team where Thorpe began his athletic career, had a winning percentage of 65% from 1893 until its final year in 1917, making it the most successful defunct major college football program of all time. Carlisle was a national football powerhouse regularly competing against other major programs including Ivy League schools. The Indians were consistently outsized by their competitors, and in turn, they relied on speed and guile to remain competitive. Carlisle’s playbook gave rise to many trick plays and other innovations such as the overhand spiral throw and fake handoff which are now commonplace in American football.
The Hominy Indians were an all-Indian professional American football team which played in the 1920s and 1930s. The team was based in Hominy, Oklahoma with players from 22 different tribes. They were named state champions in 1925, and in 1927 they defeated the NFL world champion New York Giants.
A more recent phenomenon in Indian country is the passionately followed Native American version of basketball called “reservation ball” or rez ball for short. Rez ball is a fast tempo, transition-based style of basketball that features quick shooting, and aggressive defense that looks to force turnovers through pressing and half-court traps. Many American Indians have gravitated to basketball as a means to get together and overcome strife often faced on reservations. Building upon the popularity of basketball in Indian Country, the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) was launched in 2003. The Arizona-based tournament has become the premier all-Native youth tournament in the world and was sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) in 2007.
UPDATE: Native North America; Sports and the Native Spirit
From lacrosse to the blanket toss, sports in native traditions have evolved and endured. Whether their origins are spiritual, survival, or entertainment based, sports have always played and continue to play an important role in Native American culture. In the past, sports activities were used to develop strength, agility, and coordination, skills that could help the people be effective providers and caretakers. Different versions of the hoop and pole game played by the Zuni, Hopi, Sioux, and Cheyenne demonstrate the role games played in skill development. A hoop with an inner web-like mesh is rolled along the ground. An attempt is made by the players-usually boys or men-to pierce it with a spear or an arrow shot from a bow. Thus, by playing the game, they sharpened their aim and hunting skills.
Another traditional game, lacrosse, originated in the Iroquois Confederacy Lacrosse sticks were made out of saplings and the balls were made of wood. There were sometimes hundreds of players to a team, and the field of play often extended for miles. The objective of the game was the same as it is today: to get your ball in the opponent’s goal. Not only did lacrosse provide a means to challenge oneself physically-it was nicknamed the “little brother of war”-it was also considered a gift from the Creator, played for various spiritual reasons, and used to heal the sick.
Various ceremonial rituals such as abstinence and special dieting went along with lacrosse and its variations. The Cherokee did not eat certain foods such as the meat of the timid rabbit, the meat of the weak-boned frog, or the meat of other slow-moving animals. Lacrosse has evolved over time, as have the ceremonial rituals that go along with the game. Now, some Iroquois players do not allow a woman to touch their lacrosse stick. Perhaps it is because women are believed to have a power that men do not have, or perhaps the stick is sacred; whatever the reason, there remains a strong spiritual aspect to the game of lacrosse.
Aluminum sticks, synthetic balls, and official rules now govern the game. There is a professional indoor lacrosse league (composed of natives and non-natives), and the Iroquois National team is composed of representatives from all six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. This team has played in World Cup games against other nations such as the United States and Japan. The existence of the Iroquois National team is just one example of a modem day initiative to retain traditional sports and games as part of the culture of native people.
In 1994, the Native American Sports Council (NASC) was formed to establish youth sports programs that promote “wellness” in Native American communities and to identify and support promising athletes who have the chance to compete internationally This organization was formally welcomed into the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) during a ceremony in November, 1994. Previously, Natives were so marginalized in international sports, the idea was entertained to have Native America compete as a separate nation from the U.S. Since becoming a part of the USOC, promising native athletes are allowed to train at the Olympic centers in Colorado Springs, Lake Placid, and San Diego. Also, the NASC will gain a seat on the USOC’s Board of Directors and have access to their wealth of knowledge in marketing and fund-raising. The committee provides living stipends, plane tickets, and occasionally, necessary equipment to native athletes who are in need of support to realize their dreams.
North American Indigenous Games
In addition to the formal arrival of Native America on the Olympic scene, natives have been participating in an “Olympics” of their own. The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) began in 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta with 3,000 athletes in attendance. The Games have since been held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan in 1993, and in Blaine, Minnesota in 1995. The games are held every two years and the number of athletes has grown to 8,000 with nearly an equal number of volunteers. Tribes organize by state, province, or territory and enter the Games together as a team. NAIG are governed by a council consisting of 13 mandated representatives from Canada and 13 representatives from the U.S. The Council is responsible for establishing the philosophy, objectives, and rules of the Games; policies and procedures to guide the preparation and staging of the Games; ensuring that the Games play an important role in Aboriginal sports development; and determining the site of future Games.
The 1995 Indigenous Games were an event of a lifetime for Narragansett tribal member and member of Team Connecticut, Teah Hopkins. “The Games were something we could call our own. Native Americans of all ages were competing, not just against each other, but for themselves, and everyone was on an equal level. When we walked in together during the opening ceremonies, I couldn’t believe how many natives were there. There were thousands of people! There was a great sense of family belonging, everyone would just go up to each other and introduce themselves with such openness and familiarity. You could definitely feel that people were taking with them a renewed spirit and an increased sense of pride from participating in the Games.”
The 1997 Games will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, August 3-10. It will be the largest indigenous Games in North America with teams representing the provinces, states, and territories of the United States and Canada. Support for the Indigenous Games 1997, with a budget of $4.4 million, comes from the Canadian Government, the Province of British Columbia, and corporate partnerships. Aside from the athletic competition, the indigenous Games will celebrate the survival of the many native cultures participating in the games.
The Sacred Run will take place with participants carrying the Sacred Bundle (prepared in consultation with tribal elders) from the past sites of the Games to this year’s site in Victoria. The run and transport of this bundle are an integral part of the Indigenous Games and represent the strong link between all native peoples. There will also be a colorful parade of athletes and Nations at the Opening Ceremonies. The Sacred Bundle and Sacred Lance will officially be presented. Also incorporated in the Opening Ceremonies will be a presentation of sports that demonstrate and reinforce the sacredness of the number four (four cardinal directions) in the traditional Native way of life. The First Nations Cultural Village, a focal point of the games, includes an arts and crafts area with hundreds of vendors and artists. An outdoor amphitheater will house daily entertainment and other events for the thousands of spectators.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the 1997 Indigenous Games will be the sea-faring journey of hundreds of canoes that will travel to victoria from all parts of the North American coast. They will be welcomed in Victoria’s inner harbor in a re-creation of a Coast Salish tradition whereby warriors will be sent into the inner harbor in giant cedar canoes to greet the visiting indigenous nations and escort them to shore. Although this ceremony will conjure up images of the beauty to be held at these Games, the most noteworthy aspect will be what they represent. The Games will be a celebration indigenous people, life, culture, and history making a statement of strength, courage, and survival. With the will of the Creator, native people will continue to gather in such celebrations forever.
Article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc.
Games – Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center
Thousands of games were played by Native Americans across the United States and some continue to be played today Most games can be divided into two categories: 1) games of dexterity, and 2) games of chance.
Games of dexterity usually involved some type of physical skill while games of chance sometimes included “dice-like” objects or are games with a component centered around guessing. The games highlighted in this section of the web site were played by Native Americans in this region and also by tribes from the plains.
Games of Dexterity
Games in this category involve the physical skill of the player(s). Skilled hand-eye coordination is reflected in games, such as archery, chunkey, and snow snake, which require shooting/throwing at a moving or stationary target. Good hand-eye coordination is also required for games such as ring and pin toss. Other games, such as the complicated ball games of lacrosse and double ball, require dexterity and stamina.
ArcheryUnknown boys playing with bows and arrows
(Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Crows, Oglala & Teton Dakotas, Iowa, Omaha and Pawnee)
Archery involves shooting a target with a bow and arrow. As young boys played games with bows and arrows they developed technical skills that they would use as adult hunters.
(Ho-Chunk, Hidatsa, and Mandan)
In this game a chunkey stone was rolled over the ground or ice while several players threw spears in an attempt to indicate where the stone would stop rolling. The closest to the final location of the stone, without actually hitting the stone, was the winner. The chunkey stone is the only specifically recognized game piece that has been recovered from archaeological sites in the La Crosse area.
Double BallReplica double ball game pieces
(Ojibwa, Menominee, Cheyenne, Cree, Sauk & Foxes, Omaha, Santee Dakota, and Pawnee)
Double ball was a woman’s game resembling Lacrosse, that involved tossing, catching and swift running. The players used curved sticks and a double ball, which consisted of two small oblong deerskin bags joined together by a deerskin thong. The object of the game was to get the ball over the opponent’s goal.
Green Cloud holding a lacrosse stick, unknown woman and child
(Ho-Chunk, Ojibwa, Sauk & Foxes, and Shawnee)
The stick and ball games of the woodland people known as Lacrosse is a very old game. The ancient cities of Mesoamerica where already playing ball games symbolizing the movements of celestial bodies. This traditional sport moved north along trade routes, along with its religious philosophies of the universe and creation and were acculturalated into existing woodland culture. The original unlimited number of players and lack of boundaries represented the infinite number of stars in the night sky. The game of Lacrosse for Native woodland people is as ancient as creation itself.
Even today one can recognize the prehistoric religious symbolism of Lacrosse and its twin, the “little brother of war” (war club) at Wisconsin effigy mound sites. The panther and linear mounds and their associated conical mound reflects this religious symbolism of events in the celestial sky above. Thus Lacrosse is known by native people as the “game of creation”.
Lacrosse served woodland people both religiously and as a practical cultural teaching. It trained men for war, provided a neutral field for cultural exchange and trade, created political alliances and settled disputes. Lacrosse also helped to reinforce religious beliefs and tribal cohesion. This native ball game was the cultural fabric that provided woodland people a stable society in which to live.
Today lacrosse is played locally, at colleges and internationally. In today’s military, the U.S. special forces have found that Lacrosse players have the highest graduation success into this American elite warrior society. Under the guidance of Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation, the Iroquois National Lacrosse team is the only Native American sports team that competes on the international level.
Lacrosse description written by Jay Toth.
Ring and PinReplica of ring and pin
(Ho-Chunk, Sauk & Foxes, Ojibwa, Cree, Cheyenne, Oglala & Teton Dakotas)
This game required good hand-eye coordination. A ring was attached to a thong or cord which was then attached to a pin. The ring was swung in the air with an attempt to catch it on the pin. Woman and girls typically played this game. A similar European game is the cup and ball toss.
Snow SnakeIllustration of snow-snakes
(Ojibwa, Crows, Dakotas [Oglala, Tenton & Yankton], Hidatsa, Sauk & Foxes, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Cree)
The Winter Game of Snow Snake
The “snow-snake” is a long slender, polished wooded stick that ranges from 3-9 feet in length. It is an ancient game modified from the atlatl. The head of the snow-snake is tipped with lead and shaped like a bird or snake head. The goal is to out distance your competitors with your throw of the stick. There is a notch at the tip which the forefinger is placed and the throw is made under-hand. Great pride is taken on using various and interesting wood making them individually unique. The snow-snakes are religiously anointed and given names which are inscribed just below the head. There are many secret ointments such as tallow, wax, oils and gums which help in adding distance in different snow conditions. The track is laid out by dragging a log creating a small ditch over a quarter mile. When the snow-snake is thrown and glides down the snow trough, it shimmies and gives the appearance of a snake movement. There are several umpires that monitor the game. The male players and spectators make wagers on the players and their snow-snake. The national snow-snake competition is held every winter at Six Nations in Canada.
Snow Snake description written by Jay Toth.
Games of Chance
Games of chance can be divided into two types, those involving guessing and those using a type of dice that are thrown to obtain a random score. Guessing games consisted of either hiding an object or guessing numbers. Games of chance use dice displaying a variety of decorations and made from materials such as bone, walnut shells, peach and plum stones, grains of corn, shell, and pottery disks. Score was usually kept with sticks or twigs. Over 130 tribes were ethnographically recorded during the 1800’s as having played dice games. Both men and women participated in guessing games and games of chance, however not together.
Moccasin GameMoccasin game with Jim Eagle, David Hill, Jim DohoHok, Frank Ro and Frank Eagle Smith
Unknown men playing the moccasin game
(Ojibwa, Iowa, Shawnee, Cree, Sauk & Foxes, Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Omaha, Oglala & Yankton Dakotas)
This game, sometimes called the hidden ball game, was played by two groups of men. The players sat opposite each other on a blanket. Four moccasins were placed in a row between the two groups. One of the groups watched as a token or ball was hidden under one of the moccasins by the other group. The players made pretenses of hiding and removing the token in an effort to make it more difficult to discover the actual location of the token. The group watching then guessed under which moccasin the token had been hidden. The Ojibwa, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee used a “striking stick” to turn over the moccasin where they thought the token was hidden. If the player guessed the correct shoe, four points were scored while four points were subtracted if the wrong shoe was picked. Sticks were used to keep track of the score.
Plum Stone GameReplicas of plum stone game pieces
Replica of dice
(Omaha and the Hidatsa, BrulÁ, Santee, Oglala, Teton, Wahpeton, Sisseton, Yankton, and Mandan of the Dakotas)
(Dice games were played by Ojibwa, Blackfeet, Pawnee, Sauk & Foxes, Cheyenne, Cree, Crows, Menominee, Illinois, and Iowa)
This type of dice game was played by a variety of tribes. The game was usually played by women in pairs. The game materials consisted of five plum stones with markings to indicate point value, a bowl or basket and 100 sticks or twigs for counting. The object of the game was to win the most points out of the 100.
The game started when players lightly tossed the stones upward using the bowl. The toss was light enough to move all the stones but not violent enough to make them fall out of the bowl. Any stones that did fall outside the bowl did not count. The player continued to toss the stones until no points were earned, then the next person took her turn.
Stick GamesIllustration stick game pieces
(Ojibwa, Cree, Sauk & Foxes, Teton Dakota, and Omaha)
One type of guessing game used small wooden sticks that were carved or painted with bands of color. The number of sticks varied from ten to more than a hundred and were divided into two bundles. The object was to guess the location of an oddly carved or painted stick. Another version would have involved guessing which bundle of sticks had more than the other.
- Culin, Stewart
1992 Games of the North American Indians. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
- Fletcher, Alice C.
1994 Indian games and dances with native songs: arranged from American Indian ceremonials and sports. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.
- Gabriel, Kathryn
1996 Gambler way: Indian gaming in mythology, history, and archaeology in North America. Johnson Books, Boulder, CO.
The Native American Games web page would not be possible without the assistance of the Ho Chunk Department of Heritage Preservation and funding from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Diversity 2008 grant. Archival images are used with permission from the Ho Chunk Department of Heritage Preservation.
SPORTS WERE ESSENTIAL TO THE LIFE OF THE EARLY NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN – Sports Illustrated Vault
TABLE OF CONTENTS
There may never have been and may never again be a culture in which sports so obsessed individuals and communities, produced so many sports nuts, both participants and spectators, as that of the American Indian, a fact that, among others, scandalized early white explorers.
When the Baptist minister David Jones arrived in the Shawnee lands in 1772, he was ill and weak from hunger. He admitted grudgingly that he ate well among the Indians, but he was otherwise generally outraged by the Shawnee culture. Among other signs of their savagery he noted that they had no jails, no proper laws nor government. But what seemed to aggravate the Reverend Jones most was the uncivilized frivolity of these people. “It appears as if some kind of drollery was their chief study,” he wrote indignantly. “The cares of this life, which are such an enemy to us, seem not to have yet entered their mind.” These merry people were forever singing, dancing and playing games.
Time and again early white observers would make the same essential point: It was the infernal, incessant playfulness of these people that made them so weird. Whites looked at North America as a howling wilderness that had to be quickly and drastically improved if its potential wealth was to be developed. Indians saw it as wealth in place, a providentially created storehouse. Food, shelter and clothing did not, of course, fall on the Indians from the sky. They had to work in their fashion to get what they wanted, but generally they did not have to labor in the imperative, unremitting way the whites did. In consequence they had a lot more disposable time on their hands.
A few more advanced white thinkers (Benjamin Franklin for one) found there were certain admirable aspects to the Indian ways. For example, it was occasionally noted that most Indians lived as only the richest and most powerful whites did, which is to say, in pursuit of their pleasures. However, the mainstream view was that the native Americans were lazy louts whose idleness was an affront to the laws of man and God.
Indians seem to have held equally low opinions about the whites. They found them to be a grim, joyless, heaving and grunting lot with not much more style or gaiety about them than mud turtles. The bottom line was that white societies were organized to produce work and wealth, and Indian ones to provide leisure and freedom—that is, to allow individuals to do whatever they damn well pleased most of the time.
Along with singing, dancing, theatrics and cracking jokes, red people also enjoyed group storytelling sessions and playing the equivalents of cards and craps. But perhaps more than anything else they liked competitive athletics.
Virtually all the surviving first-hand accounts of early Indian athletics were produced by male Europeans. In consequence there is a strong suspicion that sports reporting from this period, while fairly voluminous, was of very low quality. The whites did not understand what they were seeing well enough to give play-by-play accounts of great games or 10 describe the feats of superstar performers. It is as if 200 years from now, the only information extant about the Boston Celtics or Walter Payton was to be found in letters written home by a Pakistani field-hockey player who had toured the U.S. for a few months.
Also, the Europeans came from a culture that had long been fallow as far as sports went. This down period lasted from approximately the end of the medieval jousting and falconry crazes to the multisport mania of the 20th century. I here was not much in the way of popular sports because: 1) the common man was working so hard; and 2) the authorities thought playfulness was a sign of weak character. Thus whites in pre-Revolutionary America who watched Indians at play did not, on principle, like what they saw. Writers tended to decry these exercises as wasteful and childish.
However, when all the moralizing is deleted, there remains enough substance in some of these accounts to suggest that the red world of sport was a wonderful one. There was an assortment of grassroots games, the rough equivalents of neighborhood bowling or playground basketball. These were essentially pastimes, and while competition might have been hot, they did not require the skill and were not so significant as the high sports, of which more shortly.
All the Indian nations had some sort of throwing games of the duck-on-the-rock, darts or quoits type. In the frost belt, snow snakes—sliding spears over drifts of ice for distance and accuracy—was popular. The Iroquois of northern New York and Pennsylvania developed a complicated version of this in which trenches were dug down hillsides and then iced with water. Miniature 15-inch canoes carved of hardwood were sent down these runs to see how far they would slide into the flats below. Preparing, playing, watching and gambling on snow-boat contests apparently whiled away many cold dark hours for the Iroquois.
It should be noted that all over the continent Indians were inveterate gamblers, betting on all sporting events, even the most casual ones. Having no legal tender, they wagered tools, weapons, crops, food and, particularly, their clothing. There is a considerable body of literature consisting of shocked reports by whites about Indian losers walking away naked from gambling frolics.
Europeans, particularly upper-class ones, were no strangers to gambling, but even among those who could afford it there was a pervasive sense that this was a bad habit. What bothered white observers (an inordinate number of whom were divines) about Indian betting was that everybody did it shamelessly. They apparently thought of gambling as a principal and natural human pleasure.
Like all sporting peoples, the native North Americans crafted balls—of leather, woven fiber and wood—and found many interesting things to do with them. When Englishmen arrived in Virginia they found the natives playing soccer. Elsewhere there were various forms of competitive dodgeball. The Zunis and other Southwestern nations had a netless tennis or badminton game in which feathered balls were kept aloft as long as possible with wooden rackets. Nearly everywhere there was a kind of field hockey. In the Great Plains, after the arrival of the horse, this, evolved into a wild form of polo. Among the Crow, players could dismount and pursue the ball on foot. While most Indian sports were sexually segregated, Crow polo was coed, and it was thought that lighter, more agile women were often the superior players. This was certainly the case in one game for which something like a play-by-play report survives. One woman leaped off her horse and began to stickhandle the ball. She got away from two defenders who grabbed her by the belt by simply unbuckling it. As she drove toward the goal, she stopped and raised her hands at the goal mouth and let out a menacing growl, mimicking a grizzly bear. This shattered the goalie’s concentration, and the woman then scored the goal.
Some nations took such diversions more seriously than others, but all of them had a few they regarded as high sport—socially and theologically as well as athletically. Among North Americans it was widely assumed that many beings of the pantheistic spirit world were keen sports fans. Victory, many strategists thought, depended on getting support from benign immortals. Important sporting events tested not only physical skills but the piety of participants. While in our times an occasional chaplain may appear in a locker room, most coaches and managers then were also priests and shamans.
Foot racing was treated as a very high sport by Indians. Since their success as hunters and warriors so depended on their fleetness and endurance, they inevitably devised ways to exhibit these qualities in a formal way. Before major races, important runners and their entourages would withdraw from the community to prepare—sometimes for many weeks. Apparently metaphysical rather than physical conditioning was emphasized. Runners in training variously prayed, fasted and dieted. In regard to diet, some felt that bad qualities could be transferred by the wrong food, while the good properties of certain animals were passed on to those who ate them in the right way and at the right time. Thus deer and eagle were sometimes served at training tables, while turtle was taboo. Peyote was occasionally prescribed as a means of giving competitive advantage.
Spiritual advisers massaged their athletes and oiled and bathed them with secret preparations. Sometimes these handlers also attempted to sabotage the well-being of an opposing runner. Among the Tarahumara of the Southwest a favorite trick of sporting shamans was to roll a large cigar of tobacco, dehydrated turtle and bat blood. According to Dr. Carl Lumholtz, a 19th-century anthropologist/explorer, if the shaman was successful in blowing smoke from this doped stogie into an opponent’s face the man’s running would be slowed.
How good Indian runners were compared with modern ones is now impossible to determine, because their societies had neither the technology nor inclination to keep our kinds of records. However, there are some thought-provoking, if imprecise, reports that suggest that there were some formidable fliers. A Quaker missionary, James Emlen, reported that in 1794 an Iroquois courier named Sharp Shins did 90 miles across the rough hills of western New York in the hours between sunrise and sunset. During a war between Indians and settlers, white officers swore they knew a Mohave who had run nearly 200 miles through terrible heat in less than 24 hours. Also, a Pawnee ran 120 miles in 24 hours and a day later returned the same distance in 20 hours, according to American officers at Fort Sill, Okla.
As far as formal racing goes, there are at least two instances when Europeans with timepieces saw what they considered to be phenomenal performances. Anthropologist Lumholtz spent considerable time with the Tarahumara, a nation of still-famous runners who habitually ran down deer for the feast. In 1892 Lumholtz calculated the winning time in a race he watched as 2:00:21 over a 21-mile course. This might not be a record for a contemporary marathoner, but the Tarahumara were required to kick a ball, soccer style, as they ran.
In 1877 Luther North, the white commander of a troop of Pawnee scouts employed in the wars against the Sioux and Cheyenne, took the best runner in his unit, a 23-year-old named Big Hawk Chief, to a measured half-mile track at Fort Sidney, Neb. There, timed by a stopwatch, the Pawnee turned in a 3:58 mile with splits of 2:00 and 1:58. Modern track buffs tend to be irritated by this report on the ground that everyone knows Roger Bannister was the first human to break the four-minute-mile barrier. What we actually know, of course, is that Bannister was the first to be so certified according to our present record-keeping system. Simple logic and evolutionary biology suggest that there are no imperative reasons why Big Hawk Chief could not have run as fast as North said he did.
Besides running, another popular high sport was variously called the wheel or hoop game. The basic equipment for this contest consisted of a throwing spear and a disk of stone, wood or stiffened leather. The disk was set with spokes and had holes carved in it or sections marked off like those of a dart board. It was rolled down a field, and the contestants threw spears at it. Scoring was complex: Points were awarded for hitting or passing through certain areas of the rolling target as well as for near misses. There is now no sport with which it can be compared, and unfortunately, the Europeans who saw it played were not able to describe the subtleties of the wheel game.
Among almost all of the nations of North America (for reasons of climate, terrain or culture, it never caught on in the Southwest), an extremely swift contact sport was so popular that in most languages it was simply called The Ball Game. It is now easier for us to understand than wheels and spears because—alone among the great endemic Indian contests—it was taken up by whites. A watered-down version of it still survives as lacrosse.
There were many versions of the basic ball game. Some tribes’ teams were comprised of 6, 9 or 12 men, and they played on fields of agreed-upon lengths: 200 to 500 yards. The Ottawas, Ojibways and other peoples of the Great Lakes regions favored free-form melees, with as many as 200 men on a side who pursued the ball over hundreds of unbounded acres.
Among the Cherokee the major league ball season commenced after the corn was planted and continued till harvesttime. Spring training usually began as soon as the snow and ice of winter were gone and, in some places, involved physical drills and stickhandling exercises. However, as with running, ceremonial conditioning and careful dieting were more important. Commonly, the rabbit, because of its timidity, and frogs, whose bones are notoriously brittle, were not eaten. Among the Cherokee and other serious ball gamers, players were not permitted to touch a woman carnally, or even casually, for at least seven days before a big contest—in the belief that sexual contact would make them sluggish. Prior to a major event, pep rallies were staged at night by communities or clans. The sites for these affairs were kept secret until the last minute for fear that rival managers might visit and hex them. Female cheerleaders, careful to avoid physical contact with the athletes, sang and danced on these occasions. Some of the fight songs were suggestive—the young women commenting on the celibate state of the men and promising explicit post-game delights, at least for winners.
In the morning everybody in the community trooped off to the field. As final preparation, trainers whipped the athletes with thorny bushes until they bled. This was done for the same reason that modern football players sometimes beat on each other before a game. The idea was to get the adrenaline flowing.
The two teams were brought together by a respected elder called the Ball Witch. He discussed local ground rules—presumably advising the teams to play hard but clean—and then, calling (at least among the Cherokee) “Now for the 12,” threw out the ball.
Ball games seem to have been short on team strategy and long on ferocious, hand-to-hand duels. Everybody was a gunner, and organized defense was minimal. Around the ball almost everything was permitted—bashing with sticks, choking, slugging, tripping, clipping.
Among the Cherokee the first team to score 12 goals won. This might be done in an hour or so or take all day. In nations with different scoring systems, ball games would continue for several days. There were substitutions only for injuries, and it was considered unmanly for a player who could still stand to leave the field. Body counts were high, and in most communities there were veterans who had been permanently crippled or disfigured in ball games. They bore their infirmities as badges of honor, comparable with Prussian dueling scars. In one contest between two Creek town teams in 1879, “one player was killed on the playing field, three died later on the sidelines, and fifteen were as long as a month in recovering,” according to W.O. Tuggle, who witnessed the game.
The Cherokee spoke of The Ball Game as “the little brother of war.” In fact, tribes across the country conducted war as if it were the greatest of all sports. The Ball Game might be the ultimate domestic contest, but when tribes wanted full-tilt international competition they went to war.
Among themselves Indian wars were generally brief affairs, often arranged by advance negotiations and conducted on a seasonal basis, generally in the period between the end of harvest and the beginning of winter hunting. After extensive ceremonial preparations (quite similar to those that preceded important games or races), war parties set off. When they met, the engagements involved sporting rushes and stratagems, often culminating in gaudy mano-a-mano duels. By mutual agreement they were halted when darkness fell. After a few weeks everybody ran out of food or grew tired and went home to spend the winter. They were like so many Hot Stove League buffs. Winners naturally bragged about their great moves and coups, displaying newly acquired scalps to their admiring fans. Living losers comforted themselves by reminding one another that there was always next season.
Quite simply, native North Americans regarded war as a satisfying competitive activity. In time, the whites taught the reds that war was a grim, earnest exercise, not a glorious, sporadic sport. For basic reasons of survival the red warrior-athletes had to adapt to that view. They did so quickly and brilliantly.
During the forest campaigns (circa 1750-1815) the red nations won victory after victory, regularly drubbing first British and then American militiamen and regular troops. The current consensus is that when the numbers were anywhere near equal, the Indians never lost. In the end they were beaten because they were too few and had too few resources. In retrospect, the historical wonder is not that they were beaten, but that it took the whites so long to do it. The most obvious explanation is that for centuries Indians had been so passionately engaged by ferocious games and playful wars that they were better trained and more skillful in the martial arts than were the whites. To paraphrase the familiar aphorism: The battles of the Forest Wars were won on the playing fields of the Cherokee, Iroquois, Shawnee and other Indian nations.
COURTESY OF W. GRAHAM ARADER III/N.Y./LITHOGRAPHS BY GEORGE CATLIN
“Game of the Arrow” by George Catlin (1845) depicts the Mandan tribe at play.
COURTESY OF W. GRAHAM ARADER III/N.Y./LITHOGRAPHS BY GEORGE CATLIN
Early lacrosse games were violent affairs that often involved hundreds of players.
COURTESY OF W. GRAHAM ARADER III/N.Y./LITHOGRAPHS BY GEORGE CATLIN
Indian uniforms consisted of painted bodies and traditional costumes.
Native American Entertainment – History for kids
Native American Entertainment
Native Americans enjoyed sports and games just like everyone else. They spent a lot of their time growing crops and hunting, but they enjoyed their free time. We know, from accounts of Europeans, that Native Americans played a variety of games. They also enjoyed music, and entertained themselves with a number of different instruments.
Virtually all native tribes played a kind of stickball. Some tribes even included a stickball field into their villages. They used a small ball, roughly the size of a tennis ball. The ball was tossed into the air, and then numerous players chased it and attempted to hit it with sticks. Even women played this game, and some histories record how rough the female players were. A stickball game could become very large, with dozens or even hundreds of people playing. Sometimes people even bet on the outcome of the game!
Many tribes played a kind of handgame. This involved two players hiding bones or sticks under their hands, shifting them back and forth. The other team has to guess where the bones and sticks are. This game was not only played for fun. Apparently the game was used to gain land, horses, or cattle. It may have even been used to get a wife!
Whatever games Native Americans played, it seems that entire villages participated. They were not strictly for children. Even elderly family members played games. It also appears that betting on games was commonplace.
Music was also widely played for entertainment. European accounts of their encounters with Native Americans often describe enthusiastic music-playing. Drums were widely used as were rattles. Rattles were often made of dried gourds, then filled with things like small rocks or seeds to make noise. Native Americans also made rattles to wear on the body. These were made by stringing shells or animal hooves onto a cord, which would then be worn around the ankle or wrist.
Wind instruments, such as whistles, were also widely played by Native Americans. These were often made from wood, reeds, or hollowed bones. Archaeologists have found many carvings and cave drawings of people playing flute-like instruments. This tells us that it was a popular instrument for Native Americans.
Things to Remember:
- Native Americans enjoyed their free time, playing games and musical instruments.
- Games often involved all members of a village, even the elderly!
1. The United States is now home to about five million Indians, or about 1.6 percent of the country’s population. Most of the Indians are in the states of California (about 740 thousand), Oklahoma (415 thousand) and Arizona (366 thousand). Los Angeles is the city with the largest Native American population.
2. The Declaration of Independence of the United States contains an extensive list of claims of American colonists against the King of Great Britain. One of them says that the king “tried to incite the ruthless Indian savages on the inhabitants of our border lands, whose recognized rules of war boil down to the destruction of people, regardless of age, gender and marital status.”
3. Indians – the indigenous inhabitants of the American continent. However, they received the rights of US citizenship only in 1924, when President Calvin Coolidge signed the corresponding law.
4. According to US law, an Indian can be considered a person who has proven that one of his grandfathers or one of the grandmothers was the native inhabitants of America, whose tribe lived in the modern territory of the United States.
5. Today in the United States there are 565 Indian tribes officially recognized by the federal authorities.For official recognition, in particular, it is required to prove that this tribe independently existed before the first contact with “non-Indian peoples” (meaning Europeans and descendants of Europeans), that the tribe retained the structure and tradition of transferring power, has a written constitution, and modern Indians have a genetic link with people who were part of this tribe before the first contact with white people (this requires scientific research), etc.
Federal recognition of tribal status is important: such a tribe has a special relationship with the US government, meaning that all contact is made exclusively at the government level. For their designation in official correspondence, the term “sovereign nation” is used. In addition, tribes that prove that their (or their ancestors’) property was requisitioned by agents of the US authorities receive federal subsidies and grants. The US government recognizes the rights of these tribes to self-rule, self-determination, and upholds their sovereignty.
Sovereign nations have the right to form their own government, to adopt and enforce laws (state laws do not apply in them), to establish taxes, to assign tribal status, to license and regulate almost all types of activities, etc.Tribal courts and law enforcement are active on most reservations. Legally, Indian reservations have practically the same rights as the states of the United States. Just like the states, they cannot enter into official relations with other states, wage war and mint coins.
6. The largest Indian tribes are now: Cherokee (about 310 thousand), Navajo (about 280 thousand), Sioux (respectively, 115) and Chippewa (113).
7. Indian tribes now control about 2 percent of the territory of the United States: reservations have been formed on these lands.Some reservations are as small as 1 acre (4 square kilometers), with the Navajo having the largest reservation, equal to West Virginia. More than a third of US Indians now live on reservations (a third of them are located in Alaska).
8. The average age of an Indian is 29.7 years, which is noticeably less than the age of the average American (36.8 years). Indian families have more children than the US average. At the same time, 66 percent of Americans and only 55 percent of Indians are residential property owners.Indian houses are much cheaper than the national average (129.8 thousand versus 185.2 thousand). In 2009, 23.6 percent of Indians lived below the poverty line. The national average, this figure was 14.3 percent.
Although Native Americans enjoy significant college admission benefits and are generally free of charge, Native American education is extremely low. 28 percent of Americans have a college degree, compared with only 16 percent for Indians.
According to many years of statistics from the US Department of Justice, American Indians are twice as likely as the rest of the United States to become victims of violent crime. There are many more alcohol and tobacco abusers among Indians than in the United States as a whole.
9. Approximately 21 percent of Indians speak at home not only in English (in the United States as a whole – “the country of emigrants”) this figure is 20 percent. Today, there are 139 Indian languages in the United States, but more than half of them are endangered.72 percent of American Indians do not speak any language other than English (2008 data).
10. Freedom of religion in the United States is stipulated in the Constitution. Only with respect to the Indians, a special law has been adopted, which allows them to freely practice their religious cults. The fact is that eagle feathers are required to perform most of the rituals, but eagle hunting is prohibited in the United States. An exception is made for Indians: only tribal members can purchase eagle feathers, but they are prohibited from selling or transferring them to non-Indians.
11. The term “redskin” originated among the British colonists who settled in New England. They were adjacent to the Beofax tribe (now it does not exist), whose warriors painted their bodies with ocher. Subsequently, the word “red-skinned” acquired a racial connotation, separating the Indians from the Europeans, Africans and Asians. In 1992, a group of American Indians petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office to ban the use of the word “redhead” in the names of firms, sports teams, trademarks, etc.since the Red Indians should have the exclusive right to use this term. The appeal was rejected due to the fact that the term “red-skinned” could not be legally formulated.
12. In 2004, the National Museum of the American Indian was opened in downtown Washington. Its building was designed by Indian architects.
13. In 2005, the Massachusetts House of Representatives repealed the 330-year-old law. This law prohibited the Indians from visiting the city of Boston.
USA news read here90,000 Native American hopelessness. How Indians get along with whites
Native American hopelessness. How Indians get along with whites
Native American hopelessness. How Indians get along with whites
Their own government, special passports, even their own currency – the representatives of the indigenous population of America have the widest rights and all kinds of benefits, but … RIA Novosti, 14.05.2020
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MOSCOW, July 2 – RIA Novosti, Ksenia Melnikova. Their own government, special passports, even their own currency – the representatives of the indigenous population of America have the widest rights and all kinds of benefits, but the Indians still strive for complete independence.Despite huge compensation from Washington, their quality of life is not improving. In addition, they continue to drink too much and drug addiction is spreading among them more and more. A celebration of light “We are so happy that we have finally got a light at home, it’s just a holiday of some kind. Almost 15 years have gone without electricity”, – says RIA Novosti Neda Billy, 40, of the Navajo tribe, lives in Dilcon, Arizona. In a small hogan, a traditional one-room Navajo dwelling, the whole family huddles: Neda, her husband and five children.According to her, many of the reservations do not have electricity, and often there is no running water – water is carried in buckets from a well. This is confirmed by researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, indicating that “over a quarter of the indigenous people of the American continent have problems with electricity, live without the Internet and drinking water. “The problem is that half of the tribe is out of work, and it is expensive to provide a house with utilities. Electricity alone will cost $ 40,000.Moreover, local residents prefer to remain silent about the difficulties, not confiding in journalists, especially foreign ones. Navajo Indian Manli Begai – junior – is an exception to the rule. The pride of the tribe, one of the few who managed to get higher education and break out into the people. Lecturer at Northern Arizona University. He admits that he is scared by the conditions in which people live on reservations. “Once I passed a parking lot near the institute. So, Indian students were doing their homework right in the old car, turned on the light and wrote something.Then I found out that they have neither computers nor the Internet, “says Manley. Although, he adds, the American authorities allocate good funds to support the indigenous population of the continent. About half a million Native Americans live in California. Indians were recognized as citizens of the country only in 1924 – a special law was passed for this purpose. A little earlier, Congress approved the General Act of Distribution.The lands that belonged to the Native Americans were divided – some were left to the Indians, the rest was bought by the authorities – as a result, the Indians lost two-thirds of the communal lands. However, they were given the broadest rights that other minorities do not even dream of: they can pass laws and form their own government, they have serious tax benefits. In fact, the reservation is a state within a state. Indians were allowed to trade alcohol and tobacco products without excise taxes and to open casinos (in other regions, such a business is prohibited). 65 percent of the tribes own gambling houses, but only ten percent of them receive sufficient income to distribute it among all members of the tribe. Despite their already semi-autonomous existence, the Indians are distancing themselves as much as possible from Washington, declaring sovereignty. So, the Navajo proclaimed the quasi-state of the Navajo Nation with a parliament, government and its own police. The Lakota tribe also announced the formation of an Indian state in Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, North, South Dakota and introduced its own currency – Mazakoin (“iron coin”).Indians believe that someday their currency will overtake the dollar. The authorities turn a blind eye to this, making various concessions and trying to avoid conflicts. However, the Indians with whom RIA Novosti managed to talk, believe that indulgences only further corrupt the aborigines, and casinos and “fire water” are completely alien to the local culture. Due to lack of education and resentment, many drink too much. Drug addiction is spreading – all new rehabilitation centers have to be opened on the reservations.The money allocated by Washington is not enough, and the tribes go to court, demanding another multimillion-dollar subsidies. One of the complaints is that the locals are sure that the government pays them only a fraction of the minerals extracted from the subsoil belonging to the Indians. We are talking about gas, oil, uranium and coal. There are hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the reservations – Indians complain of an increase in the number of cancers. Tribes often win the courts, receiving large sums of money from the budget. And they continue to live extremely poorly.Adoption as a Way of Assimilation To help Indian children escape poverty, they are adopted by white Americans. The RIA Novosti correspondent spoke with a 55-year-old woman from San Jose, California, who at one time was taken into the family. She asked me to call her Jennifer. “As a Native American (we don’t like being called Indians), I was adopted as a baby – at a year and four months. I really love my Lakota Sioux people, but if I stayed on the reservation, obviously would not have been able to get two higher educations and find a high-paying job in one of the leading American engineering companies, “says Jennifer.Oftentimes, Native Americans are struggling with parenting, she continues. “I am very proud to be from an Indian tribe. But I cannot deny that the main problems of my people are drug addiction and alcoholism,” adds Jennifer. She is actively fighting to improve the living conditions of the Lakota Sioux, but it is very difficult to achieve results. The singer Joseph Reuben Silverbird (Silver Bird) is also trying to draw attention to these problems. His mother is from the Apache tribe (there are just over 57 thousand of them left), which is considered the most closed and rebellious in America, his father is a Spaniard.He says that he was born somewhere on the famous Route 66, known as “Mother of the Roads”, when the family toured America. From the age of six he performed in the circus with his parents, then began to perform folk songs about the tragic fate of Native Americans. There is a “gigantic cultural gap” between whites and Indians, says Joseph. There are two points of view on how to fix the situation. Some believe that one should simply allow the Indians “to return to their traditional way of life – to worship their gods, speak their native language, go fishing and hunting.”Others see salvation in assimilation. But this will take more than one decade. In the meantime, only serving in the army helps the representatives of the indigenous population of America break out of the reservation.
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MOSCOW, July 2 – RIA Novosti, Ksenia Melnikova. Their own government, special passports, even their own currency – the representatives of the indigenous population of America have the widest rights and all kinds of benefits, but the Indians still strive for complete independence. Despite huge compensation from Washington, their quality of life is not improving. In addition, they still drink too much and drug addiction is spreading among them more and more.
Celebration of light
“We are so happy that we finally have light at home, it’s just some kind of holiday.Almost 15 years without electricity, “- says RIA Novosti 40-year-old Neda Billy from the Navajo tribe.
She lives in Dilcon, Arizona. In a small hogan – a traditional dwelling of the Navajo people, consisting of only one room – the whole family huddles : Neda with her husband and five children According to her, many of the reservations do not have electricity, often there is no running water – water is pulled from a well in buckets.
This is confirmed by researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, indicating that “over a quarter of the indigenous people of the American continent have problems with electricity, live without the Internet and drinking water. ”
The problem is that half of the tribe is without work, and it is expensive to provide a house with utilities. Electricity alone will cost $ 40,000. Moreover, local residents prefer to remain silent about the difficulties, not frankly with journalists, especially foreign ones.
Navajo Manli Run Jr. is an exception to the rule.The pride of the tribe, one of the few who managed to get higher education and break out into the people. Lecturer at Northern Arizona University. He admits that he is scared by the conditions in which people live on reservations. “Once I passed a parking lot near the institute. So, Indian students were doing their homework right in the old car, turned on the light and wrote something. Then I found out that they had no computers or the Internet,” says Manley. Although, he adds, the American authorities are allocating good funds to support the indigenous population of the continent.
State within a state
In the United States, there are about 550 Indian tribes living on more than 300 reservations. About half a million Native Americans live in California.
Indians were recognized as citizens of the country only in 1924 – for this they adopted a special law. Earlier, Congress approved the General Distribution Act. The lands that belonged to Native Americans were divided: some were left to the Indians, the rest was bought by the authorities.
As a result, the Indians lost two thirds of their communal lands.However, they were given the broadest rights that other minorities do not even dream of: they can pass laws and form their own government, they have serious tax benefits. In fact, a reservation is a state within a state.
Indians were allowed to trade in alcohol and tobacco products without excise taxes and to open casinos (in other regions, such a business is prohibited). 65 percent of the tribes own gambling houses, but only ten percent of them receive sufficient income to distribute it among all members of the tribe.
Despite their already semi-autonomous existence, the Indians distance themselves as much as possible from Washington, declaring their sovereignty. Thus, the Navajo proclaimed a quasi-state of the Navajo Nation with parliament, government and their own police.
The Lakota tribe also announced the formation of an Indian state in Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, North, South Dakota and introduced its own currency – Mazakoin (“iron coin”). The Indians believe that someday their currency will overtake the dollar.
The authorities turn a blind eye to this, making various concessions and trying to avoid conflicts. However, the Indians with whom RIA Novosti managed to talk, believe that indulgences only further corrupt the aborigines, and casinos and “fire water” are completely alien to the local culture. Due to lack of education and resentment, many drink too much. Drug addiction is spreading – all new rehabilitation centers have to be opened on the reservations.
The money allocated by Washington is not enough, and the tribes go to court, demanding the next multimillion-dollar subsidies.One of the complaints is that the locals are sure that the government pays them only a fraction of the minerals extracted from the subsoil belonging to the Indians. We are talking about gas, oil, uranium and coal. There are hundreds of abandoned uranium mines on the territory of the reservations – the Indians complain about the increase in the number of cancer diseases.
Tribes often win the courts, receiving large sums from the budget. And they continue to live extremely poorly.
Adoption as a way of assimilation
White Americans are adopting them to help Indian children out of poverty.The RIA Novosti correspondent spoke with a 55-year-old woman from San Jose, California, who at one time was taken into the family. She asked me to call her Jennifer.
“As a Native American (we don’t like being called Indians), I was adopted as a baby – at a year and four months. I love my Lakota Sioux people very much, but if I had stayed on the reservation, I clearly would not have been able to get two graduate degrees and find a high-paying job in one of the leading American engineering companies, “says Jennifer.
Native Americans often struggle with parenting, she continues. “I am very proud to be from an Indian tribe. But I cannot deny that the main problems of my people are drug and alcohol addiction,” adds Jennifer.
She actively fights to improve the living conditions of the Lakota Sioux, but it is very difficult to achieve results.
The singer Joseph Reuben Silverbird (Silver Bird) is also trying to draw attention to these problems. His mother is from the Apache tribe (there are just over 57 thousand of them left), which is considered the most closed and rebellious in America, his father is a Spaniard.He says that he was born somewhere on the famous Route 66, known as “Mother of the Roads”, when the family toured America. From the age of six he performed in the circus with his parents, then began to perform folk songs about the tragic fate of Native Americans.
Between whites and Indians, there is a “gigantic cultural divide,” notes Joseph. There are two points of view on how to fix the situation. Some believe that one should simply allow the Indians “to return to their traditional way of life – to worship their gods, speak their native language, go fishing and hunting.”Others see salvation in assimilation. But this will take more than one decade. In the meantime, only serving in the army helps the representatives of the indigenous population of America break out of the reservation.
What the American school did to Indian children • Arzamas
At the end of the 19th century, a US Army officer opened the country’s first boarding school for Native Americans. He tore children away from their families and diligently “killed the Indians in them” – he cut them off, changed clothes, taught literature, political debate and football. And from the very first days, he hired a photographer to document the whole process
Prepared by Dmitry Shabelnikov
On November 1, 1879, in the town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School opened – the first public boarding school in the United States for indigenous peoples. further the word “Indians” is used – firstly, for brevity, and secondly, because it was it that was used in the era in question. off-reservations Prior to this, schools were opened on reservations, mainly by missionaries from various Christian denominations, sometimes with government funding…. Its founder, Richard Henry Pratt (1840–1924), was a controversial figure. On the one hand, he was opposed to segregation and, unlike most of his contemporaries, believed that Indians and other ethnic minorities are the same people as whites (there is a version that it was Pratt who first used the term “racism”). On the other hand, he believed that “equality” is possible only if the Indians give up their way of life and culture. “One famous general said that a good Indian is a dead Indian.In a sense, I agree with this statement, but only in the following: everything that is Indian in this race must die, – said Pratt. “Kill the Indian, save the man.”Richard Henry Pratt, founder and director of the Carlisle School. Photograph by John N. Chow. Late XIX – early XX century National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Pratt joined the army at the very beginning of the Civil War, and after its end he participated in the so-called Indian Wars for another eight years Indian Wars – a general term describing armed conflicts between European governments, settlers, and subsequently the US government and the indigenous people of North America, which began in the 17th century and ended in 1924.in the West. In 1874-1875, armed conflicts gradually began to subside, and Pratt was assigned to the Fort Marion prison in Florida, where the leaders of the Indian resistance were detained. It was there that he first tried to organize the training of prisoners in English, arts and crafts. At that time, it seemed to many in the United States that the Indians were on the verge of complete extinction, and the government began to move from a policy of extermination to attempts to preserve indigenous peoples as one of the components of American society.This is how Pratt came up with the idea of saving the American Indians from extinction by radically integrating them.The first Sioux students immediately after arriving at school on October 6, 1879. Photo by John N. Chow Heritage Auction Archives
In 1879, Pratt moved to Pennsylvania, where he opened Carlisle School. Her first students were representatives of different Indian peoples: 84 Sioux from the Dakota Territory Since 1889 – the states of North and South Dakota. There is an opinion that the Sioux were not chosen by chance: armed conflicts with them stopped quite recently, and once they got to school, children (especially leaders), in fact, became hostages., 52 representatives of the Cheyenne and related tribes, as well as 11 Apaches. On behalf of the government, Pratt himself recruited students – boys and girls – traveling to different reservations and convincing leaders and parents to send their children to school for the future of Indian tribes. In total, during Pratt’s directorship, about five thousand people from 70 tribes were students of the school – from the Eskimos of Alaska to the pueblos of New Mexico. True, according to some information, not all of them successfully graduated from it. In the early days of the Carlisle School, Pratt recruited local photographer John Chowt to film the life of the school – which Chowte did until his death in 1902.Carlisle High School Students. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1884 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The school had several classes with students of different ages, but mostly teenagers. The campus was located in the buildings of military barracks – and life at the school was in many ways reminiscent of the army, especially for boys. Pupils wore uniforms of the “European” pattern: boys – trousers and tunics, girls – dresses. Children were taught English, mathematics, history, drawing, music, as well as various labor skills – a printing house, a shoe workshop, a carpentry workshop, a farm, etc. operated at the school.They also studied the basics of Christian doctrine – Pratt was a Methodist Methodism is one of the Protestant Christian denominations founded in the 18th century. – and were required to visit one of the churches in the city of their choice once a day. It was forbidden to speak any language other than English. In the dormitory, the children were accommodated so that representatives of different tribes lived in the same room, for which the only common language was – or should be – English.Tom Torlino in 1882 and 1885.Photos by John N. Chow National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Tom Torlino was of Navajo origin and attended school from 1882 to 1886. Nothing more is known about him, but this double photo (printed as a postcard by school photographer Choote) has become a kind of symbol of the Carlisle School and in general the forced integration of Indians, with all the pros and cons. Such postcards in the genre of “before and after” were actively used by Pratt and his assistant recruiters as proof that “civilization” can transform the Indian beyond recognition and contribute to his success in society.Carlisle Brass Band. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1892 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
In 1880, Pratt formed the Carlisle Indian Orchestra, which was supported by private philanthropists. In 1879, one of them, having arrived from Boston to Carlisle School, heard the sounds of tom-toms and Indian songs coming from the hostel. When he drew Pratt’s attention to this, he said that, of course, he would have banned tom-toms: “But it would be unfair if we did not give them something similar or better.If you help me with wind instruments, the guys will be able to switch to them and give up tom-toms. ” Soon, Pratt received cornets, clarinets and several pianos from Boston. In 1883, the orchestra was the first to cross the Brooklyn Bridge in New York at its inauguration ceremony, and in 1892 it was led by 21-year-old Dennison Wheelock, a Oneida Indian and a Carlisle graduate. Under the leadership of this talented musician, conductor and composer, the Carlisle Orchestra became famous both in the States and in Europe, performing works by Grieg, Mozart, Rossini, Schubert and Wagner, as well as Wheelock himself.The musicians performed at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris and at the inauguration parades of several US presidents.A group of Carlisle High School students at a Debate Society meeting. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1879 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The school produced several newspapers, encouraged pupils to participate in literary societies and in debate competitions. Educational Debate Clubs appeared in Great Britain in the 18th century and then spread around the world.Members of such clubs compete with each other in the skills of public argumentation on socially significant issues. In the summer, some students took “internships” with local families and received small money for work on the farm or on the farm. You could also spend your holidays in a summer camp in the mountains, where the children lived in tents, picked berries, hunted and fished. Pratt organized archery competitions at the camp, which were very popular with both Indian students and locals who came to camp to place bets.A group of Cheyenne chiefs with students from the Carlisle School. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1880 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The chiefs came to school without fail to monitor the students and their living conditions – this was one of the main conditions on which they agreed to send their fellow tribesmen to Carlisle. This is not surprising, because a significant part of the students were the children of the leaders themselves. For example, Quana Parker, one of the most warlike Comanches, who laid down his arms in 1875 and after moving with his people to the reservation became the leader of all Comanches, had four sons at school.Luther Standing Bear. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1879 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Luther Standing Bear (1868–1936) was the son of a Lakota chieftain. One of the first and, as it turned out later, exemplary students of the school, among other things, he was engaged in attracting new students to Carlisle. In his memoirs, published in 1933, he writes: “The process of civilization in Carlisle began with clothing. Whites believed that Indian children could not be civilized as long as they were wearing moccasins and blankets.Children were cut because their long hair in some mysterious way hindered development … White leather shoes caused real suffering … Red flannel underwear was sheer torture. ” Luther also described the process of getting a new name when he arrived at the school: he was asked to choose one of the names written on the wall, and he, unable to read English, poked the first one that came across. The surname was the name of his father.
White Buffalo upon arrival at Carlisle School.Photograph by John N. Chow. 1881 Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections
White Bison while studying at Carlisle School. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1881 Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections
White Bison of the Cheyenne tribe, somehow retaining its Indian name, attended school from 1881 to 1884, and then returned to it for several more years. His account records an audit conducted in 1910 (regularly arranged by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is an agency of the United States Federal Government.Founded in 1824 under the Department of Defense to administer American Indian territories. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, one of the most important functions of the bureau was the education and assimilation of Indians.): “White Buffalo … and his family live in a beautifully furnished new house. They have a good stable. With the help of his son John, he planted 40 acres of corn and 10 acres of alfalfa. ”Chiricahua Apaches upon arrival at Carlisle School from Fort Marion on November 4, 1886 and four months later Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections, Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Chiricahua is one of the longest Apache tribal groups resisted being moved to the reservation.Their famous leader, Geronimo, and his men surrendered to the government several times, but then again broke out of the reservations, resumed raids on pastoralists and hostilities against the American army. Geronimo finally surrendered only in 1886. The Apaches in the photograph appear to have been captured prior to this event and were incarcerated at Fort Marion Prison in Florida, the same prison run by Pratt. Fort Marion prisoners have gone to school before, since its opening.But, having weakened in prison, after arriving at the school, they got sick and died more often than others, although the mortality rate among students was already terrifying: over the years of the school’s existence, several hundred students died from various reasons.Female students from Carlisle School in physical education class. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1879 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Student health has always been a major concern. On the reservations from where the children came, as a rule, poverty, desolation and unsanitary conditions reigned; the Indians were malnourished and sick a lot.The common causes of death were tuberculosis and smallpox. Therefore, the school paid special attention to physical activity. In addition to physical education, the students were engaged in baseball, basketball, relay sports and other sports.Pirates of the Carlisle High School American Football Team. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1879 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Carlisle’s American football team has become a legend. When the school first opened, the game was not massive and the competition was held only between students from wealthy colleges like Yale and Harvard.After one of the teachers (apparently, he is in the center) showed the game to Pratt and the students, the headmaster immediately organized a team. Soon one of the footballers broke his leg – and Pratt banned American football. But a group of students asked him to lift the ban and allow the team to compete with other schools. According to the director’s memoirs, Pratt replied: “Okay, play, but under two conditions: first, never let your fists loose, and second, you must defeat the strongest teams in America.”Players of the Carlisle Indians during a match against the Yale University team in New York. October 24, 1896 Library of Congress
In 1896, the Carlisle Indians played in New York with a Yale team that had never conceded a goal in their previous seven games. The game aroused great interest from the public and the press: four thousand spectators came to watch the confrontation between cultural white Americans and red-skinned savages.No one doubted the superiority of the Yale players, and it seemed that the Indians were in for a total and brutal defeat. However, in the third minute, Carlisle took the lead. Three minutes before the end of the game, when Yale won with a score of 12: 6, Carlisle’s player ran across the entire field and brought the ball into the point zone (that is, he earned a touchdown, for which the team receives 6 points). This was supposed to mean a draw, but the referee canceled the touchdown – supposedly it happened after the final whistle, although it was obvious to both players and fans that the whistle sounded later.The referee was from Yale, so one of the journalists wrote about the game like this: “Carlisle could have beaten 11 Yale players – but he could not beat 11 Yale players and a Yale referee.”Team Carlisle Indians. 1903 The third row on the far right is Pop Warner. Wikimedia Commons
In 1899, Pratt hired a professional coach, Glenn “Pop” Warner (1871-1954), who, together with his team, turned American football into the game we know today.Realizing that the team would always be physically inferior to others, Warner relied on the speed and agility of the Indians. In addition, he came up with several tricks, guided by the principle “what is not directly prohibited by the rules, is allowed” (usually the next trick was prohibited next season). In the game against Harvard in 1903, the team used the “invisible ball” trick for the first time: one of the players tucked the ball under the sweater, where a special pocket was sewn, and he simply ran around the “junkyard” along the flank and delivered the ball to the touchdown zone.Another trick was that “fake balls” were sewn to the players’ jerseys from the front – and the opponent could not figure out which one was holding the real ball.
On November 23, 1907, Pop Warner and his “Indians” played a historic game against the University of Chicago. The enemy, at that time the strongest team in the country, relied on brute force, practically knocking the Indians out of the field and thereby preventing them from moving forward. The decisive moment was when defender Hauser gave a pass forward almost 40 meters with a special spiral throw – for the first time in the history of football.Another star on the team, receiver The receiver, or receiver, is the offensive player who specializes in taking passes. The main task of the players in this position is to run along a given route, break away from the guardianship of the defenders and take a pass at any time, and then gain the maximum number of yards. The ultimate goal of the player is to reach the opponent’s point zone and score a touchdown. Albert Ecksendine, caught the ball, ran out of bounds with it, ran along the edge to get around the defenders, ran back into the field and earned a touchdown.The game ended with a score of 18: 4 in favor of Carlisle. Thanks to Hauser’s pass, it is believed that it was in this match that modern American football was born – but running out of the field was soon banned.Richard Pratt shakes hands with American Horse Chief. Photograph by John N. Chow. 1897 National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Pratt’s experiment was considered successful, and at the beginning of the 20th century, about 25 similar schools were opened in the country. However, he himself was fired in 1903 due to a conflict with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose policy of creating reservations was harshly criticized by Pratt: “It would be better, much better for Indians if there was never any bureau.”
Carlisle School closed in 1918. Pratt continued to conduct public activities, was engaged in journalism, defended the interests of the Indians. He died in 1924 and was buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington. On his gravestone is written: “With love and memory from the disciples and other Indians.”
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Indian roulette – Vlast – KommersantMagazine “Kommersant Vlast” №29 from , p. 21
& nbsp Indian Roulette
Most Russian citizens would like to receive money directly from oil companies – like the Khanty and Mansi. Most Americans would like to receive money directly from the gambling business. Like the Pequot Indians.
Last of the Pequots
The Pequots and their leader, Richard Hayward, nicknamed the Big Leap, are legendary.Twenty years ago, Hayward worked at a General Dynamics plant, earning $ 15,000 a year. In the early 70s, he began to single-handedly fight for the official status of his tribe and thus took the first step towards prosperity.
Recognition was not easy: the most thoroughbred pekot at that time was actually only one-eighth pekot. At the end of the 17th century, the Pequots actually ceased to exist as a separate Indian tribe, mixing with the Mohicans and Niantikans. Nevertheless, Hayward’s struggle was crowned with success: in 1983, the US government officially recognized the existence of the Pequot tribe.This means that they began to apply all the imaginable and inconceivable benefits provided for by American law for the indigenous population.
Five more years passed, and in 1988, President Reagan signed into law the Indian Gambling Regulatory Act, allowing gambling houses and casinos to be opened on the reservations. True, in each specific case, Indian tribes must coordinate this with the state authorities.
Now, less than ten years after the law was passed, the Indian gambling business already exists in 28 American states.It has grown into a 6 billion dollar industry with 280 casinos owned by 184 tribes.
Chairman of the Council of Chiefs
They say that in the 70s, only two Pecots lived on a tiny reservation in the state of Connecticut. Today there are more than four hundred of them, and the reservation can no longer be called small. More than a thousand people every year try to prove their belonging to this Indian tribe. The reason for the “population explosion” was the opening in 1992 of the Foxwoods Resort complex on the territory of the reservation.
Richard Hayward serves as Chairman of the Pequot Tribe Council, which serves as the company’s board of directors. The complex consists of two casinos, 16 restaurants and three hotels with 1400 rooms. It is visited daily by about 50 thousand people. While revenue figures for the complex have not been released, it is estimated that the Pekots are earning more than $ 1 billion a year. In any case, Foxwoods is one of the largest taxpayers in the state, and the Indians pay only one tax – 25% of the profits from the operation of slot machines.It is $ 250 million.
In addition to all of the above, the Pekots own a shipyard, on which, in particular, a high-speed ferry was built. The ferry allows visitors to get to the casino faster from New York.
The main competitors of the pekots in the gambling business are the Mohicans. It turned out that Fenimore Cooper was somewhat hasty, heading his book “The Last of the Mohicans.” The Mohicans, like the Pekots, have been revived thanks to the casino. Mohegan Sun was opened in 1996, also in Connecticut, just 10 miles from Foxwoods.Now it is the fourth largest casino in North America with annual revenue of about $ 100 million, which attracts 20-25 thousand visitors daily.
Play instead of hunting
The attractiveness of the Indian gambling business is obvious. In California and Minnesota, once deserted and half-abandoned reservations have been transformed by casinos into lively villages with many luxurious homes. Each member of the Apache tribe living in Arizona receives about $ 3 thousand as a result of the distribution of profits.per month. There is nothing to say about the Pequots and the Mohicans. However, the gambling business does not inspire all Indians. Get rich quick only for small tribes living near large cities. But the Navajo tribe, for example, is poorly located and therefore has little chance of success.
However, the Navajo are not going to be involved in the gambling business. The tribal chiefs have already held a referendum twice on the largest Navajo reservation in the United States, and the tribe twice said no to the opening of a casino on its territory.According to some Indians, the gambling business leads to monstrous corruption among the leaders. On several occasions, the Indians involved in the gambling business have been imprisoned on charges of bribery. In addition, since there is practically no control over all types of Indian activities, including financial ones, casinos on reservation territories become an excellent tool for money laundering.
Corruption is not just a threat to Indian leaders. Recently, US Home Secretary Bruce Babbitt was accused of receiving $ 300,000 from one of the tribes.in exchange for a promise to prohibit a neighboring tribe from opening their casino.
The two richest tribes – the Pecots and the Mohicans – have recently shown nobility by announcing that they want to share with other tribes. True, not by income from their casinos, but by government subsidies for housing construction. The Mohicans voluntarily gave up $ 2.2 million, and the Pekots – from $ 578 thousand
As you can see, although Pekots and Mohicans have not been considered poor for several years, the state regularly supports them financially.What’s more, when the Pekots tried to drop the $ 1.5 million in subsidies in 1994, the Housing Department persuaded them to accept help. As a result, one and a half million was spent on the construction of houses worth about $ 400 thousand each for families with an annual income of about $ 200 thousand. Apparently, there was no one poorer on the reservation.
But the high consciousness shown by the Mohicans and Pequots is not characteristic of all Indians. In Minnesota, the Chippewa tribe voted against spending $ 9 million to build a new school, while the casino generates $ 30 million for the tribe.The tribal chief said, “The United States has obligations to the Indian people, and I will make them fulfill those obligations.”
Pale Face Trap
In general, the “solemn obligations” given by the conquerors to the indigenous population are increasingly becoming a problem. The governors of the states where Indian casinos operate are unsuccessfully seeking control over the gambling business. Indians invariably invoke their sovereignty and often ignore state law.The tribal chiefs have no doubt that they can win any lawsuit against the pale-faced. The pale-faced lawmakers, in turn, believe that the exemption of Indians from all taxes is a flagrant injustice. Of course, the “white” business is not able to withstand the competition with the Indian business. Small businesses like gas station owners who try to cope with reservations inevitably go broke.
One of those who encroach on Indian immunity is Republican Senator Slade Gordon.He even dared to declare that, in his opinion, “all Americans should be equal before the law.” Gordon, for example, does not like the fact that an Indian police officer accused of the death of a teenager was able to avoid prosecution: according to the law of an Indian, only an Indian can be prosecuted. Gordon expressed another seditious thought: “The tribes want the right to self-determination, and I do not mind that. But I believe that self-determination entails some responsibilities, and above all the obligation to provide for themselves.”
Not only Congressmen, but also some Indians oppose the special status of the Indians. The main fighter against Indian privileges is the representative of the Chippewa tribe Bill Lawrence. He argues that, as long as there are reservations, “most of the abuse and harassment Indians have to endure from other Indians.” Therefore, it is necessary to deprive the Indians of their special status so that American laws operate on the reservations, and not the absolute power of the tribal leaders. Lawrence proposes to revise the Indian civil rights law passed in 1968 so that not only Indians, but also non-Indians can prosecute representatives of tribes and the companies they own (this is now impossible), and Indian casinos, like all others, were obliged report on their income.But Lawrence has little hope that such amendments will be adopted.
And it’s not just that powerful tribes have already mastered the art of lobbying for the decisions they need. A more serious obstacle is “the noble-savage mentality of many senators who think that the Indians cannot do anything wrong.” The authorities are afraid to betray the “solemn obligations” given to the Indians. Senator John McCain expressed the sentiment of the supporters of Indian immunity: “We took away almost all the land from them and in return guaranteed them some things.Sometimes the consequences of these agreements are not as pleasant as we would like, and tax exemptions are just one of those consequences. ”But this does not mean that“ solemn obligations ”can be violated. That is why they are obligations.
Each member of the Apache tribe living in Arizona receives from the distribution of profits from the gambling business about $ 3 thousand per month
Although many Indian tribes can no longer be considered poor, the US government continues to support them financially
Pale-faced businessmen cannot compete with the Indians.After all, they are exempt from most taxes
Tourists in the United States are surprised that some of the local Indian tribes enjoy exclusive rights to conduct gambling business in their permanent habitat. Grigory Ledkov, a member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation and President of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, has already visited the United States several times, but he does not believe that the entrepreneurial experience of the indigenous peoples of North America is applicable in Russia.Among the main obstacles, he names the harsh climate and vast distances.
Mr. Ledkov recently attended the 13th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples. Nikola Krastev spoke with him.
NK: In terms of economic activity, when I told you about the possibilities of the Indians in the United States to build casinos, in your opinion, is this possible in Russia?
GL: As far as I saw from films, publications, – a very interesting example of a casino – in Las Vegas, it’s somewhere in the desert, it is understood that they were built specifically for this.In Russia, too, according to this principle, as far as I know, play zones have been created so that cities do not have this and that not very healthy social processes associated with them do not flourish. Curiosity is, of course, piqued by the American experience of supporting indigenous peoples in this way.
But on the other hand, in relation to our territory, to our conditions, look how it is in America: what kind of climate, what roads, infrastructure, warmth, light, grasses, landscapes, in a word – beautiful! God gave this land.And we live like this, we have to fly to us by helicopters and airplanes. And we only get between ourselves by helicopter once a week, or if we go on a visit, we sit on a snowmobile and fly into a blizzard, over snow, over ice, over hills, about 300 kilometers. For us, this is not a distance, it is our way of life.
And for all normal people living in other regions, this is a complete extreme, a complete incomprehensible thing. And even if we wanted to, I don’t know how to attract them, guests, to us. Firstly, it is expensive to get there, and secondly, such an extreme is sometimes life-threatening.When we go to meet our guests, in the summer we go out to the Tazovskaya Bay, the Ob River, the Ob Bay, and when a storm starts, you sometimes look at people, but they are simply shocked!
NK: What about the legislative framework regarding the way of life of indigenous peoples in Russia?
GL: Laws have been adopted and they are important for their fact of existence. But now a formation is taking place, time does not stand still, and the state itself has new forms of relationships and business development.
Due to the fact that living conditions are changing, it is logical to make changes in the laws. When it was first announced what an indigenous community was, there was no such thing as private property. And now, in addition to this, there is the collective property of indigenous peoples, it was regulated, and 13 types of activities were allocated for this. They were targeted, and therefore the form was transitional from the collective socialist form of government.
It was understood that the state would subsidize 13 types of communities with subsidies, tax exemptions, preferences, and finance like those collective farms that existed until recently.This approach was logical even in the mentality of people in power. Now, when we say that the development of the state has already gone even further, now we see that the collective form of economy – semi-commercial, semi-economic – does not fit into the civil law turnover.
In addition to this, the community is forced to engage in other activities: opening shops, tourism, selling equipment, food, and providing transportation. Sometimes entire villages become communities and thus sustain their lives.And it is clear that now these types of activities must either be expanded or given a different status to the community, so that it is something like a civilian semi-commercial organization, but fits into the modern business model.
If a law was issued on communities, guarantees of the rights of indigenous peoples in hunting, fishing, then today we are talking about that. And in all legislation, to streamline the terms, to introduce uniformity. There is the concept of “community of indigenous small-numbered peoples of the north of Siberia and the Far East,” period.And this is not so, that in one law, in another, they were issued along the way, without any general regulations.
In one case, “the community of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North”, and in others it is still somehow different. There is a discrepancy – each law has a general context, but the letter or comma written in the law requires its uniformity. Therefore, if a community member challenges his rights with the tax service, he will be told: “Sorry, dear, this does not apply, because you are comparing two laws, but there are different names.”90,000 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Declarations – Declarations, Conventions, Agreements and Other Legal Materials
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 61/295 of 13 September 2007
General Assembly ,
Guided by purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of good faith in fulfilling the obligations assumed by States in accordance with the Charter,
Reaffirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, and at the same time recognizing the right of all peoples to be different from each other, to consider themselves different from others and to be respected in this capacity,
confirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures that constitute the common heritage of mankind,
further confirming that all doctrines, policies and practices that are based on the superiority of peoples or people on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic and cultural differences, or that assert such superiority, are racist, scientifically unsound, legally invalid, morally reprehensible and socially unfair,
Affirming that indigenous peoples, in exercising their rights, must be free from any kind of discrimination,
Concerned that indigenous peoples have been victims of historical injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and deprivation of their lands, territories and resources, which prevents them from exercising, inter alia, their right to develop in accordance with their needs and interests,
Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inalienable rights of indigenous peoples based on their political, economic and social structures, as well as their culture, spiritual traditions, history and philosophy, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,
Recognizing also the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States,
Noting with satisfaction that indigenous peoples are joining forces for political, economic, social and cultural development and to end all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever,
Convinced by that control by indigenous peoples of events affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to preserve and strengthen their institutions, culture and traditions, and contribute to their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs ,
Recognizing that respect for the knowledge, culture and traditional practices of indigenous peoples contributes to sustainable and equitable development and good environmental care,
Stressing the contribution of demilitarization of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples to the achievement of peace, economic and social progress and development, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the nations and peoples of the world,
Recognizing, in particular , the right of indigenous families and communities to maintain shared responsibility for the upbringing, learning, education and well-being of their children, in accordance with the rights of the child,
Considering that the rights enshrined in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are in some situations an object of concern, interest and responsibility of the international community and are international in nature,
Considering also that treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements and the relationships they reflect serve as the basis for stronger partnerships between indigenous peoples and states,
Recognizing that the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1 , as well as the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action 2 , reaffirm the fundamental importance of the right to self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely establish their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,
Mindful of that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any people its right to self-determination, exercised in accordance with international law,
Convinced by that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with this Declaration will contribute to the development of harmonious and cooperative relations between the state and indigenous peoples, based on the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and integrity,
encouraging States to respect and effectively implement all their obligations towards indigenous peoples under international treaties, in particular those pertaining to human rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned,
Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and consistent role to play in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples,
Believing that this Declaration constitutes another important step towards the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and in the development of related activities of the United Nations system in this area,
Recognizing and reaffirming that persons belonging to indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to enjoy all human rights recognized in international law and that indigenous peoples have collective rights that are absolutely necessary for their existence, well-being and inclusiveness development as peoples,
Recognizing that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from region to region and from country to country, and that the importance of national and regional specificities and different historical and cultural traditions must be taken into account,
solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a benchmark to be followed in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:
Indigenous peoples have the right, collectively and individually, to the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights 3 and in international human rights law.
Persons belonging to indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples are free and equal with all other peoples and individuals among them and have the right to be free from any discrimination in the exercise of their rights, in particular discrimination on the basis of their indigenous origin or identity.
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of this right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means of financing their autonomous functions.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their particular political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while maintaining their right, if they so desire, to participate fully in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the state.
Everyone who belongs to an indigenous people has the right to citizenship.
1. Persons belonging to indigenous peoples have the right to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.
2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinctive peoples and must not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including the forced transfer of children belonging to a group to another.
1. Indigenous peoples and persons belonging to them have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or influence in order to destroy their culture.
2. States shall provide effective prevention and remedy mechanisms for:
a ) any action with the aim or result of depriving them of their integrity as original peoples or their cultural values or ethnicity;
b ) any action with the aim or result of depriving them of their lands, territory or resources;
s ) forced displacement of the population in any form, with the aim or result of violation or undermining of any of their rights;
d ) forced assimilation or integration in any form;
e ) propaganda in any form aimed at encouraging or inciting racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.
Indigenous peoples and persons belonging to them have the right to belong to an indigenous community or people in accordance with the traditions and customs of that community or people. The exercise of such a right cannot give rise to any form of discrimination.
Indigenous peoples are not subject to forced displacement from their lands or territories. No displacement takes place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned, and takes place following an agreement providing for just and fair compensation and, where possible, the option of return.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to respect and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to preserve, protect and develop past, present and future forms of manifestation of their culture, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, drawings, ceremonies, technologies, visual and performing arts and literature.
2. States shall provide remedies through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed jointly with indigenous peoples in relation to their cultural, intellectual, religious and religious property, alienated without or in violation of their free, prior and informed consent. laws, traditions and customs.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to observe, practice, develop and transmit their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and practices; the right to preserve, protect and visit, without outside presence, their places of religious and cultural significance; the right to use and dispose of their ritual objects and the right to bury the remains of their dead at home.
2. States shall endeavor to ensure that the ritual objects and remains of the deceased can be accessed and / or returned to their homeland through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with the indigenous peoples concerned.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revive, use, develop and transmit to future generations their history, languages, oral traditions, philosophy, writing and literature, and to give their own names and names to communities, places and persons and to preserve them.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, judicial and administrative proceedings, through the provision of translation, if necessary, or through other appropriate funds.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their education systems and institutions providing education in their mother tongues in a manner consistent with their cultural teaching and learning methods.
2. Persons belonging to indigenous peoples, in particular children, have the right to receive public education at all levels and in all forms without discrimination.
3. States, together with indigenous peoples, take effective measures to ensure that indigenous people, in particular children, including those living outside their communities, have, whenever possible, access to education, taking into account their cultural traditions and language.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their culture, traditions, history and aspirations, which must be reflected appropriately in education and public information.
2. States, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, take effective measures to combat prejudice, eradicate discrimination and promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other sectors of society.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to create their own media in their languages and to access all types of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that the cultural diversity of indigenous peoples is adequately reflected in public media. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage private media to adequately reflect the cultural diversity of indigenous peoples.
1. Persons belonging to indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples have the right to fully exercise all rights established in accordance with applicable international and domestic labor law.
2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and any work that may be dangerous or interfere with the child’s learning, or harm health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development of children, taking into account their particular vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.
3.Persons belonging to indigenous peoples have the right not to be discriminated against with regard to their working conditions and, in particular, employment or wages.
Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making on matters that would affect their rights, through representatives they themselves choose according to their own procedures, and to maintain and develop their own decision-making institutions.
States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned, through their representative institutions, in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be guaranteed the use of their means of subsistence and development, and to freely engage in their traditional and other economic activities.
2. Indigenous peoples, deprived of their means of subsistence and development, have the right to just reparation.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to improve their socio-economic conditions of life, including, inter alia, in such areas as education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security. …
2. States shall take effective measures and, where necessary, special measures to ensure the continuous improvement of the socio-economic conditions of their lives.Specific attention is paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elderly, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.
1. In the implementation of this Declaration, particular attention is paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elderly, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.
2. States, together with indigenous peoples, shall take measures to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.
Indigenous peoples have the right to prioritize and formulate strategies to fulfill their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to actively participate in the design and definition of health, housing and other socio-economic programs that affect them, and, to the extent possible, to implement such programs through their own institutions.
1.Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicine and to maintain their medical practices, including the conservation of essential medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous people also have the right to access, without discrimination, to all forms of social and health care.
2. Indigenous people have an equal right to enjoy the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.States are taking all necessary steps to progressively achieve the goal of fully realizing this right.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their special spiritual bond with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used lands, territories, waters and coastal waters and other resources, and to bear their responsibility to future generations in this regard.
1.Indigenous peoples have the right to lands, territories and resources that they traditionally owned, traditionally occupied, or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop or control lands, territories and resources that they possess by virtue of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those that they have otherwise acquired.
3.States ensure the legal recognition and protection of such lands, territories and resources. Such recognition is carried out with due respect for the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.
States, with due recognition of the laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems of indigenous peoples, establish and implement, with the indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process for the recognition and legal confirmation of the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to their lands, territories and resources, including those they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used.Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in this process.
1. Indigenous peoples are entitled to redress through means, which may include restitution or, where this is not possible, in the form of just compensation for lands, territories and resources that they traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used and who have been confiscated, alienated, employed, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
2. Unless voluntarily agreed otherwise with the peoples concerned, such compensation shall be provided in the form of lands, territories and resources of equal quality, size and legal status, or in the form of monetary compensation or other appropriate compensation.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to preserve and protect the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources.States establish and implement programs of assistance for indigenous peoples to ensure such conservation and protection without any discrimination.
2. States shall take effective measures to prevent the storage of hazardous materials on indigenous lands or territories or the export of hazardous materials to indigenous lands or territories without their free, prior and informed consent.
3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, where necessary, that programs for monitoring, preserving and restoring the health of indigenous peoples are properly implemented as designed and implemented by peoples adversely affected by such materials.
1. Military activities shall not be carried out on the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless their conduct is justified by the existence of the relevant state interests or in relation to them there is otherwise freely expressed consent or a request from the indigenous peoples concerned.
2. Before using indigenous lands or territories for military activities, States shall effectively consult with the indigenous peoples concerned through appropriate procedures and, in particular, through their representative institutions.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to preserve, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional forms of cultural expression, as well as manifestations of their scientific knowledge, technology and culture, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of properties fauna and flora, oral traditions, literary works, drawings, sports and traditional games, and visual and performing arts.They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property in such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
2. Together with indigenous peoples, states take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to prioritize and develop strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned, through their representative institutions, in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, especially in connection with the development, use or development of minerals, water or other resources.
3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for fair and fair redress for any such activity and take appropriate measures to mitigate its adverse effects on the environment, economy, society, culture or spiritual development.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to define themselves or their ethnicity in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not prejudice the right of persons belonging to indigenous peoples to acquire the citizenship of the States in which they live.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structure and elect members of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.
Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their special customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, where they exist, legal systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards …
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals towards their communities.
1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those peoples that are separated by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including in connection with activities of a spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social orientation, with those who are in their composition, as well as with other peoples across the borders.
2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise of this right and to ensure its implementation.
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to recognize, respect and enforce treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements entered into with states or their successors, and to respect and respect by states of such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
2. Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or excluding the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements or other constructive arrangements.
States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the objectives of this Declaration.
Indigenous peoples have the right to access financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation to exercise the rights contained in this Declaration.
Indigenous peoples have the right to access and prompt resolution through fair procedures to resolve conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, and to effective remedies for any violation of their individual and collective rights. Such decisions take due account of the customs, traditions, norms and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.
Bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full implementation of the provisions of this Declaration by establishing, inter alia, cooperation for the provision of financial and technical assistance.Ways and means of ensuring the participation of indigenous peoples in issues affecting them should be identified.
The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote compliance with and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up on the effective implementation of this Declaration.
The rights recognized in this Declaration are the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the world’s indigenous peoples.
All rights and freedoms recognized in this Declaration are equally guaranteed to indigenous men and women.
Nothing in this Declaration should be construed as diminishing or terminating the rights that indigenous peoples currently possess or may acquire in the future.
1. Nothing in this Declaration shall be construed to imply any right of any state, people, group of individuals or individual to engage in any activity or to take any action in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, or be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action that would lead to dismemberment or to partial or complete violation of the territorial integrity and political unity of sovereign and independent states.
2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in this Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such restrictions as are determined by law and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such restrictions are non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely to ensure due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to meet the just and most pressing requirements of a democratic society.
3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and integrity.
1 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
2 A / CONF.157 / 24 (Part I), chapter III.
3 Resolution 217 A (III).90,000 The myth of the sudden death of the powerful civilization of Cahokia has been debunked – Rossiyskaya Gazeta
A team of researchers led by A.J. White from the University of California at Berkeley (USA) during excavations in the territory of modern Southern Illinois discovered evidence that one of the most powerful and mysterious civilizations in North America, Cahokia, did not suddenly disappear, as it was believed until now.
The researchers presented their findings in the journal American Antiquity, and briefly about the work is described on the website of the University of Berkeley. Cahokia is considered one of the most advanced pre-Columbian civilizations in North America.
It reached its peak in the 1100s. The reasons for its collapse have not yet been established. Moreover, until recently, it was believed that this civilization suddenly disappeared before the appearance of Europeans on the continent.
Remains of structures of this culture have survived to our time. Excavations prove that Cahokia was a cultural center and home to tens of thousands of Native Americans. They were actively involved in agriculture, fishing and trade. In addition, they erected gigantic ritual mounds.
The popular version says that by the 1400s Cahokia fell into decay due to climatic disasters – floods alternated with droughts, the Indians lacked food and other resources.