Monday, March 18, 2019

An example of American Socialism?


Larry Lambert startled me with this comparison.

If you want to see how socialism works under the American Government, the best place to begin is an Indian reservation. Start with one that doesn't have a massive casino or oil wells. The medical care is on par with what you could expect in almost any clinic in Africa and the lifestyle as people wait for their 'free' government allotment is legendary.

There's more at the link.

Larry also linked to this article for supporting evidence.

Of the top 100 poorest counties in the US, four of the Top 5 and ten of the Top 20 are on indian reservations. In all, 24 counties with high Indian populations made the Top 100 Poorest Counties list based on the 2000 Census.

Living conditions on many Indian reservations are so poor that they are comparable to conditions in Third World countries.

Again, more at the link.

I've never visited a Native American reservation (although I must have driven through many of them in Oklahoma as I sped along I-40 east- or westbound).  I have no personal experience of conditions there.  However, if this is true, I'd love to know why it's true.  Is it some sort of tribal/group or individual Native American problem?  Is it caused by government mismanagement?  Is it anything else, or a combination of several factors?  I have no idea.

I'd like to hear from readers who know more than I.  What caused this, and what (if anything) can be done about it?

Peter

16 comments:

STxAR said...

For an eye opener, go to Gallup on I40, then up to Farmington. I used to drive that route for work a few times a year. The squalor was horrible. Google streets may be a quick way to look around.

The Oklahoma folks I've seen were well off compared to the folks out in Navajo/Hopi country. It's heart breaking.

C. S. P. Schofield said...

One reason it’s true is that the Bureau of Indian Affairs has traditionally been one of the offices of the administrative branch that undergoes a major change with every new President. Its function is understandable to the average voter, but it doesn’t actually make much difference to them; thus it is a ‘change’ an incoming President can make without pissing off anyone of much importance, to look dynamic. Hence Indian policy tends to change every four to eight years, whether it needs to or not. With policy changing that often, life on a res tends to be unsettled, which makes it hard to make any progress.


In recent decades, the various Nations have sarted to fight back against the BIA, which is probably a good thing..

Billll said...

The land is owned communally and as part of a "nation" it can't be sold to anyone or developed by an outside agent. Thus to the residents, it's worthless. The means of production is owned by the BIA. Without a nearby supply of rich capitalists, casinos have no customers. Oil, if any, gets pumped through pipelines if the greeneies allow it, and the money goes to the tribal council who redistributes it to the tribal members more or less equally, which means no one gets very much. Teaching school at Stinking Desert Indian Reservation K-12 school isn't exactly a fast track in education so education suffers which makes leaving the reservation difficult. In Oklahoma, by the time oil was discovered, the Indians had learned that lawyers made better scalping tools than Bowie knives so the living standards are much higher there.

Rusty Gunner said...

Pine Ridge res in South Dakota is unbelievably poor by US standards. I have no clue what can be done about it that is politically achievable, either.

CDH said...

The easy, though politically incorrect, answer is to end the reservations. Give the residents ownership, fully integrate them into the USA, and end the reservations' special status. It will be an ugly generation, but they might have a chance beyond that. Same goes for most 'special status' persons (I'm looking at you affirmative action) in the USA, but that is another story...

Rob said...

Throughout most of human history when one people moved into an area already occupied, the loser was killed off, the survivors were enslaved and eventually they were assimilated into the new "culture". Life went on.

It was different in north America. The pushed out people were eventually forced into lands no one else wanted and as long as they stayed there & did not mess with settlers and they did not cost too much money they were left to their own. Sovereign was the word used to describe the tribes on their reservations.

The Europeans were survivor of a ten thousand year drunk, they had survived small pox, measles and a host of other diseases brought on by a thousand of years of city living.
The Europeans had (and more important could make) iron cooking pots, steel knives, firearms and a lot of people.

Here in north America they didn't kill off, enslave & eventually assimilated the folks that were already here, they found something new. The reservation system.
That lead to a different lifestyle for the survivors. A people with a whole different culture, a whole different history living on the outskirts of the new civilization. Individuals could leave & they could (usually) come back... From what I've read the coming back part got harder with successful casinos & all that cash.

The socialism failures are clear for all to see in history, it's not accurate to use the reservation system as a "prime" example, but the reservation system has left those people with a type of socialism that is hard to break out of.

With the "sovereign" reservations they were left out of the American melting pot.



If you're interested look up the "Native American Press/Ojibwe News". The newspaper ended with the death of it's publisher Bill Lawrence in 2010, he was an Ojibwe from the Red lake reservation in Minnesota and was not a fan of the government hand out system.

Tirno said...

If you want to utterly destroy a people, such that they let their culture, language and dignity expire out of neglect, just deliver to them a small trickle of unearned largess on a regular basis. Just enough to survive on, not so little that they would go out and be valuable enough to earn their own money, and not so much that they have enough resources to stray. One or two generations later, you don't have to be concerned about them, and you can start squeezing off the trickle, but you can still count on their votes.

That's been the playbook since Andrew Jackson (Democrat) established the reservations.

NWpodcast said...

the best example of American Socialism is Corporate America. 2 sources of Gov in the USA - and the 2nd one is Corporations. They actually get it quite right. the one i'm most familiar with provides the family with excellent medical insurance. excellent retirement benefits. on-site dental services. onsite mail services. onsite food services, etc. onsite tax services. SocialCorp even has political lobbying 'armies' to serve the greater good. everything is taken care of for the individual and their family.

Best part is that the Fed/State Gov's are realizing the competition, so they've "given" Corporate America its own Political Identity and allow the Corporation the same political power and rights as an individual citizen.

Corporations have learned that the good Socialism is best for good Capitalism.

Murph said...

A couple of outliers from the typical impression of tribal reservations:

First, the Cherokee Nation, which has built a whole tribal network of successful businesses (helped but not totally reliant on SBA preferences);
http://cherokeenationbusinesses.com/Pages/home.aspx

Second, and one that I've visited myself in metro-Phoenix, to the east of the 101, is the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It has developed land of nothing but sand and cactus into the Talking Stick Resort and its related and very diverse entertainment venues, such as spring training fields for baseball, an aquarium, and the like. It's a favorite venue for live concerts. It has a casino, but that simply contributes revenue to the overall enterprise: it's not by any means the sole generator.
But note, these are capitalistic enterprises.
https://www.srpmic-nsn.gov/economic/

Loyd Jenkins said...

Lived in a rental on an Ojibwe reservation for a year, in the general area for three years before that. Definitely poor, but well above third world. Lack of employment in the area. Drug/alcohol abuse.

The two biggest problems I saw was the relationship between the natives and towns, prejudice going both ways, and corruption in the tribal leadership. There was an unspoken acknowledgement of the corruption, but no one wanted the Feds involved, they were too overbearing.

Nuke Warrior said...

To add to Rob's comment. The Natives in much of North America were stone age hunter gatherers who relied on bison and other game for food, clothing, shelter, etc. The tribe followed the herds and harvested edible plants where found, but didn't really develop agriculture. A huge amount of land was required to support the tribe. They were forced on to small (relatively) reservations that was not particularly suitable for farming, they were provided no training or tools on how to farm and yet they were expected to become farmers and ranchers. The results were predictable. The paternalistic and socialistic government treatment from Washington D.C. has maintained the status quo since the 1880s.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I've spent a fair amount of time in and around the Passamaquoddy reservation in Sipayik (Perry, really) Maine.

Ghetto conditions in a rural area, and it's not hard to see why. The "Free" houses 'awarded' by the .gov are falling down and in some cases uninhabitable in less than 20 years. The older homes, built or funded via traditional means, range from run down to tidy.
The rural location of most reservations isolates them in a way that urban ghettos don't have to deal with. This is how 3rd world or worse medical clinics end up existing in the US. The ghetto mentality- entitlement, culturally inculcated hostility to social mobility, and almost no traditional 2-parent households certainly don't help. Add to that the constantly dangling promise of free beer tomorrow in the form of grants and gifts of cash from Heap Big Uncle Sam, creating motivation to do little until the magic windfall happens some undefined day in the future. There's always a lawsuit or a grant or some other lottery-style windfall that keeps the meat in the seats.

Kamas Kirian said...

Peter, I believe the Apartheid was based on the US reservation system. It works about as well for the residents.

From what I've seen there is a combination of factors at work.

1) Most Indians living on the rez have a strong dislike to "the white man" and government going back to before the reservations were created. It got exacerbated with the creation of same and forced relocation of the residents. If that wasn't bad enough, the government then tried to force integration by rounding up all the children and sending them to boarding schools called "Indian Schools", where the kids were pretty well abused.

2) Due to 1, many of them take every opportunity to "stick it to the man", which results in things like the Feds providing grants for housing to be built on the rez. But every night when the contractors leave someone shows up to steal all the plumbing and wiring from the unfinished houses. Which increases the costs and delays occupancy, leaving those that need the new house living in a dung heap.

3) Since 'the rez' is oftentimes considered a separate country, the criminal justice system gets all screwed up. You end up with things like non-Indians not being cited by BIA officers for crimes committed on the rez, while Indians on the rez can't be cited by the Sheriff's office. Or take a report if the victim is opposite the jurisdictional agency.

And then there are the truly horrific things. A couple of my wife's kids when she taught on the rez were being abused by family members. The abuse was reported to the school, the tribe and law enforcement, but tribe refused to separate the kids from their abusers.

4) The cultural expectations are quite different from an Anglo European stand point. Much more shared resources among family. If someone gets something, it's usually shared (which may mean loafers mooching off the motivated).

5) Those that take advantage of the resources available and then get off the rez oftentimes end up doing quite well for themselves. As long as they get off the rez.

Uncle Lar said...

Some tribes seem to be finding their way successfully.
I would mention that the Poarch Creek tribe just donated funds to fully cover the funeral expenses of 23 tornado victims in Lee county Alabama, over $180,000.
The Poarch tribe operates a number of resorts and casinos in the Southeast.
Some comic once pointed out that the ultimate tools of revenge by Indians against the white man were their casinos and the sale of tax exempt tobacco products.

Beans said...

Here in Florida, the Seminoles have fared much better than the western reservations. Maybe because even the swamps they were pushed into were fertile. Or maybe because they were a composite tribe. Dunno. But they excelled even before casino money made them wealthy. So much so that they have successfully fought and defeated every attempt to rename FSU's athletic program.

I think, in order to fix the western res system, one must really, like any criminal enterprise (the system is a criminal enterprise, isn't it?) one must follow the money. In many poor reservations, that would pretty much be govassist money. Look to who is in charge of dispensing it, and how much a 'piece of the action' the dispensers are taking. Follow it down each chain to the individuals at the bottom. That will show who in Fed/State government and Tribal Government is the issue.

For the climate conditions on most reservations, the amount of aid/payoffs/cut of the action should be enough to maintain or lift the people out of basic poverty. I mean, it's not like they're white out-of-work coal miners in Appalachia (who really are dirt poor...)

The Reservation system is broken. Maybe it is something that President Trump can handle, and hand off successfully to his successor (please let it not be a socialist...) in his second term.

As to what Nuke Warrior said, well, the myth of the peaceful, eco-friendly noble Native is just that. A myth. Much research has been done that shows clearly that if the Natives weren't involved in a giant 1,000 year 'World War' on the east coast, we most likely wouldn't have gotten even a toe-hold on North America. But, well, inter-tribal warfare, class warfare and backstabbing seem to be one of the tribal traits that is universal in hunter-gatherer and semi-agricultural cultures.

It is an issue. But... can the Government fix it? Since the Government is a major part of the problem?

McChuck said...

Declare victory, close the reservations, and make the Indians live as other Americans. They're allowed to vote already.