About Indian Country Extension

Cooperative Extension in Indian Country

This term identifies Cooperative Extension work that occurs in Indian Country — on American Indian reservations, in tribal communities and tribal colleges. This nonformal, knowledge-based educational programming is grounded in the philosophy established in the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. The teaching is conducted by faculty, extension agents/educators and other associated employees of the extension organizations within land grant universities and colleges; tribal colleges and tribal governments.

5/5
“It is always a good experience to know more about the world and its people as it opens your eyes towards reality.”
John F. Canales
5/5
“Exploring the culture and understanding more about Native Americans was a delightful experience that I will always cherish.”
Amy E. Moore

Native Indian Americans Culture

The diversity through which the Native American goes by is something worth exploring as it consists of practices and methods known to highlight their understanding of life. Make sure to follow the latest news and events!

Cherokee

As the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, the Cherokee were once concentrated in Southwestern North Carolina. Today, they are the largest tribe in the United States.

 

Apache

With a long history and culture, the Apache descendants totalled around 100,000 individuals in the early 21st century. The group is culturally related to Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States. 

Pima people

Also known as “River People,” the Pima People are a group of Native Americans living in an area that consists of central and Southern Arizona.

 

Contemporary Issues

The acts of discrimination have never left the indigenous people, and it still continues to ruin their lives for the worse. But that alone cannot sum up their struggle as there are several other issues that continue to cause havoc. 

Latest Updates From Our Blog

North American Indians, an inspiring culture

North American Indians sit at a wigwam

The fierce white colonization for centuries has not succeeded in ending the culture of the North American Indians.

For the Romans, the Germanic peoples were nothing more than barbarians. The Saxons regarded the Vikings who ravaged their shores as demons, and Christians and Muslims accused themselves of being little more than animals as they waged their holy wars.

History shows that human beings have an irrational fear for those they consider different, and different beliefs or ways of life often become obstacles to seeking a common understanding and coexistence. Although this trend has appeared (and appears) all over the world, the case of Native Americans is one of the most striking.

These misnamed Indians occupied practically all of the territories that are currently the United States and Canada in more than a hundred different tribes that lived together in peace or faced each other according to the moment and the circumstances.

These tribes structured their economy around hunting and agriculture, with a deep relationship with the natural environment in which they saw their survival and their gods. The image that is had of the different tribes varies from the peaceful and respectful people that they were in peacetime to the feared warriors who cut hair in times of war (which they also did). The recurrent use of Indians as primitive savages and enemies in the Classic western films have made that distorted image last.

The reality, as it usually happens, is more complex. The Native American peoples, as with the rest of the indigenous peoples of America, had a changing relationship with the settlers and Europeans that ranged from trade and collaboration to wars over land and resources.

The government of the United States, seeking to seize the gold and natural resources of the Indian territory, passed the Indian Appropriation Act in 1851 and tried to subdue and control their way of life for years, turning them into second-class citizens: the Civil Rights Act Indigenous was not approved until 1968 and it did not recognize all the rights and freedoms established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Currently, most of the Native American population is concentrated in indigenous reservations, they have difficulties accessing the education and health system and live mainly from the tourism sector. Numerous associations seek to preserve the past of these peoples and protect their cultural legacy.

Preserve Indian culture

A native Kutenai holds a wicker pot for salmon fishing in Montana’s Flathead Lake. Today there are numerous organizations that seek to protect and preserve the traditions and way of life of ancient Native American peoples.

Masks to represent the gods

Edward S. Curtis was one of the first photographers to be interested in Indian culture and ritual. In this 1904 image, he portrays a Native American dressed as Haschogan, the Navajo home god.

Dressed for war

The clothing of the North American Indians is very characteristic and has influenced and inspired Western designers and artists . Their costumes were usually made of leather and decorated with patterns and symbols related to their gods and beliefs. In the image you can see a Sioux coat.

The importance of the Sun

Hopi mask that represents the creative spirit of light and life, the Sun.

Indian women

Fringes, leather, and colored beads are some of the most characteristic elements of Indian women’s clothing. Their traditional and careful styling was exactly reproduced on the dolls that Cheyenne girls played with , as can be seen in the left part of the image.

Ritual dance

Hopi mask used for ceremonial dance in honor of the kachinas or animistic spirits of the elements that direct the existence of all things.

The pipe of peace

This Navajo-medicine man is smoking the traditional pipe, which could be used as a symbol of peace, war, healing or friendship.

Ready to fight

The arrows of the North American Indians, one of their most characteristic weapons , were made with different types of feathers, wood, and metal or bone tips. His other most common weapon was the tomahawk, a hand ax that was also used as a throwing weapon.

Indians by mistake

There are two main beliefs that explain why the native peoples of the American continent are known as ‘Indians’. The most widespread and probable is that they were baptized that way because the trip on which Christopher Columbus arrived in America had India as its original destination.

The other theory affirms that Columbus, upon seeing the inhabitants of these new lands, used the Latin expression ” in deo ” to refer to them. Over time, the use of this term became general and in many places it acquired a pejorative tinge.

Indian territory before 1492
Although there are discrepancies between the number of people who lived in the current United States before the European conquest, the number usually varies between 10 million and almost 20 million people. The different Indian tribes were distributed throughout the territory, occupying from the green forests of the east coast to the plains of the Midwest and the cold north.

North American tribes

It is estimated that in the 15th century, before the arrival of the first Europeans in America, there were between 140 and 160 different native tribes among which the Cherokee, Apache, Cheyenne, Sioux and Navajo can be highlighted. These tribes had different languages and customs between them and in many cases they were enemies who disputed wealth or land in tribal wars.

Gods and mysticism

Although each tribe has different names and personalities to their gods, the beliefs and customs of the Native Americans were characterized by a close bond with nature. These peoples were hunters and farmers who used the environment as a tool and refuge in a kind of relationship of respect and symbiosis. Animals such as the eagle or the wolf had a prominent place in their beliefs and the feathers of large birds were symbols of recognition.

The Indian Wars and Little Big Horn

Until the 19th century, Native Americans and settlers had had a complicated relationship that frequently jumped from war to peace. But in 1848 the so-called ‘gold rush’ began and the US government accelerated its plan to deprive the natives of their lands. The Indian wars would extend mainly through the west of the country until 1876, when General Custer was massacred in Little Big Horn and the federal government reinforced its efforts to subdue the native peoples.

Indian reservations

Emerged in the mid-nineteenth century as a way to expel native peoples from the lands that were of interest to the federal government, the Indian reservations were lands in which the Americans concentrated the different tribes that hindered them. For years, these reserves were used as open-air prisons , but the situation was softening as the natives gained rights and freedoms. Currently, reserves are sovereign territories not subject to federal laws but linked to the US government, which acts as financial support.

National Congress of American Indians

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the largest and most representative non-profit organization in North America. It brings together more than a hundred different tribes from the United States and Alaska that seek to defend and equalize the rights established in the Constitution for these communities, as well as improve the living conditions and educational and employment opportunities of Native Americans throughout the country.

The settlers who exterminated the Indians in America

wagons of old american settlers

The communal property of the land was broken – the principle of territoriality in which the Indians established their rights; They no longer had to be dealt with with the tribal councils, but with their “owners” who, as such, had to pay taxes to the State for plots that they ended up selling to greedy merchants and traffickers, who acquired them at paltry prices or they exchanged them for trinkets or weapons or drinks, to impoverished, naked beings, decimated by the epidemics of measles, whooping cough and mumps (spread by the target) and also drunk by design of Providence that used rum to extirpate to that inferior race and to make room for the farmers, as Benjamin Franklin says in his autobiography: “.

If it was the design of Providence to eradicate those savages and make room for the cultivators of the land, it does not seem unlikely that rum was the indicated medium. It has already annihilated all the tribes that formerly inhabited the coast ”.

It was not caricatured when it was said that the colonists presented themselves to the Indians carrying in one hand a purchase contract for their land, in the other a bottle of rum, a bible under their arms and a rifle on their backs.

Defense of the land

For their part, the Cherokee, defending their immemorial rights to the land and opposing their deportation, said in their plea to the authorities of the state of Georgia – the most fierce and rapacious enemy of the Indians – on November 19, 1828:

“When our forefathers came to our shores, the red man was strong, and though ignorant and wild, he received them kindly and allowed them to rest their numb feet on the dry land. Our parents and yours shook hands in friendship and lived in peace. Everything that the white man asked to satisfy his needs, the Indian hastened to grant him. The Indian was then the owner of everything and the white man who begged. Today the scene has changed; the red man’s strength has turned to weakness .

As his enemies grew in number, his power diminished more and more; And now, of so many powerful tribes as they covered the surface of what you call the United States, only a few remain that have escaped universal disaster.

The tribes of the North, once so renowned among us for their might, have all but disappeared. Such has been the fate of the red man in America. Here we are the last of our race. Should we die?

“From time immemorial, our common father who is in heaven, gave to our ancestors the land that we occupy; they have passed it on to us as an inheritance. We have preserved it with respect, as it contains its ashes. This inheritance, have we ever given it or lost it? Let us humbly ask you what better right can a people have to a country than the right of inheritance and immemorial possession.

We know that the State of Georgia and the President of the United States maintain that we have lost that right. But this seems to us a gratuitous argument. At what time did we lose it? What crime have we committed that could deprive us of our homeland? Are we accused of having fought under the banner of the King of Great Britain during the war of independence?”.

Cornered

Still, the Cherokees were forced to march, as already stated. Jackson offered them the protection of his government and the assurance that there (west of the Mississippi) the “white brother” would not go to bother them: “he would not have a right over your lands; there you and your children will be able to live, in the midst of peace and abundance, for as long as the grass grows and the streams flow: they will belong to you forever ”. And the same grass had not yet grown, and the same stream waters were still flowing, when the greedy ‘pale faces’ went west of the Mississippi and took 139,000,000 acres from the ‘savages’.

It was believed that the solution to the “Indian problem” was to lock them up in concentration camps called reservations, and for that they were assigned arid and uninhabitable lands for the white; But they were also stripped of them, and their game animals were exterminated by the ‘Buffalo Bills’ – in 1878 alone they killed five million buffaloes.

They then came to be supported by government provisions and by annual allowances in money that they lost on games or spent on rum and brandy, which they received in exchange for land.

‘Offensive and predatory’

Condemned to inertia, vice and robbery by “offensive and predatory” government agents, José Martí saw them in 1885 –as Tocqueville had seen them fifty years ago–, and they were so destitute, so poor, and so debased for the white, that President Cleveland himself relieved the conscience of the ‘pale faces’ in shuddering words: “They are drunkards and thieves because we did that to them; Well, we have to apologize for having made them drunk and thieves, and instead of exploiting and denying them, let’s give them work on their land and incentives that move them to live, that they are good, even though we have given them the right not to be ”.

It is estimated that when the Europeans arrived, there were in what is now the United States, about 1,000,000 indigenous people; in 1885 there were 300,000 survivors.

In 1900, there were 230,000; in 1970, 343,000: last descendants of a race whose heroic times were marked by the exploits of Sitting Bull and his Sioux and Cheyenne brothers in Big Horn; and those of Osceola in the swamps of Florida; and those of Jerónimo in the southwestern states; and those of Great Chief Joseph, leading the exodus of the Nez Perce from the Wallowa Valley to Canada, under harassment from the US Army; and of Sequoia, the wise chief of the Cherokee; Cochise, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, King Philip.

Brave and courageous; To speak of them is not only to speak of the Calvary of their peoples, but of honor and war to safeguard freedom and the right to live as men on the land that sustains their roots.

Columbus Day and Native Indians in America

Columbus Day

On Columbus Day, a historian recounts how colonization with its laws deceived indigenous people.

When in November 1620 the Mayflower, with its 102 ‘pilgrims’, landed on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts Bay, the native had already been on the continent for thousands of years and already knew the ‘pale face’.

From the discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus, the Dutch, French, Spanish, and English set out to explore, occupy, and exploit North America.

For that matter, Francis Drake, in 1577, took possession of California, in the name of Elizabeth I. Another pirate, Walter Raleigh, founded, in 1583, a colony north of Florida which he called Virginia (to flatter the queen who passed for being a virgin and who was her lover on duty).

In 1606, an expedition funded by the London Company to the New World founded Jamestown, the first permanent settlement of the English in North America (and to the fantasy of these lands, the site of the supposed romance of Captain John Smith and Princess Pocahontas ). In 1609, Henry Hudson, trying to find the passage to China through North America, discovered the river that bears his name.

In the spring, half of the settlers who survived the winter and who saw the Mayflower return to England were surprised by a redskin who held out his hand and said, “Welcome, Englishmen!” His name was Samoset, he introduced them to Chief Massasoit, who gave them a deer.

The Indians taught the English to fish, to prepare local food, to hunt, to sow corn: they taught them to survive in these barren lands and that in winter they were buried under thick layers of snow.

Seventeen years later, in 1637, Captain John Mason with an armed group of New England Puritans, while the Pequot slept, fell on them, locked them between the village’s own palisades and set them on fire. Five hundred Indians died that night. Later Mason said that “thanks to Divine Providence” there were one hundred and fifty more Indians in town that night than usual.

It was the first war waged by the Puritans against the Native Americans, who, to survive, until 1898, fought 108 wars against the whites.

And they lost them all, because their enemy was “innumerable and fierce”; all the more so since it claimed to be the divine instrument to “renew and reorganize” the Western world; since, being Caucasian, he was destined by the Creator to expand and to exterminate or absorb the inferior races; Only then would a law of nature be fulfilled in this sense.

The Anglo-Saxon mythical past was exalted to delirium by the English in America, to show that they came from the Germanic race from India – cradle of humanity – which, having preserved pure and primitive, after the course of the sun reached the forests Germanic to dominate the Roman Empire and then subdue the world. Not to “barbarize”, but to civilize, to reshape human society.

Wild tribes

With this pretentious ideological ballast, the Anglo-Saxons saw in those of America “degenerate tribes”, who held a land that belonged to the British colonists “by virtue of discovery” and by the “right of civilized nations to settle in occupied territory. by wild tribes, “according to the report by mr. Bell to the Congressional Indian Affairs Committee, February 24, 1830.

However, the Crown had recognized the natives’ right to land by possession and considered that this right was inalienable and imprescriptible, except in the case of voluntary sale to the Crown. The Indian tribes were given the character of nations and any seizure of their lands and any sale of them to individuals was prohibited.

Thus the Indians were safe from the malice and greed of the colonists; and “in order not to be like the Spaniards,” the English “gave” land to the natives to be converted into farms and bequeathed to their descendants.Jefferson told a delegation of Mohicans, Delawares and Munses: “… in the lands that have been given to you, begin to give each man a farm, allow him to fence it, cultivate it, build a warm home in it, and when he dies Let it belong to his wife and children … ”The Seminoles, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Cherokee were easily“ acculturated ”and accepted to live like the“ civilized ”; the others, during the post-revolutionary era, became a hindrance to westward expansion.

Since their barbarism was irredeemable, because they did not accept Christian civilization, they did not want to become farmers or sell their land, they had to be cornered, locked up, deal with them so that they would go further west the better. Since they don’t want to be farmers, let them all go to the Mississippi. Between 1815 and 1830, the Indians were systematically driven into the great river.

President Jackson, by votes of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, consented to the deportation of Indians to the reservations west of the Great River. The Cherokee – who had agreed to live as the white man wanted – and the Seminoles, as they refused to leave their lands, were compelled by force of arms to do so.

A detachment of soldiers pushed them westward through a route known to history as “the path of tears”, since four thousand Indians had to die so that farms and cities “full of blessings,” would rise over their corpses. freedom, religion, and civilization, ”as President Jackson said.

In 1781, Congress prohibited the state governments from entering into treaties with the Indians, since that would be to accept one nation within another; thus the Indian nation was definitively unknown. Through the Dawes Act, in 1887, a general allotment of land was made to the Indians: each head of the family was given a plot; the “surplus” went to the settlers.

Impact of Tribal Gaming on The Economy

Tribal Gaming

The casino gaming industry plays a significant role in any economy. It generates a huge amount of revenue that helps the economy of a country to grow and prosper. Not just that, but it also generates dozens of job opportunities for people.

Today, in this post, we are going to discuss deeply the impact of tribal gaming on the US economy.

Casino Industry & Economy

The casino industry makes an important contributor to the state and as well as national economies. It contributes to a number of economic activities including wages, taxes, jobs, spending, and other government capital and revenue investment.

The tribal gaming sector generates about 45% of all gaming revenue in the U.S. This makes it a significant driver of economic activity.

American Gaming Association (AGA) published a detailed study of the state-by-state economic impact of casino gaming in the United States.

This is the second time that AGA has conducted such a comprehensive study on the same topic. The data released by them allows for a detailed state-by-state analysis of the impact of casino gaming on the economy.

Coming to the research, the main contributor to the study is Meister Economic Consulting. They conducted the study on behalf of AGA and measured the fiscal and economic impacts of Class II and Class III tribal gaming on the state economies and the U.S.

The study is based on tribal gaming data that was used in the 2018 Edition of the Indian Gaming Industry Report. This includes non-gaming revenue, gaming revenue, and even gaming-related revenue shared by tribes to local, state, and federal governments. The study relies on the tribal gaming data of 2016.

Surprisingly the gaming revenue goes hand-in-hand with the trending video games of that time. For example in 2017 the immensely popular game called “Fortnite” was launched. In the peroid after that, the gaming revenue sky-rocketed!

Tribal Gaming Industry & Growth

Tribal gaming is managed and operated by Native American tribes under federal law. Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), gaming is described as a “means of promoting tribal economic development, tribal governments, and self-sufficiency.

Tribes have always used gaming profits in accordance with IGRA to:

  • Promote the operations of tribal government operations.
  • Support tribal economic and social programs and services including education, health care, housing assistance, vocational training, public safety, elderly care, youth programs, cultural, transportation, and natural resource services.
  • Providing funds for the development of other tribal organizations.
  • Contribute to charitable causes.
  • Make payments to local governments.

Over the years, the tribal gaming industry has grown tremendously. Today, it has emerged as a significant component of the casino industry.

Since the time IGRA was passed in 1988, tribal gaming has expanded 300-fold. It has gone up from a 121 million segment, consisting of small gaming facilities and bingo halls, to a $30 billion-plus segment in 28 states that include several resort destination casinos.

Tribal gaming generates more than 44% of all gaming revenue in the casino industry. The main casino revenue states include tribal gaming: California, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma, and Washington. Despite all this, the tribal gaming industry is often misunderstood. This is mainly because of regulatory, legal, political, and economic complexities. Even limited available data for the public is also to be blamed.

Economic & Fiscal Impact Of Tribal Gaming

Tribal casinos are known to contribute both directly and indirectly to an array of economic activities. This include:

  • Expenditures by tribal casinos
  • Jobs at tribal casinos
  • Tribal governments
  • The tribes operating the casinos
  • Suppliers and other businesses down the supply chain
  • Taxes on economic activities
  • Wages paid to casino employees
  • Household expenditures by employees of all impacted governments and businesses
  • Payments by tribes to state, local and federal governments

Tribal gaming exists in 28 states in the US. The top five states that are impacted by the said industry in terms of jobs, output, and wages are Florida, California, Washington, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

These states remained on the top even in terms of direct payments or tax revenue. However, Arizona was replaced by Connecticut.

The impact of the tribal gaming industry varies widely from state to state. This results from the difference in the performance and number of gaming facilities. Besides, there are other contributing factors too which include types of gaming offered, market conditions, types of non-gaming amenities available, the maturity level of markets, the economy, and competition. Even management of gaming facilities, political and legal environments are also considered to be contributing factors.

The states with the largest number of tribal gaming facilities include Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota, California, and Wisconsin.

About The Author

This research work is done by Dr. Meister, who happens to be the Principal Economist at Nathan Associates. He is an expert in the application of economic analysis to public policy, regulatory, business planning and operations, and litigation matters.

He has spent most of his life conducting various studies and analyzing economic issues related to the gaming industry. In fact, he has also analyzed the Indian gaming industry including racinos, commercial casinos, online gaming, and card rooms.

His consulting work includes market and industry analyses, feasibility analysis, economic and fiscal impact studies, evaluations of regulations, public policy analysis, and much more.

Just so you know he was previously commissioned by the National Indian Gaming Commission to analyze the economic effects of proposed regulatory changes.

He has spent years on scholarly research related to the gaming industry. Along the way, he has also published a number of writings. One of his most notable works is his annual study, the Indian Gaming Industry Report. This has been cited by the United States Supreme Court.

To date, he has presented his work at various professional, academic, and industry conferences. Not just that, but his scholarly and consulting works have also been used in different matters in the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Department of the Interior, and World Trade Organization. He is known to head the Indian Gaming consulting activities at Nathan Associates.

Conclusion

From the above study, we can conclude that the tribal gaming industry is crucial for the development of the US economy. It is one of the largest sources of revenue and job opportunities for 28 states in the country.

American Indian Customs

Happy native american girl

There are 574 Native American Indian tribes living in the United States today. From the Apache tribe to the Cherokee tribe, passing through the Comanche tribe, the Kiowa tribe, the Potawatomi tribe, the Sioux tribe, the Paiute tribe, the Yakama tribe, the Chippewa tribe or the Houma tribe, among many others. Many of them are in synergy with the rest of the Americans, while at least half live on Indian reservations from which to preserve their ancestral cultures. These are cultures with many shared customs.

Native American Indians

As we said before, there are hundreds of North American Indian tribes. This implies that we can see very different cultures and customs among many of them. In fact, in 2008 the number of speakers of Native American languages was 373,949, divided into up to 135 different native languages! As we can see, variety is an inherent feature of North American Indian culture. A variety that faces problems of survival since many of these languages is spoken by only a few inhabitants.

Sacred drums during spiritual singing

The customs of the North American Indians

In this article, we will not discuss the specific customs of any tribe. Nor will we discuss the customs that may have survived the passage of centuries. Instead, we will focus on the customs of the Native Americans at the times when we Westerners came in contact with them. For example, the custom of naming newborns with a name provided by their grandparents. Later on, when I was growing up, I received a new name with much more significance and value. A name now forever.

Another custom of the American Indian tribes was to keep the umbilical cord of the babies. Once it was dry, it was covered by sage and aromatic herbs and was kept in a leather box and placed beside the crib to serve as an amulet. As for the marriage, the bride and groom always had to request the consent of the bride’s parents. A request that was accompanied by gifts. The marriage could be broken and both parties could remarry. The children remained with her.

Also very characteristic were the group dances, one of the customs of the American Indians that have transcended from the tribes to the rest of the world. Group dances as varied as the dance of the bison, the dance of the rain or the dance of the sun. All of them aimed at requesting things from nature itself. The same happens with the offerings and the fasts that the shamans, religious leaders of the tribes, directed. It was another way of seeking the favor of nature, with which indigenous peoples have always been very connected.

As far as the clothing customs of the Native American Indians are concerned, we have little new to add. The fact is that cinematography and photography have recorded this very well during this last century. However, it should be added that, as we pointed out earlier, each tribe is unique and has its own characteristics. Also when it comes to dressing. In general, they used to use deer and bison skins for the women’s pants and dresses. During the ceremonial acts they added feathers and more ornaments to the clothing.

American Indians today

There are currently 562 federally recognized tribal governments in the United States. These governments have the right to set their own membership requirements, to levy taxes, and to exclude people from their natural territory. However, they have the same limitations as state governments. As for Native American customs today, one that remains very much alive is the Pow-wow, a great gathering of many of the native tribes of the North American continent.

Contact us!