Native Video Series: Legacy of the Reservation System

   By Helen Oliff

You may not realize this, but U.S. policies significantly affect Native American tribes – even though federally recognized tribes are deemed sovereign nations. Oppressive and systematic policies date all the way back to the formation of the reservation system – perhaps the single most crucial factor affecting life for Native Americans today. This video is about the formation of the Indian reservation system and the legacy left in its wake. This video by Katherine Stark and Nadeem Khulusi first aired on YouTube in June 2010.

What most Americans know about American Indian history ends with the reservations. Yes, the early military actions against tribes culminated in the formation of the reservation system, but the impact and legacy of the reservation system lives on today. Add to this the many treaties made and treaties broken, the ongoing underfunding of treaty obligations, and how U.S. policies have limited tribal self-determination, and you will start to glimpse the real-life impact and ongoing oppression of tribal people, economies and social conditions.

The good news is that American Indian history is still being written. You can help make the history of the future brighter by learning about policies toward the tribes and living conditions on the reservations. You can also learn more on the Resources page of our website. share with others what you felt or learned by watching this video.

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