Ambiguous tribalism: Unrecognized Indians and the federal acknowledgement process

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/279824
Title:
Ambiguous tribalism: Unrecognized Indians and the federal acknowledgement process
Author:
Miller, Mark Edwin
Issue Date:
2001
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
There are currently over two hundred Indian groups seeking recognition by Congress or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Every month, articles appear detailing recently acknowledged tribes such as the Pequot opening high stakes gaming enterprises. This study examines several once unrecognized Indian communities and their efforts to gain federal sanction through the BIA's Branch of Acknowledgment and Research or Congress. By focusing on four Indian communities, the Pascua Yaquis, the Timbisha Shoshone, the Tiguas of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the United Houma Nation, this work explores the strategies groups pursue to gain acknowledgment and the different outcomes that result. In its details, the work reveals ethnic identity in relation to the state bureaucracy while also demonstrating that groups must "play Indian" to both Indians and non-Indians to prove their racial and cultural identity. The case studies examine ethnic resurgence and cultural survival, the effects of the civil rights movement and Great Society social programs on these entities, and the historical impact of non-recognition on groups in several regions of the United States. This study also takes a broader look at federal acknowledgment policy. By analyzing the historical development of the policy and the administration of the BIA program, it ultimately concludes that the program has succeeded. While the new emphasis on recognizing tribes clearly represented a rejection of anti-tribal agendas of the past, its reliance upon written documentation and skepticism towards petitioners represents continuity in federal Indian affairs by maintaining the restrictive polices of earlier eras. Because it reflects the interest of many reservation tribes, the BIA process works as it was intended: in a slow and exacting manner, to limit the number of groups entering the federal circle. The recognition arena is thus a complicated amalgamation of modern Indian issues. Parties entering the process must maneuver complex terrain and deal with issues of scholarship and advocacy, concerns over gaming and motivations, and issues of racial and cultural authenticity. In the end, however, it is these complexities that make this study a multidimensional portrait of Indian policy, ethnic identity, and tribal politics in the post-termination era.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Anthropology, Cultural.; History, United States.; Political Science, General.; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; History
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Anderson, Karen

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleAmbiguous tribalism: Unrecognized Indians and the federal acknowledgement processen_US
dc.creatorMiller, Mark Edwinen_US
dc.contributor.authorMiller, Mark Edwinen_US
dc.date.issued2001en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThere are currently over two hundred Indian groups seeking recognition by Congress or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Every month, articles appear detailing recently acknowledged tribes such as the Pequot opening high stakes gaming enterprises. This study examines several once unrecognized Indian communities and their efforts to gain federal sanction through the BIA's Branch of Acknowledgment and Research or Congress. By focusing on four Indian communities, the Pascua Yaquis, the Timbisha Shoshone, the Tiguas of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the United Houma Nation, this work explores the strategies groups pursue to gain acknowledgment and the different outcomes that result. In its details, the work reveals ethnic identity in relation to the state bureaucracy while also demonstrating that groups must "play Indian" to both Indians and non-Indians to prove their racial and cultural identity. The case studies examine ethnic resurgence and cultural survival, the effects of the civil rights movement and Great Society social programs on these entities, and the historical impact of non-recognition on groups in several regions of the United States. This study also takes a broader look at federal acknowledgment policy. By analyzing the historical development of the policy and the administration of the BIA program, it ultimately concludes that the program has succeeded. While the new emphasis on recognizing tribes clearly represented a rejection of anti-tribal agendas of the past, its reliance upon written documentation and skepticism towards petitioners represents continuity in federal Indian affairs by maintaining the restrictive polices of earlier eras. Because it reflects the interest of many reservation tribes, the BIA process works as it was intended: in a slow and exacting manner, to limit the number of groups entering the federal circle. The recognition arena is thus a complicated amalgamation of modern Indian issues. Parties entering the process must maneuver complex terrain and deal with issues of scholarship and advocacy, concerns over gaming and motivations, and issues of racial and cultural authenticity. In the end, however, it is these complexities that make this study a multidimensional portrait of Indian policy, ethnic identity, and tribal politics in the post-termination era.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectAnthropology, Cultural.en_US
dc.subjectHistory, United States.en_US
dc.subjectPolitical Science, General.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHistoryen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorAnderson, Karenen_US
dc.identifier.proquest3023535en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b41961791en_US
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