Native American Recognition Essay

1255 words - 6 pages

A Past Forgotten
Centuries ago a people filled and roamed the North American continent with an easy freedom and uncommon respect for the surrounding land. Nature and man intertwined in gracious style and extraordinary equilibrium. These people known as Native Americans led an amazing interdependent lifestyle with their habitat that unfortunately cannot be found in today's busy age. These beautiful people with their mysterious and fascinating ways were devastatingly wiped out with the arrival and inhabitance of foreign peoples. Today the Native Americans' existence is scarce and the knowledge of them is even less. The land that is so commonly known as "America: home of the free" is ...view middle of the document...

Attempts to correct the unfairness and to compensate the Indian population can frequently be referenced throughout recent history. The National Congress of American Indians (NCIA) is the largest and oldest organization that strives to bring more recognition to the health, welfare and self-determination among the Indian nations. (Issues) In return for vast Indian lands and resources ceded to the United States, the Federal government made certain promises to Indian tribes including the protection of Indian lands from encroachment, as well as promises to provide in perpetuity various goods and services such as health care, education, housing, and the continued right to self-government. (Issues) Several Acts have been put into place in order to protect and compensate the Native people. The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 was the most significant breakthrough in addressing the housing needs of American Indians. (Allen) This provided direct funding to the Indian governments in order to prevent waste and bureaucratic inefficiency and to allow the tribal governments to address priorities. More housing and funding programs are constantly being provisioned and revised to the best interests of those living on the reservations.
Land trusts have been devoted to preserve sacred burial grounds and to expand and protect the existing reservations. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted 1990. Congress' intent in enacting NAGPRA was to ensure that Native American human remains and sacred objects retained by the federal, state, and local governments, universities, and the museum community are returned to the appropriate tribes and/or descendants. The law also ensures that burial sites on tribal and federal lands are properly protected. (Stevens) Exclusions from certain taxes have helped the economic status of the native population, along with trust funds, accounts, and gaming laws allowing for casino attractions. Although still regulated by the Federal government, Native Americans have been allowed to form their own government and laws in turn isolating them from typical American life. As the years go by, more and more recognition is being sought for this so long forgotten group that is such a special part of the American history.
Although attempts to reconcile have been made, they are far from what could be done and have often been corrupted. Land preservation movements have succeeded in their purpose to preserve native land, but the amount is miniscule in scale. Of the 90 million acres of reservation land taken by the government, only a fractional ten percent has been returned to Indian ownership. (Issues) The housing plans that were provisioned to improve the lifestyle on the reservations do not even live up to standard poverty level. A small number of Indian tribes have found economic success...

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