From Exile to Convergence

  • A. J. Jaffe


Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, each tribe was a separate nation beholden only unto itself, as was the situation among all people during most of mankind’s history. Each tribe controlled whatever territory it could, for hunting and fishing, gathering wild plants, and agriculture. As a result, territorial boundary lines were probably always in flux as military adventures succeeded or failed. Some tribes disappeared, and new tribes appeared. A constant theme, as nearly as history can be reconstructed, was intertribal warfare.


Native Language Nineteenth Century Mother Tongue Rural Dweller Decennial Census 


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  1. 1.
    All Indian reservations contain about 50 million acres (U.S. Statistical Abstract, 1976, Table 346). There are about 200 reservations as nearly as we can ascertain, from the BIA 1982 Population and Labor Force Estimates. BIA uses at least three terms: reservation, agency, and rancheria. We were unable to find an “official” number of reservations issued by the BIA.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The most general definition of urban as used by the U.S. Census is: a contiguously built-up area containing 2,500 people or more; all other areas are rural In Canada, the minimum population to be classified as urban may be as low as 1,000. Each census has its own specifications tailored to local conditions, but follow the general definition as given above.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    1870 Census, p. xvii; and 1910 Census, p. 253.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The 1970 Census reported 750,000 Indians in the 48 coterminous states, of whom 335,000 lived in urban areas, and 415,000 in rural areas (Population Census (2)—IF, Table 1). The number 415,000 is close to that reported by the BIA as living on or adjacent to reservations (1971 report).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The U.S. Census Bureau defines Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas as follows: “The general concept ... is one of a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities which have a high degree of economic and social integration with that nucleus. . . . Each SMSA has one or more central counties containing the area’s main population concentration: an urbanized area with at least 50,000 inhabitants” (PC 80–1-C1, p. A.3).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See also L. C. Kelly 1983, pp. 141 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    We assume that this means “detribalization,” however that word may be defined, but have not found any specific definition that the census may have had.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The proportion who were able to speak English increases from about 62% among the older generation to about 83% among the younger. The 1910 census (pp. 232 ff.) provides no numbers for “able to speak English.”Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rainfall west of this line is too little to have attracted settlers as long as better watered land had been available.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A migrant is one who crosses a boundary line. The closer the boundary lines are to each other the greater is the “volume” of migration. And the smaller each unit is—for example, a state in the United States as compared with a province in Canada—the more boundary lines there are. All data on migration are fictitious.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    The distinction between status and nonstatus was promulgated in the First Indian Act of 1876 passed by the Canadian Parliament.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    There is a legal distinction between these two types of Indian “homelands,” but both are equally ghettos. 13 The proportions reported by the decennial censuses are: 1951, 7%; 1961, 31%; 1971, 31%;Google Scholar
  13. 1981.
    1981, 43%.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Annual reports of the Indian Affairs Branch, Ottawa. 1981 Canadian census, Population, Catalogue 92–911, Vol. 1, Table 5.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Language spoken by young people, say under 20 years of age, does not necessarily have any connection with the possibility of convergence of lifestyles. Even the most rebellious children speak the language they hear at home. However, after leaving the parental home, the language they choose to speak is more likely to reflect their degree of convergence to a different and non-parental culture. Hence, we show no information for those under age 20 in 1971. Unfortunately, we have no comparable information from the 1981 census.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Jaffe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Museum of the American IndianNew YorkUSA

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