Authors: National Council of Urban Indian Health
Publication Year: 2008
Last Updated: 2016-04-21 16:07:12
Keywords: research proposal, urban indian history, uihp, urban indian health programs, recognition, common definition, american indian, american indian, indian
As an ever evolving entity, Indian Country was formed with many sovereign nations and communities within the United States; its geographically and culturally varied nature created multiple governmental dynamics through the years. Thus a series of different development initiatives evolved into a complex political, legal and cultural system. A system that was heavily influenced by the US Governments decisions and funding. The strength of its cultural values, as well as the deeply entrenched life principles, however, made Indian Country evolve different than what the US Government had planned. American Indians did not blend into the melting pot-- not even in the most pressing economic and social situations. Moreover, Indians did not remain constrained to reservation lands. Forced and voluntary mass migration on Indian people to urban and semi-urban settings took place in the last forty years. This has resulted in an expansion of Indian presence beyond tribal lands and, in fact, Urban Indian communities are the perfect synthesis of both the proof of how strong Indian Identity is (regardless of location and circumstances); and also a proof that the Indian paradigm needs to evolve at the same pace as its population.
Recent collaboration has opened doors for leaders in both communities to initiate a dialogue and discuss the extent in which Indian Country has grown and howthat is, who should be counted as one of us and who shouldnt? Who would be counted as an official citizen of Indian Country? For years this question remained untouched, latent--- left alone--- given the multifaceted and sensitive aspects it entails: sovereignty, identity, culture, education, healthcare, government funds, etc. However, current legislative events, the congressional support of Urban Indian and Tribal communities as well as the increasing population, made it clear that a discussion on this topic is not only compelling but also urgent to keep advancing together, as the one Indian Country that we are. Henceforth, in a spirit of brotherhood the National Council of Urban Indian Health would like to hereby open up a frank and straightforward academic discussion with the National Congress of American Indians as the first step to close the ideological gap separating both communities; and as a way to increase the possibilities for benefits for all of Indian Country as the one entity we collectively represent.
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