Picture the American city. You can see it and so can I: gleaming post-industrial buildings, businesspeople in suits, working-class people toiling in service jobs, de-industrialization galore. Now, picture Native Americans. Not as illustrations in history books, but alive on reservations, maybe even leading protests, out of sight but somewhere in the American hinterland. These images don’t fit together very well. For many, they are juxtaposed: The former represents the pinnacle of progress, the latter the periphery and past. Yet according to the Census Bureau seven in 10 Native Americans, or 3.7 million people, live in cities. Even among the budding Indigenous intelligentsia, there is often a disconnect between our everyday realities and the way we place and tell our stories.

In 1952, the federal government established the Urban Indian Relocation Program, which pushed Native peoples to leave reservations for jobs in cities. The...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this content.