Food Pile & How (not) To End Native Poverty (Indian Relocation Act of 1956)

Good health is a major issue for Native Americans, and the first part of that is eating right. That’s why in this edition of the Native Radio Podcast we start with a food pile, where we talk about how to get your kids to eat more vegetables (the answer:more colorful options), how to keep your teeth white without chemical treatments, and what pregnant moms can do to have smarter kids (eat more bacon and eggs). Then it turns out that while soda consumption has been on the decline over the years, diet sodas have been declining even sharper. I guess folks finally realized ‘diet’ soda isn’t going to actually do anything to help you lose weight, AND it tastes terrible!Then finally we go over some ‘healthy’ foods that are anything but. things like vegetable chips, nutrient enhanced waters, and muffins.

Listen to today’s show in its entirety by downloading the audio file here directly.

In the second segment, we discuss How To End Native Poverty: Let’s say you’re in charge, and the natives need money and access to services. How do they get it, if most of them live on remote reservations? Maybe you can help them move. And what if people like living on the reservation? why not make the move assistance voluntary? That way the people moving can do so only if they choose to themselves? Assistance can include things like relocation transportation, transportation of household goods, money to buy new household items, funds to purchase tools & equipment for apprentice workers, medical insurance for workers and their dependents, and even tuition for night school. Great idea right? That is exactly what the Indian Relocation act of 1956 was all about. Oh, it was also about completely dissolving federal recognition of these tribes, elimination of federal funding for the schools, hospitals, the jobs those facilities provided, and all basic services on the reservation – which now of course no longer existed. After all, if there is no further recognition of the tribe, it doesn’t need a reservation any more either does it? Of course, people could still choose to live out there and not move to the city. When the natives did decide to move (as though they had any choice) everything was awesome from that point forward. Except of course for the high levels of job discrimination and the low paying jobs with very little opportunity for advancement. Plus of course the typical higher living expenses that come along with city living, and the inability to return to the no longer existing reservations. Oh, and guess what? Lower cost housing is usually in the first areas targeted for urban renewal (after all, who likes drug infested neighborhoods that are falling apart?) which resulted in housing developments being torn down and replaced with office buildings, freeways, and commercial developments. Great for the city, not so great for the folks facing further instability in their lives.

But this isn’t about the awfulness. This about the great people and organizations that take such a terrible situation and make it their mission in life to help. Minneapolis was one of the first cities chosen to send these natives to, and in the ’70s became the headquarters for the national American Indian Movement where they still are today. In many cases, they were able to pressure the federal government into returning native sovereignty to tribes that had lost it. They are also very active in the Little Earth of the United Tribes housing project, the only HUD subsidized housing project which gives preferences to Native Americans. There you can find spray painted murals of Indian Chiefs, brightened walkways, and pedestrian bridges. And while like most housing projects, it is a magnet for drugs and crime, it also provides a sense of community for the residents.

Public schools with a Native American focus exist there, where children depicted on the walls and in teaching materials have dark skin and long hair, and teachings from the elders are found on the walls. These people are working hard to help lift up the natives who live there, and we believe that is an amazing and wonderful endeavor. We want to encourage you to support this fine organization, and donate to them using this link. You can find out more at

Download the full audio file here, and listen to more STIMULATING Native talk radio. Share the show with your friends and other natives!

Cliff and Brandon are both registered members of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and host the Tribal Podcast each and every week with all our past episodes available online. They talk about native issues in the news and anything of interest to Native Americans! Comment on this show via Facebook, or email us directly at

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