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Breaking the Bonds of People and Land: Native American Removal in the United States and Mexico

Claudia Haake, Kluge Fellow

June 12, 2008, 12:00 Noon (Whittall Pavilion, Thomas Jefferson Building)
This event is free and open to the public; no reservations or tickets are required.

The lecture will draw some general conclusions from an investigation of two cases of Native American forced migration: the Delawares in the United States and the Yaquis in Mexico. Although the basic intention behind the removal policies was the same in both countries, the ways in which they were carried out were oftentimes different. In both the Delawares and Yaquis examples, greed and land hunger on the part of the U.S. and Mexican governments appears to have been the main reasons for the forced migration of these indigenous people. Yet, variations in method, circumstances, and legality occasionally disguised the reality. While the Delaware tribe was/is a so-called domestic dependent nation and the Yaquis were at least nominally Mexican citizens, both removal policies are illustrative of colonialism in action - indigenous peoples were forced from their proprietary homelands. Clearly, the rise of the nation-state as well as periodic nation building or re-building in both countries was instrumental in bringing about the removal. Both Mexico and the United States were advancing technologically, and improvement in communications and transport contributed to the successful removal of these two tribes in a number of different ways. However, a closer look at the two cases in question suggests an increasing awareness on the part of both the U.S. and Mexican governments was the determining factor in bringing about the forced migrations.

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