Did you know that there are pockets of “non-civilization” within our civilized United States? And we host them, and encourage them to continue to be not-civilized. We spend significant federal dollars on maintenance of these pockets of non-civilization. Those pockets of non-civilization are called Indian Reservations, and they are everywhere in the United States. One of the main definitions of civilization is people giving their allegiance to a Nation-State instead of a clan or tribe. Out of guilt for the way the early Americans treated the natives of North America, we continue to support their tribes, when we should be urging them to get civilized, and join America.
If it were up to me, this is what I would do. I would give the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America two choices. First, they could choose to become sovereign nations within the boundaries of their Reservations. Each tribe would be given title to the land on its reservations, and to no other land. If the Cherokee wished to be the Nation of Cherokee, they would have all their reservation land for themselves. The US Treasury would also give the Tribe all the money currently held in trust for them, recognizing that they are fully-capable adult human beings, and should be able to look after themselves and their families without the Big Brother Uncle Sam doling out the money and services. All services currently provided by Uncle Sam (like the Indian Health Service, schools, etc.) would then become the responsibility of the Tribal Government. Within their own sovereign territory, they would be able to have their own police, schools, banks, and public services. They would continue to own and operate any casinos or other retail businesses for themselves, and keep all the profits therefrom for their Tribal members. They would have no future call on the taxpayers of the United States for any goods or services in their own country. And they would have the responsibility to take care of their own people, and would never be able to blame any other entity for their problems.
The second alternative would be for all Indian Tribes to be immediately disbanded, and reservations done away with. All the money currently held in trust by the United States, and all reservation land would be divided up among all tribal members. All Native Americans would become full US Citizens, with no allegiance to any entity other than the United States of America. Old Tribes would simply become social clubs, where tribal members could celebrate their heritage in any legal way they wished. Tribal property like casinos and commercial land would also be divided up among the current owners, and they would become independent businesses, subject to the rules of the area in which they operated. All businesses would be subject to the tax and laws of their respective jurisdictions, as would individuals. Without the tribe to hold their allegiance, Native Americans would be able to become truly civilized.
Do I think this could ever happen? Probably not! But it’s been over 150 years since the Europeans conquered the Natives, and it’s time they surrendered. They just might find it a pretty good deal to become real US Citizens instead of pockets of non-civilization in our very civilized country.