Reservations


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Reservations

 

(also, reserves), in some capitalist countries, areas set aside for the forcible settlement of the remainder of the indigenous population. There are reservations for American Indians in the USA, Canada, and Brazil, for Australian aborigines in the Commonwealth of Australia, and for Africans in the Republic of South Africa.

In the USA reservations are managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, created in 1842. In actuality, the bureau’s activities are aimed at reducing the amount of reservation land, which decreased from 138 million acres in 1887 to 43 million acres in 1961. The bureau allows private monopolies to develop the natural resources of reservations. In the 1950’s the US Congress passed a series of laws designed to abolish the reservations and evict the Indians.

In Canada the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, created in 1860, was also instrumental in reducing reservation land and turning its natural resources over to monopolies. In 1966 reservation land totaled approximately 6 million acres, regarded as the property of 230,000 Indians. In 1969 the Canadian government announced its intention to abolish the reservations.

In Australia reservations are areas inhabited by aborigines, which only government employees and authorized persons are permitted to enter. Most of the reservations are in Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory, where they occupy more than 255,000 sq km, or 130,000 sq miles. On some reserves the aborigines have to some extent preserved their traditional way of life, but on others “detribalized” aborigines —those without tribal and clan ties—have taken up a sedentary way of life, hiring themselves out as laborers or receiving assistance from charitable organizations and missions.

In the Republic of South Africa reservations occupied approximately 13 percent of the country’s territory in 1970, and in this area lived about one-third of the country’s African population. In the early 1960’s the country’s racist government proceeded to organize Bantustans (Bantu Homelands), such as Transkei, Ciskei, and Kwazulu, by combining small reservations. The African population officially enjoys certain rights only on its own territory; in other parts of the country, declared “white areas,” Africans have only “temporary visiting” status. In the Republic of South Africa, the Bantustans constitute an important reservoir of cheap labor, and the workers living in these areas are deprived of basic human rights.

The American Indians, Africans, and Australian aborigines who have been driven onto reservations are waging a valiant and persistent struggle against discrimination. They are fighting for their rights to their ancient lands or for equitable compensation for forcibly seized territories. A notable example is the armed uprising in 1973 of American Indians in the settlement of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, USA.

REFERENCES

Kabo, V. R. “Sovremennoe polozhenie aborigenov Avstralii.” Sovetskaia etnografiia, 1962, no. 5.
Bunting, B. Stanovlenie iuzhno-afrikanskogo reikha. Moscow, 1965. Pages 368, 372. (Translated from English.)
Natsional’nye problemy Kanady. Moscow, 1972.
Nalsional’nye protsessy v SShA. Moscow, 1973.
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