October 07, 2010

Texas neighborhood nicknamed "Reservation"

Some in Richardson neighborhood oppose 'Reservation' name for proposed signage

By Ian McCann A group of Richardson residents is working to keep a widely recognized name for their neighborhood off proposed signage.

They say calling their neighborhood the Reservation is controversial and possibly offensive to American Indians. The neighborhood association is expected to resolve the issue later this month.

Neighborhood leaders, while acknowledging the injustice of past treatment of American Indians, said reservations no longer hold the same negative connotation they once may have had.

"This is what the neighborhood has been known as for 45 years," association president Darrell Day said. "We're sensitive to their concern. We mean absolutely no disrespect for the American Indian community."

In a written statement, a group of people pushing for the change said they supported using the area's legal description, Estates North. The neighborhood, located near Arapaho and Coit roads, has been called Reservation because streets within it are largely named for tribes--for example, Cherokee and Seminole.

"We understand that invoking references to American Indian history is controversial," the group said. "For this reason alone, we feel that our neighborhood should adopt a moniker that is noncontroversial. In this way, we can ensure that we remain respectful to all people either living in or passing through our city."
Comment:  Yes, "Reservation" would be a good name to change or avoid using. I'm sure many Americans think of reservations as cesspools of poverty and crime, so there's that. Someone who hears the name won't automatically think, "Oh, a place where respected and honored Indians live."

I'm sure many Indians take pride in their reservations, but they also recognize the injustices that created them. Recall that the US government forced many Indians to sign away their freedom and confine themselves to reservations. The US military made sure they stayed there. Indians may want to celebrate their survival--the lives they've made in their new homes. But it's not something anyone else should be celebrating.

It would be like calling a predominantly white neighborhood the Hood (like a black neighborhood) or the Ghetto (like a Jewish neighborhood). Again, blacks and Jews might celebrate their own neighborhoods with such a name, but they would recognize its double-edged meaning. "They" forced us to live here, they might think, but we made something positive of it.

That's not something a white neighborhood adopting the name Reservation, Hood, or Ghetto can claim.

Celebrating captive Indians

What's the real message of streets named for chiefs and a neighborhood named "Reservation"? It's about the same as that of an Indian mascot. These people are celebrating primitive chiefs of the past. Indians confined to reservations. America "settled" with no more Indian "trouble." America at peace with white people on top.

In other words, more of our national myth-making. Our triumphal march to victory over the godless devils. We came, we saw, we conquered, and now we graciously acknowledge our fallen foes. Which proves how mighty and noble our spirit is.

For more on the subject, see "Reservation" Out, "Tee Pee" and "Indians" In and Why Americans Exploit Indians.

Below:  We celebrate the Indian by parading him like a tame bear.


Anonymous said...


That's for you Rob

Burt said...

“reservations no longer hold the same negative connotation they once may have had.”

Interesting how a bunch of non-natives can get together and decide what does and does not offend Indians. Saying that and thinking these people are not really representative of Texas and its historical ignorance towards its native history and current treatment of tribes through legislation and theft of resources, does it ever occur to them to ask reservation tribes themselves?

White people seem to want it both ways. On one side you have the Tea Party people convinced that ALL tribes have casinos; every Indian receives a check from the federal government forced out of every taxpayers pocket; Indians pay absolutely no taxes; have free housing; free “quality” health care and free education.

Then, you have the other side of the extreme, which is that ALL Indians live on reservations; all reservations are crime infested communities where outlaws and criminals hideout; all reservations are dirty ghettos since all Indians are alcoholics and drug addicts and all Indians are uneducated.

When non-natives start paying tribes for the use of living people’s names and culture, such as icons; mascots; consumer products; automobiles; military hardware; counties; states; rivers; mountains; roads; businesses and titles for entertainment, maybe then they will figure out that we are not dead after all and some of us are still here.

Rob said...

Thanks for that deep thought, Anonymous. Let us know when you have something intelligent to say, okay?

Rob said...

Richardson residents have stereotypical notions about Indians:


Neighborhood name stirs up passions

They call it the Reservation Homeowners Association. And "toppers" on street signs in the area say "Reservation," along with a wigwam logo.

The sign toppers created some discussion about the appropriateness of the name two years ago. But now the issue is back as the HOA proposes that new entryways into the subdivision say Reservation.


Richardson neighborhood votes to keep 'Reservation' name despite objections