Cover image for The urban Indian experience in America
The urban Indian experience in America
Fixico, Donald Lee, 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 251 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
The relocation program -- Stereotypes and self-concepts -- Retention of traditionalism -- Economic conditions and housing -- Alcoholism in the cities and border towns -- Health care and illnesses -- Pan-Indianism and sociopolitical organizations -- Survival schools and higher education.
Reading Level:
1430 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E98.U72 F57 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As the first ethnohistory of modern urban Indians, this perceptive study looks at Indians from many tribes living in cities throughout the United States.

Author Notes

Donald L. Fixico is director of the Indigenous Nations Studies Program and professor of history at the University of Kansas.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In this ambitious undertaking, Fixico, director of the Indigenous Nations Studies Program and a professor of history at the University of Kansas, tries to cover the Indian urban experience since the 1940s by mapping the Indian diaspora from the reservations to large cities in the United States. His approach is more narrative than statistical, presenting Indian urban experiences through a nonlinear, ethnohistorical approach that includes oral histories from a variety of Native Americans. He divides his ethnohistory into ten chapters covering such issues as relocation, stereotypes, alcoholism, the Indian middle class, and the urban Indian identity crisis, a discussion at which he excels. He approaches this crisis in many ways, most successfully through anecdote, but could have strengthened his study with more up-to-date data. A Native American himself, Fixico writes with respect and empathy for his subject, concluding that while the book may attempt to cover too much, "the generic term `urban Indian' and the false impression about this group of people compel this study to reveal and attempt to explain [their] personal struggle."DVicki L. Toy-Smith, Univ. of Nevada, Reno (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Fixico, himself an urban Indian and professor of history, focuses on the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Relocation Program, 1951-73. Contrary to stereotypes, urban Indians, who in the mid-20th century made up less than half of all enrolled American Indians in the US, had increased to two-thirds by 1990. Fixico details the chronology of the Relocation Program and interpolates vignettes and quotes from Indians involved in it. The chapters are topical--economics, health, education, alcoholism, pan-Indian organizations including urban Indian centers, the rise of an Indian middle class--resulting in recapitulations of basic material on policy, dates, cities involved, and problems. In spite of the author's efforts to provide the human stories and his own evident feeling for people struggling against bureaucracy and lack of "social capital" (white skin, "white" behavior, education, constructive urban social support), the topical format works against engaging the reader. Caution: Fixico cites the notion that Indians are "right-brained"; this is not "debated theory," but has been conclusively shown to be untrue. This book is useful, but the in-depth narrative of Joan Weibel-Orlando's Indian Country, L.A. (1991, rev. ed., 1999), although concentrating on Los Angeles, better renders the "urban Indian experience." All collections. A. B. Kehoe University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
1. The Relocation Programp. 8
2. Stereotypes and Self-Conceptsp. 26
3. Retention of Traditionalismp. 43
4. Economic Conditions and Housingp. 69
5. Alcoholism in the Cities and Border Townsp. 86
6. Health Care and Illnessesp. 107
7. Pan-Indianism and Sociopolitical Organizationsp. 123
8. Survival Schools and Higher Educationp. 141
9. Rise of the Indian Middle Classp. 161
10. The Urban Indian Identity Crisisp. 172
Notesp. 191
Bibliographyp. 223
Indexp. 243