US federal policies have worked continuously to erode the rights of indigenous peoples both as members of their own sovereign nations and as citizens within the United States. Beginning with the Indian Removal Act of 1830, indigenous people were forcibly removed from their lands and onto reservations, where they were closely controlled by federal, state, and local governments. The passing of the subsequent Homestead and Dawes Acts sanctioned the selling of lands to European-Americans who traveled west to settle, willfully ignoring all those who were already inhabiting them. In 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act was passed, granting all indigenous people citizenship to United States, though over 500 tribes are still not officially recognized by the federal government, directly limiting their rights and legislative processes as sovereign nations.
Danika Cooper is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work focuses on giving expression to underrepresented materials and geographies in the practice, theory, and representation of landscape architecture. Currently, her research explores the relationship between water management and weather patterns in the world’s deserts. danikacooper.com | @danikacooper