A New Nation Comes to the Indian Country
The Fur Trade New Settlers Miners Ranchers Missionaries and Teachers


Indian Entrepreneurs

Organized as family enterprises and limited by the Indians’ lack of access to bank loans, tribal ranching ventures did not have access to land beyond reservation boundaries. As a result, successful Indian cattlemen could be self-sufficient, but they rarely competed with large, non-Indian cattlemen or influenced national cattle or land use policies.

These images, from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ publication Indians at Work, reflect the government’s expectation during the New Deal era of the 1930s that reservation farming and stock raising were subsistence activities that made maximum use of local resources.

“Indians Are Making Use of their Resources,” in Indians at Work, 1939.

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Newberry Library