American Indians and the American Dream: Policies, Place, and Property in Minnesota
American Indians and the American Dream: Policies, Place, and Property in Minnesota

American Indians and the American Dream: Policies, Place, and Property in Minnesota

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Understanding the processes and policies of urbanization and suburbanization in American Indian communities

Nearly seven out of ten American Indians live in urban areas, yet studies of urban Indian experiences remain scant. Studies of suburban Natives are even more rare. Today’s suburban Natives, the fastest-growing American Indian demographic, highlight the tensions within federal policies working in tandem to move and house differing groups of people in very different residential locations. In American Indians and the American Dream, Kasey R. Keeler examines the long history of urbanization and suburbanization of Indian communities in Minnesota.

At the intersection of federal Indian policy and federal housing policy, American Indians and the American Dream analyzes the dispossession of Indian land, property rights, and patterns of home ownership through programs and policies that sought to move communities away from their traditional homelands to reservations and, later, to urban and suburban areas. Keeler begins this analysis with the Homestead Act of 1862, then shifts to the Indian Reorganization Act in the early twentieth century, the creation of Little Earth in Minneapolis, and Indian homeownership during the housing bubble of the early 2000s.

American Indians and the American Dream investigates the ways American Indians accessed homeownership, working with and against federal policy, underscoring American Indian peoples’ unequal and exclusionary access to the way of life known as the American dream.


"Crucial new insights on Indigenous place, space, and suburbanity fly off the pages of this thoroughly researched and beautifully written exploration of the intersection between federal Indian and housing policies and the lived experiences and purposeful actions of Native people in Minnesota from the mid-nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. American Indians and the American Dream inaugurates a paradigm shift in the field by transcending the urban/reservation binary."—Daniel M. Cobb, editor of Say We Are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America since 1887

"Kasey R. Keeler's book explores the history of Indigenous urbanization in the United States from the exciting and largely under-researched lens of suburbanization. Focusing on the state of Minnesota, she convincingly demonstrates American Indian individuals and families’ agency as they made pragmatic use of—but also, when necessary, grappled with the structural racism of—existing federal, state, and even municipal policy to make an Indigenously suburban place of their own."—Chris Andersen, coeditor of Indigenous in the City: Contemporary Identities and Cultural Innovation

"I highly recommend this book for its poignant and honest approach."—UP Book Review

About the Author

Kasey R. Keeler (Tuolumne Me-Wuk and Citizen Potawatomi) is assistant professor in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies and in American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ University of Minnesota Press (May 23, 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 258 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1517909252
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1517909253
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches

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