The New Trail of Tears
How Washington Is Destroying American Indians
By Naomi Schaefer Riley
If you want to know why American Indians have the highest rates of poverty of any racial group, why suicide is the leading cause of death among Indian men, why native women are two and a half times more likely to be raped than the national average and why gang violence affects American Indian youth more than any other group, do not look to history. There is no doubt that white settlers devastated Indian communities in the 19th, and early 20th centuries. But it is our policies today–denying Indians ownership of their land, refusing them access to the free market and failing to provide the police and legal protections due to them as American citizens — that have turned reservations into small third-world countries in the middle of the richest and freest nation on earth.
The tragedy of our Indian policies demands reexamination immediately — not only because they make the lives of millions of American citizens harder and more dangerous — but also because they represent a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with modern liberalism. They are the result of decades of politicians and bureaucrats showering a victimized people with money and cultural sensitivity instead of what they truly need — the education, the legal protections and the autonomy to improve their own situation.
If we are really ready to have a conversation about American Indians, it is time to stop bickering about the names of football teams and institute real reforms that will bring to an end this ongoing national shame.
View media coverage of The New Trail of Tears
“The New Trail of Tears is a much-needed revelation of heart-breaking conditions on American Indian reservations—and of the attitudes, incentives, and politics that make the people living on those reservations even worse off than other low-income minorities, including American Indians living elsewhere in American society. The laws and policies behind these human tragedies have wider implications for welfare state assumptions and politically correct decisions, including the grossly misnamed ‘Indian Child Welfare Act.’ This book is an insightful and much-needed introduction to a subject that deserves much more public attention than it gets, both for its own sake and for what it reveals about the political and ideological climate of our time.”
“I’ve grubbed in the data regarding American Indian poverty for years, but none of my numbers will have the effect of Naomi Riley’s investigation and prose. Through clear thinking and personal accounts, she articulates why this ignored minority remains in poverty and how they can escape it. The New Trail of Tears is a must read if you care about the plight of poor people, in general, and American Indians, in particular.”
–Terry L. Anderson, author of Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations and senior fellow of The Hoover Institution at Stanford University
“Clear evidence of the tragedy that results when individual property rights are equated with group rights.”
–Amity Shlaes, presidential scholar at the Kings College and author of Coolidge and The Forgotten Man
“The New Trail of Tears is a powerful antidote to the romantic nonsense about the history of American Indian groups that pervades our school curriculum today, and a stinging indictments of the paternalistic public policies that continue to keep most Indians mired in poverty even now. Written in lively and lucid prose, it is my candidate for the book-of-the-year on racial issues in the United States.”
–Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History Emeritus at Harvard University
Published by Encounter Books
July 26, 2016
Hardcover: 184 pages