Braided Channels: Negotiations Spaces Within the New Deal Landscape of Fort Peck Reservation Montana, 1933-1941

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Teal, Sherry
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Middle Tennessee State University
Between 1933 and 1941, there was no place an indigenous person living on Fort Peck Reservation, Montana could turn and not see symbols of federal government control carved into the landscape through the execution of an engineer’s schematic. While the Assiniboine, Sioux, and Chippewa navigated the complexity of New Deal social programs’ effects upon their society, hundreds of white government workers from various agencies amassed on the reservation, building dams, reservoirs, wells, and irrigation works upon the traditional cultural landscape. Within the context of the federal assimilation programs targeting Native peoples in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, control of natural resources is a seldom discussed component in the narrative. This thesis examines the connections between end of allotment, federal water projects, and the ways the Native peoples of Fort Peck persisted through the changes to their traditional cultural landscape.