An indigenous reservation in a settler domain: David Hugill, ‘Metropolitan Transformation and the Colonial Relation: The Making of an “Indian Neighborhood” in Postwar Minneapolis’, Middle West Review, 2, 2, 2016, pp. 169-199


Excerpt: East Franklin Avenue emerged as one of South Minneapolis’ principal commercial corridors at the end of the nineteenth century. Early residents tend to remember the area affectionately. One who spent her youth on East Franklin in the first decades of the twentieth century described it as the attractive center of a tightly knit urban community, a place that “came alive” with the bustle of salubrious commerce in and around meticulously maintained family-run shops. Yet such fond reminiscences jar with the descriptions of East Franklin that began to appear in local publications in the decades following World War II. By the mid-1950s, mass suburbanization had begun to hasten the decline of vast stretches of the city’s urban core and East Franklin had begun to suffer some of the most deleterious effects of metropolitan reorganization.

Local journalists took note of these changes and were soon filing dispatches that described the area as an emergent urban slum, teeming with conspicuous signs of economic insecurity and decline. Indigenous people were often at the center of these reports, increasingly associated with the area and counted among the ranks of an inner-city population that had been largely excluded from the spoils of postwar prosperity. In the period following 1945, the Twin Cities Indigenous population grew substantially; while the number of Indigenous people living in Minneapolis and St. Paul numbered only a few hundred at the start of the war, it mushroomed to more than six thousand by the formal end of hostilities in Europe and the Pacific.

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