Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has announced that he ”absolutely” intends to relocate people from the city’s poor neighborhoods and downsize his city. (See Detroit News story here.)
“If we don’t do it, you know this whole city is going to go down. I’m hopeful people will understand that,” Bing said in a radio interview this week. “If we can incentivize some of those folks that are in those desolate areas, they can get a better situation.”
Rob Capriccioso, in his Native Pop column for True Slant, here, terms it “a dangerous policy road.”
Already, comparisons to the U.S. government policy of American Indian relocation have popped up.
“Sounds like reservations to me; it sounds like telling people to move,”community activist Ron Scott said in a recent news report. “The citizens of the city of Detroit who built this city, the working class, didn’t create this situation. You are diminishing the constitutional options people have by contending you have a crisis.”
Just a reminder to anyone looking in from Detroit: forced relocation of tribal citizens is now considered a failed U.S. policy. At the time, for decades even, the solution seemed like a good one — the only one — to many policy makers.
But the policy ended up robbing sovereign citizens of their traditional homes and sacred land. Poverty, broken spirits, alcoholism, and many other social ills resulted.
Capriccioso reminds us we’re still paying hundreds of millions of federal dollars to cope with the after-effects of that one – and are likely to keep paying it for years to come.