10.10.16: Native American Land Rights, Fantasy Maps, & The Hurricane of '38

Oct 10, 2016

Poverty, suicide, and alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the two million Native Americans in the U.S. -- and at crisis levels on reservations. On today’s show, we'll look into one economic impediment: property rights.

Plus, this Columbus Day we take a look at the allure and bias of maps, with a look at cartographers who create fictional maps for fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. We'll discover that a good fantasy map must be rooted in reality.

Listen to the full show: 

Native American Land Rights

The two million Native Americans living in the United States endure the highest poverty rate of any racial group in the country.  Add to that high suicide rates, pervasive problems with alcohol and drugs, rape and child abuse.  All more severe among the half of the population who live on reservations - and you have a painfully obvious crisis among North America's natives. What's less obvious are solutions - some point to broken treaties that ought to be honored, others towards racial stereotypes in American culture that ought to be banned - but Naomi Schaeffer Riley says what Native Americans need are property rights.

Naomi Schaeffer Riley is author of the New Trail Of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians. She wrote about property rights on reservations for The Atlantic.

Why Isn't Native American Food Hip?

In 2014 Southeast Asian cuisine was the new "it" cuisine. That same year, the southern Mediterranean became "a thing" -- with Turkish, Moroccan, and Iranian dishes showing up on foodie blogs and websites. Then Peruvian restaurants started showing up in cities across America. Missing among these culinary trends is one cuisine that writers - and a few entrepreneurs - have predicted is just about to hit the big time - Native American Food. At a time when simple, "back to the land", local food is decidedly on-trend, why aren't Americans seizing upon the country's truly local cuisine?

Emily Deruy is a senior associate editor covering education for The Atlantic - where she asked "Why Isn't Native American Food Hip?"  

Fantasy Maps

If you looked at maps that existed before Columbus arrived in the new world, you might assume that he was the first to "discover" the Americas - a claim disputed by evidence of Viking explorers around the year 1000. Both accounts dismiss the fact that indigenous people had been living here long before Europeans arrived. Although most of us were taught to think of maps as factual representations, the perspective and biases of every cartographer is inherent in the documents they create. But what about bias in fantasy maps?

This segment came from the podcast Imaginary Worlds and host Eric Molinsky.

Listen again: Fantasy Maps

The Hurricane of 1938

Tropical storm Irene. Hurricane Sandy.  The Blizzard of ‘78.  There are a handful of storms that New Englanders will never forget. But none compare to the hurricane of 1938 - a storm that made landfall on Long Island, and then carved an unprecedented path of destruction up through Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Hundreds were killed, and damages were in what would now be billions of dollars... But what really took the brunt of the storm were New England forests.

Stephen Long is founder and former editor of Northern Woodlands magazine - his new book is called Thirty-Eight: The Hurricane That Transformed New England