By Joy A. Bilharz
In this revealing study, Joy A. Bilharz examines the short- and long-term consequences of the relocation of the Senecas. Granted unparalleled access to members of the Seneca Nation and reservation records, Bilharz traces the psychological, economic, cultural, and social effects over two generations. The loss of homes and tribal lands was heartwrenching and initially threatened to undermine the foundations of social life and subsistence economy for the Senecas. Over time, however, many Senecas have managed to adapt successfully to relocation, creating new socialnetworks, invigorating their educational system, and becoming more politically involved on local, tribal, and national levels.
Today the Kinzua Dam is, according to Bilharz, a "potent symbol" for the Senecas. For the younger generation, faced with a reservation land shortage, it represents powerlessness, providing them with ample reasons to blame their parents and to continue to mistrust the federal and state governments. For the older generation, the risen riverbanks have acquired an almost spiritual significance. In the evenings many continue to wander down to the reservoir banks "to be near where the 'old places' used to be".