In the last half of the 20th Century, a government program that was little known at the time and is largely forgotten today created the largest movement of Indians in American history. The final scope and meaning of this massive social experiment is still impacting native peoples today.


Relocatees were supposed to receive temporary housing, counseling and guidance in finding a job, permanent housing, community and social resources. The new migrants also were given money to tide them over on a sliding scale based on the number of children in the facilitate’s what they were promised. Some found that the promises were not kept. Not every relocatee found a job, and those that did were generally at the lower end of the economic lateralized more decided to return to their reservation. But over the years, it’s estimated that as many as 750,000 Native Americans migrated to the cities between 1950 and 1980.
—excerpt of an article from Indian Country Diaries,, accessed on July 27, 2011, reprinted by permission

The Installation and Project

"Relocation" is an Installation (currently on display in the Reinberger Gallery in The Cleveland Institute of Art) depicting the layers of industry and history "covering" the story of Relocation to the Cleveland area.The installation consists of a series of photographs and the first of the stories collected for an oral history of Relocation in Cleveland.

Acknowledgements and Thanks

We wish to thank the following individuals, businesses and organizations for their generous support of this project:

The American Indian Education Center Robert Roche and Margerie Sanchez-Meade,


Dodd Camera & Video

Margaret Baughman, Director Photo Collection, Cleveland Public Library Thomas Edwards, Director, Map Collection, Cleveland Public Library Cuyahoga County Archives

The Cleveland Memory Project at Cleveland State University

Strategic Glass Recycling

Marcia Kren and all the people at Vista Color Imaging

Gene Kassai

Jane Baeslach

Kidist Getachew

Sally Gayton

black pebbles