Event—Scholarly Seminars

“Indian Homes and Indian Loans: The Housing Bubble, Suburban Indians, and the Section 184 Home Loan Program, 1990s-2010s”


This chapter examines the Section 184 Home Loan Guarantee Program, the only off-reservation home loan program for American Indian people, administered by the federal government. Initially created in 1992, the program makes home loans more accessible to tribal citizens. I juxtapose this program with the Clinton-era policies that worked to stimulate home ownership for more Americans and thus leading to the advent of subprime mortgages, the build-up to the housing bubble of the early 2000s. Access to capital and mortgages have long been marked by race and income. However, I also consider the role of geographic place (on/off reservation and at the metropolitan county level) American Indian people had access to through government and tribal homeownership programs. This chapter examines how American Indians engage in off-reservation home ownership opportunities and the role of Native-organized lending institutions both nationally and within the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, including the Shakopee Mdewakanton Community in suburban Minneapolis.

Kasey Keeler is an Assistant Professor of Civil Society and Community Studies and American Indian Studies. Her research sits at the intersection of federal Indian policy and federal housing policy, and her interests include American Indian representations, American Indian housing and community development, access to education/capital/employment for American Indians, food sovereignty, histories of place, settler colonialism, and current events across Indian Country. Her ongoing research highlights the key inequalities in access to as well as distribution of federal funds for housing more generally, but for American Indian housing and homeownership in particular. This is a rich area of study because today the majority of American Indian people live off-reservation, and home residence has significant influence on education and employment outcomes. Dr. Keeler is currently working on her book manuscript, American Indians and the American Dream, which analyzes the ways in which American Indian people have worked both against and with federal Indian policy to navigate homeownership both off- and on-reservation.