a Native American By Stephanie Siek, CNN (CNN) The recent controversy over Massachusetts congressional candidate Elizabeth Warren Native American ancestry, wherethe campaign of her opponent for a senate seatcalled for her to release documentsclaiming her Cherokee ancestry, has caused some to ask: What makes someone Native American? And who gets to make that determination? it the tribe's right to determine who its citizens are and are not.
If we don know (whether someone is American Indian), we can ask the tribe, said Julia Good Fox, professor of American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University. Good Fox furthermore points out that citizenship is distinct from ancestry. Tribes have the sovereign right to determine who is and isn a citizen, just as France and the United States have their ownrules about citizenship. Anyone can claim ancestry, but those who do so can always claim citizenship, Good Fox said. Determining who is and isn a member of a tribe can be complicated, and the answers don't always come in a binary form of or Part of the reason such determinations can be controversial is because tribes own rules for establishing membership can vary widely. Many tribes use parentage as a means of defining membership. Known as quantum, the practice defines tribal membership according to the degree of blood belonging to that tribe. For example, a person with one grandparent belonging to one tribe and three grandparents not belonging to that tribe would be considered to have a quantum of one quarter. The minimum amount of blood quantum required can be as little as one thirty second (equivalent to one great great great grandparent) or as high as one half (equivalent to one full blooded tribal parent). But it hasn always been that way, says Renee Holt, a doctoralstudentat Washington State University who studiescultural studies and social thought in education. Her research of different traditional indigenous tribal practices indicates that most tribes did not use bloodquantum as the primary determinant of who was a member and who was not. In the case of the Nez Perce tribe, of which Holt is a member, belonging to the tribe meant you spoke the language and followed cultural practices. One did notnecessarily have to be of 100%Nez Perceblood to be part of the tribe cultural affinity was considered more important. As an example, Holt mentions her uncle, who was adopted as a boy by her great grandmother and raised alongside her aunt. The uncle lived among the tribe throughout his life, spoke Nez Perce fluently, had a traditional tribal name, and participated in ceremonies and rituals. He was white but his skin color didn prevent him from being considered a member of the tribe. Upon his death, he was given a traditional funeral. just thought that was amazing. How do you tell pandora birthday charms somebody like that that they not Nez Perce? asked Holt. Good Fox said that using blood quantum as a criterion for tribal membership is a fairly recent concept. quantum was imposed upon the tribes by the United States. We never had blood quantum a thousand years ago, said Good Fox, who is herself a member of the Pawnee tribe. Some historians believe thiswas a way of diminishing the number of Native Americans that the government would then be obligated to count when calculating federal money and landdisbursed to the tribes. Among some 19th and early 20th century politicians, therewas also the hope that eventually, Native Americans would intermarry and assimilate with whites to the point that they would no longer have the power of a cohesive group and would no longer have a right to land and monetary payments from the government. Senator from Delaware, in 1895congressional testimony. Many tribes began using blood quantum after the passage of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which allowed tribes to establish their own governments. But others continued to define membership in other ways including by lineal descent (being able to prove that you had an ancestor listed as a member of that tribe, regardless of your actual percentage of tribal blood), residence on tribal lands, knowledge of tribal language and culture, or membership in a recognized clan. It an issue that Holt is personally invested in being one quarter Nez Perce,she's at the minimum threshold for membership in the Nez Perce tribe with which she is enrolled,according to current rules. Her children are also one quarter Nez Perce, and if they marry someone outside the tribe, their children Holt grandchildren would be unable to claim membership despite their connection to Nez Perce culture. my children do not have family with a Nez Perce, I won't have any Nez Perce grandchildren, Holt said. there's a sadness there, there a hopeless feeling that it ending with me; it going to end with them. I tell my children, must be with a Nez Perce you start thinking like that, you going crazy. Fox said thepopular perception of Native Americans is rooted in stereotypes the idea that a Indian looks and acts a certain way, and that pandora australia sale anyone who doesn conform to that image is somehow Indian. But the truth is more diverse different tribes can have different physical pandora build a bracelet characteristics, and intermarriage among other ethnic groups mean that Native Americans often have a multiracial background. think people still have this perception that all American Indians look like this image of Plains Indians from the 1800s, said Good Fox. don't look like how we would have 200 years ago either, so to expect Indians to look the same (as they did then) makes no sense. this ignorance about Native American citizenship, said Good Fox. what are we learning about American Indians grades K 12? It all in past tense, and we don't get a sense of what an Indian today looks like. That can really be confusing to people. I have had Ancestors on both sides of every major battle ever fought in America. I don put any more value on one over the other, they are all a part of my story. Immigrants are the story of America and I feel fortunate that my family have found husbands and wives with almost every wave of immigration except the Asian ones. Perhaps my children will add them to our story. May 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm I hate the 1/32 cherokee or 1/64th chippewa thing. We are Ojibwe, Chippewa is what whites call themselves to feel better about themselves. Point is, like I said, proof is in the living. Being is more than just labeling yourself. it is deeply rooted in you, your family, and even how you place your feet upon the Earth. Read the writings of a great leader and intellectual named OHIYESA, or Charles Eastman. his boarding school name. He, in the early 1900s and late 1800s, established thee (in my opinion) fundamental understanding of ideals and paradigms for living in poetic and finite volumes written in educated English to be analyzed and fully understood by non Aboriginal Americans. Therein, I suggest, you may find the to bridging the gaps between us. In all this social and political jargon, remember good people; We are all five fingered beings made in the image of a great and holy Godhead. You, from the moment of conception to death, have been given holy breath it was breathed into you through your mouth and nose and passed out of you from the top of your head (hair whorl), your finger tips, and bottom of your feet. Thus the wind swept patterns there. This is given pandora charms back, with your last breath. We live the same. We die the same. younf. Old. Sick. Healthy. this is what we, Dine, refer to as: iina. (Life path crude translation) We all the same. Get over yourselves.
May 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm My Native American brothers and sisters, There is something very important that I would like to point out to you. I identify as black, but there have long been stories handed down in my family that several of my ancestors were Carib and Cherokee, that they had actually run to the black communities to flee persecution by whites. Because black people had also experienced a lot of racism and persecution, we understood and mostly welcomed Native Americans into our communities during those times.
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