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I finished this in approximately May of 2008 and wanted to wait till the issue came up again and after I was able to let it go to discuss it. Poignantly, I wish to discuss the issue of "many simply feel they do not belong."

High Country: Blood quantum threatens tribes

Thousands of Native Americans are not enrolled in their tribes because their bloodlines have become diluted over the years, as is happening with the Comes Last family. Even some full-blooded Native Americans lack enough of any one tribe's heritage to qualify for enrollment. .. And, on a more intangible note, many simply feel they do not belong.

Another way of saying "many simply feel they do not belong" is to say that many feel isolated.  I’ll offer some thoughts on that and then share the essay I wrote in 2008.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots

Feeling isolated and not belonging are different from really being isolated and really not belonging. I really was overall isolated the first six months of my life at the DHS before being adopted. The practice and importance of picking up newborns was not yet established; so, when my parents got me, I had a flat head. I spent most of my life feeling like I didn’t belong and that I was alone, but that was fiction I told myself.  Again, feeling isolated and not belonging are different from really being isolated and really not belonging. Here’s how I pulled the wool over my own eyes.

I felt alone to start with, so I was a bitter victim. Furthermore, my studdering didn’t help any. If someone expressed love, I would to a greater or lesser degree turn my back, then I would really be alone. I made being a loner a self fulfilling prophecy by overreacting to the smallest of perceived rejection and so forth, yet if I had responded in kind to the care being shown to me in the first place, I wouldn’t have been alone. Consequently, learning that took me twenty years. Interesting, because I was always surprised when people didn’t reject me for saying the main way I know I’m 1/6 something is by a DNA test. That’s a huge revelation for mixed bloods like me: if someone expresses care it’s because they care.  I didn’t  always know that though.

My biological mother told me in one of few phone conversations that the family rumor was that the American Indian heritage originated in Oklahoma, but didn’t know anything more about it. I became furious without being able to acknowledge it at the time. I didn’t know who to be angry at: her, my ancestors, Christianity, or the extermination policy of the U.S. government towards my ancestors.  I finally forgave it, yet I think it’s easier for me not knowing specific details about specific ancestors, than for those who do. I can safely assume they were assimilated into the Christian faith my biological mother professes and so on, but specific details are lacking. Point is, it’s been all too easy to make unsound assumptions about other’s motivations, and then use those unsound assumptions as an excuse to refuse their love. On the other hand, is someone is being negative, that’s much more easily dealt with when accepting other’s love is the common choice as opposed to living at a distance.  If you’re a mixed blood, you’re not alone and you’re needed. Feeling isolated and not belonging are different from really being isolated and really not belonging.  Here’s the essay I wrote in spring of 2008.


What can you do when you’re a mixed blood and a DNA test is the only proof that you’re Native American? First off, you must be aware that you are part of a modern dilemma  that has no easy answers. Those answers must come from the individual’s awareness of this modern dilemma in a historical context, wherein from that historical context the individual might find their suitable answers.

Biometrics in Indian Country: The Bloody fight for Authenticity

In this essay, I touch on the issues of ...the implications of an increasing 'mixed-blood' Indian community, and the growing place of DNA testing in Indian country...

- snip -

"The internalization of blood quantum criteria to determine identity has promoted in-group conflict, leaving First Peoples and their descendents fighting each other under the table for the pitiful scraps thrown by the lord and lady of the manor... (Baird-Olson, 2003: 212)."

To reiterate, there are no easy answers on such a mass scale; however, one must be honest and let the cards fall.

Experience has shown me that the cards don’t fall, unless the person I’m communicating with is being dishonest and disregarding the system of relationships between tribal members that yield the power and political status that they think they have. These individuals then demand financial compensation after marketing themselves while committing something much worse than identity theft. Consequently, those in my or similar circumstance with lost history are sitting ducks for such predators; hence, my advice is to not ask questions, but run. I briefly define this character in the next paragraph. Let’s take another brief look at the dilemma, it’s past and present reasons, and then I will share my experience and hope.

Denying Assistance to Mixed Bloods Perpetuates Genocide

Life will be better for all of us when Indian Country abandons the "us and them" mentality and extends a hand in friendship to mixed bloods.

We will now concisely discuss past reasons for this dilemma after mentioning cultural genocide as critical reasons for being honest about one having tribal affiliation or not. There is a need to address with absolute candor the subject of claiming identity with a particular tribe in light of the existence of plastic medicine men and others that "claim tribal status in order to secure highly desirable jobs." Historically speaking and not mentioning Allotment and so on right now, the problem has been dishonesty. White men married Indian women to steal their land, whites claimed to have Indian identity when they really weren’t Indian in order to steal land; so, it’s no surprise today that history is repeating itself. What can someone do to help stop that history from repeating? Be honest, and brutally so. But what specific history is repeating that causes the hard feelings?

Answering that question, anyone that knows anything about the Dawes Commission knows that putting people in positions of having lost records of family members was the goal all along.

Conquering the land -

"The Dawes Commission" by Kent Carter. p. 2.

The Indian Office appropriations bill passed on March 3, 1893, established a pattern of using such legislation to attack tribal autonomy that would become all too familiar to those delegations.

- by revising and attacking, according to how best the land could be stolen, the very definition of Indian identity.

"The Dawes Commission" by Kent Carter. p. 44.

The Dawes Commission decided that its task was not to find everyone who had Indian blood; it was to enroll only those people who met the exact requirements of the law as they defined it. This position frustrated applicants and their lawyers at the time and drives present – day family researchers to tears.

Indeed it has.

Truth heals, but always after boiling out the infection. Unavoidably, I was raised without any knowledge of any American Indian ancestry whatsoever in my blood for having been adopted into a very loving family. Being honest, my Native American biological origins which are only from my biological mother’s side of the family, where I get my 16% Native American blood from isn’t something I like to think about. Images of her stripping with me inside of her, while smoking marijuana or drinking fill me with disgust if I dwell on it. I hate strip clubs for that reason, and realizing that nudity was still allowed under Oklahoma State law when I was in high school makes me realize the dollar bills probally fell on the floor by her and went not
into her g –string. Yet her allowing herself to be robbed of her values in that way is almost a parable for why I have no place in the Native American world in any tribally recognized capacity. Truth heals, but always after boiling out the infection.

I cannot say for sure my Indian ancestors were exterminated, but this I do know: they and thus me were and are assimilated; victims of the cultural genocide of at least Allotment, racism, and genocide denial of their time. The shame of my biological mother is the shame of my ancestors who became Christianized and left their cultural history behind because of shame, survival, or both. The tribe and the clan were lost from me and from at least my biological grandparents, which condemns me to be a walking example of a successful extermination, culturally speaking.

The legal definition of genocide

The phrase "in whole or in part" is important.

Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.

Next, I will share what is right for me in my situation and not necessarily for anyone else. Knowing these things about myself and my general history, there is something I will never do. I will illustrate what I’ll never do by sharing a conversation I had with my wife when she asked me something in general about my ever having tribal affiliation after the Chickasaw tribal anthropologist asked me if I was Indian at a recent conference. I told him the bare outline of what I’ve stated in the first paragraph and about my DNA test results. Here’s what I told her.

"Even if I learn informally that I’m this or that tribe, I’ll never say what that is in a public format unless these things have been done: I've contacted the tribe, an elder knows about my family history, they are on the Dawes Rolls, and I get a card." She had some questions and didn’t exactly object, but here’s what I responded with. "It’s not fair, but neither is life. This is how it has to be done. If I ever do miraculously end up as a tribal member; I’m not taking any benefits. The only immediate value would be in having another tribal member listed on their membership rolls for obvious reasons."

Consequently, my response to the valid, not sound idea that I must first contact the tribe, then find an elder who knows about my family history, then locate them on the Dawes Rolls, and then get a card before I can say that I’m barely over 1/6th Native American, is that I refuse to be homogenized. Whatever this 16% is in me that turns my heart and blood red, is going to live. Not so with my half sisters.

I have two half sisters who I am 99.9% certain I will never meet from my biological mother; consequently, whatever American Indian ancestry that is in me is also in them. Hence, my entire living family from which comes my Native American heritage is walking examples of successful cultural exterminations. Please don’t tell us to go off and die; we’re already dead, culturally speaking.


The problem involves those people claiming to be Native American although they are not enrolled with any particular tribe.

As I said in the beginning, truth heals after boiling out the infection, but boiling the infection out makes room for the cure. Here is the cure for being a walking example of a successful cultural extermination.





Deer at Quartz Mountain

Those cures feel temporary, because back at home with its walls and ceilings the affliction of civilization begins anew. However, this cure is permanent "depending on my spiritual condition."


You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other.  One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.

Each day I choose to be either a walking example of a successful cultural extermination, or I choose to be an example of Mitakuye Oyasin. I choose to be the whites in my history who helped American Indians, and never the whites in my history who I imagine probably exterminated them. Whatever I choose to be in any given day, and hopefully it’s choosing to be an example of Mitakuye Oyasin and being of at least some small service to "All My Relations" more often than not, that’s me as a mixed blood.

Concluding, part of the meaning in the suffering for me personally was stated by someone who is a complete surprise in my life. I was recently reunited with my biological father; his side of the family is all German and he married a woman who is Blackfoot. He introduced her to me as my mother; she would have been my step mother. She gave me a crystal she had dug up long ago and said, "This is just like you, all broken up inside but it holds itself together somehow. It's beautiful, just like you." I smiled with my heart and remembered Crazy Horse's vision.

Chief Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux (This statement was taken from Crazy Horse as he sat smoking the Sacred Pipe with Sitting Bull for the last time, four days before he was assassinated.)

"Upon suffering beyond suffering: the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day, there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom. I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one."

I hope we make it come true along with similar visions, dreams, philosophies, and hopes. For if we don’t, let us say that the genocide and the slavery that infected the New World, the hubris of Manifest Destiny,the current economic crisis with all of its social consequences, and the current climate change crisis with all of its social consequences are just too much for us. Are they, really? That is the question we all need to be asking ourselves; accordingly, non – Indians should be asking themselves the questions that David Gabbard, a non – Indian, poses in his essay entitled "Before Predator Came." If it really is all just too much for us to apply the precepts of unity while simultaneously respecting each other’s cultural and geographic boundaries, then history has already shown us what the alternative is.

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p. 219

As difficult as it may be for non - Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non - Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

David Gabbard’s essay entitled "Before Predator Came" in"Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America" by editor Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs). p. 230

For European Americans in particular, we need to inquire into the history of our ancestors’ journeys across the Atlantic. Did they really leave Europe to escape religious persecution, or were the majority of our ancestors deemed elements of a surplus population whose deportation could help facilitate predator’s virulent spread to other corners of the earth? Did the enclosure movement and the subsequent deportation of the unemployed and "criminal" elements to the Americas, Africa, and Australia constitute our own "Trail of Tears"? Was it a forerunner to the reservation system imposed on the Indigenous People that predator would later establish? These and other questions abound. Seeking their answers is vital for the sake of remembering ourselves. First Nations scholars from the Indigenous Peoples of North America and elsewhere have shown us the door; it is up to us to walk through it. It’s the only path home.

Mitakuye Oyasin

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:28 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Ho, Winter Rabbit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winter Rabbit

      May I ask a difficult question? At what time does the percentage of "blood" cease to matter in anything other than personal interest? I don't mean to sound glib, but 16% Native American blood is like saying that one is 1/8th Dutch, and as such means pretty much nothing. I mean, you either are or you aren't, and when aren't you? Should I, as someone some of whose ancestors came through Ellis Island as landless Potato Famine victims, go back to the Auld Sod and demand some kind of reparation? Should my Frankish parts wrathfully demand that the Pope give me my souvereignity back? When, in short, do we cease to be "other" and become "every"?

      I too was adopted, after lying in the crib in the hospital for nearly a week after being born. The back of my head is pretty flat! I've wondered all sorts of things about attachment disorder and my inability to enjoy human touch. My biological mother was a cruel drunk who abused her other children, biological or otherwise. My adoptive parents were kind, loving and attentive. I think I am what I am because of them, not because of what I am made of. I can't chose which ancestry to be a part of--the Irish, the Frisian, the Frankish, the whatever else is in the mix. I choose instead to be related to everyone, truly mitakuye oyasin.

      Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

      by crose on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 09:58:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank God that you feel no hurt or confusion (6+ / 0-)

        about who and what you are. Many others have a more difficult time. I always tell people that I am one hundred percent black and part everything else. My blood and genes are from from Ireland, France, England (paternal), a Chinese great grandfather, a straight from India via indentured labor great great grandmother and black blood from different countries in Africa. But the only blood that I feel wholly connected to is the black - African - blood. I saw the Prez at Cape Coast Castle at the door of no return and I felt as if my heart was breaking. I felt all the pain and suffering and humiliation as if I were right in the midst of that human storm. We are all uniquely different and we all deal with our loss and pain and sorrows in our own unique way.

        ((((((((((((Winter Rabbit))))))))))))

        Max Ehrmann (author of Desiderata): Whatever else you do or forbear, impose upon yourself the task of happiness; and now and then abandon yourself to laughter.

        by JoanMar on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:27:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why would you believe (0+ / 0-)

          that I feel no hurt or confusion about who and what I am? My journey to accepting that the people I came from and the people to whom I went were people--flawed, imperfect and trying their best--was a long, painful one. I could say that I belong to no group, to no family. Ultimately I belong to the human race, that mammalian species that has never settled in its wanderings, that has never known peace for very long and that has never ceased in its desire to be one.

          Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

          by crose on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 01:30:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  O, I just included the % (6+ / 0-)

        because I had to convert it to fraction. The traditional ways had already found me years before I learned I had any Native American blood. It went from a "them" to a "mine" though at the time. But I didn't have a clue then either. Take that back, I had one and a lot of unchecked assumptions.

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 09:09:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Crose, reminds me of a story. (5+ / 0-)

        The Buddha sent the mourning woman door to door, to find a woman who had not lost a child.

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 09:17:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe it was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Winter Rabbit

          to find a household that had not suffered a death. And of course the woman could not find one and discovered her oneness with all of humanity.  

          Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

          by crose on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 01:32:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My mother had always told me (13+ / 0-)

    the she, and my sister and I had Native American blood.  However, we were being raised in England at the time, and she died when I was only 12, so it kind of seemed that it was just a piece of that old family folklore.

    Except that my sister and I had dead straight, dark hair.  On my birth certificate, it says that my skin is 'olive'.  My natural coloring year round is a golden tan, which turns deep brown in summer, and I never need sunscreen.

    Still, I didn't believe her until a year or so ago, and started researching her family history.  I discovered a great-grandmother that seemingly appeared out of the blue with an unusual first name.  On a whim, I did some research in the US Government Indian registrations, and turned up a woman with the same name, in the same location, in the same time period.

    So who knows.

  •  I feel your pain. People with African blood (9+ / 0-)

    have a similar struggle. What makes your pain so immediate however is the loss of your mother...and the not knowing.
    (((((((((((((((Winter Rabbit))))))))))))))

    All the best...

    Max Ehrmann (author of Desiderata): Whatever else you do or forbear, impose upon yourself the task of happiness; and now and then abandon yourself to laughter.

    by JoanMar on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:59:36 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing about mixed-blood (15+ / 0-)

    and the Dawes rolls.  My grandfather, and his kin were denied listing on the Dawes rolls, even though they had full-bloods on their dad's side of the family.  To be a mixed-blood with part of the mixture African was a great excuse to be shut-out. Blond-blue-eyed claimants were not booted so readily.

    Not saying that all those with that admixture were, but the hurdles were there, and the battle's are still being fought up to this day, especially among the Cherokee.

    My dearest friend growing up was raised native on a res here in the North east.  She is a beautiful blanket dancer, but gets faced with much prejudice at pow-wows.  She has kinky hair.

    I saw some of the conflicts between full-and mixed-bloods when I spent time at Pine Ridge.  Tribal politics, and greed got in the way of passing on tradition and culture.

    Tipped and rec'ed

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:59:41 PM PDT

  •  I am so glad you post (8+ / 0-)

    diaries here. My bi-l is 25% NA, but is unable to learn anything about this grandfather. The family was not allowed to mention his background, he himself did not want to and now there are no records. My b-i-l and sister being to a new generation who are proud of the ancestry and tried to research, but nothing. My b-i-l, btw, is tall, high cheekbones, straight black hair, dark eyes. Actually he WAS - now he's middle-aged with all those characteristics, like the rest of us.

  •  dna helps with some answers and not others (6+ / 0-)

    I had my DNA done this year(100% European) and also my son's, as he has questions about his ancestors. He was adopted as an infant with no medical or family history from China.Surprisingly, he is 99% Asian and 1% European. I was able to show him a little of what he inherited from his parents and that seemed to comfort him. Some things won't show - it is family story that a female ancestor on my mother's dad's side was Native American, but the way genes pass makes it hard to find that.

    Ain't life sweet?/ I feel good./ I feel better than James Brown./ I feel better now. (Was/Not Was) 1-20-09

    by Chun Yang on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:19:41 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing this. (8+ / 0-)

    For me, when it gets right down to it, Mitakuye Oyasin says it all. All of my relations are all of creation. Regardless of bloodlines or ancestry. Or species, for that matter.

    And while it may help some of us to find peace and understanding through knowing from whence we came, we are all here now in this moment sharing the gifts of the Creator. May we all find peace in being who we have become and may our paths be peaceful and lead us to wisdom.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:32:17 PM PDT

  •  I hesitate to post because I am so (7+ / 0-)

    ... culturally assimilated that it may be seen or interpreted as being insensitive.

    From what I have seen, from researching the first and last names,  I suspect one branch of my family also might have not made the Dawes rolls.  I have one sister with absolutely lovely very curly hair and fuller lips, which my mother (I am a half orphan who lost my father as a child) did not treat well. My siblings are now in their 50s, and the whole family has scattered and does not keep in touch now that all the parents are gone-  my one sister in law is now the matriarch, and she is not a very nice person, but I have trained her to at least not make racist remarks to my face.  Those kids think that they are ... Italian.

    (I hate those little icons but you can imagine one with a sarcastic smily face after that comment.)

    I haven't done the genetic testing, but I figured it out as a teenager even with my too- pale coloring.  Turns out that is also a genetic quirk that goes along with certain HLA DQ genes.  

    My mother denied it until she was elderly and not well, then tried to blame it on the other side of the family-  who knows, they may have some lurking about too, but I can't prove it.

    I'm a very sort of independent person except for being close to my spouse.  

    As to "not" belonging, even if I could prove that I was, (maybe someday I will go ahead and do the tests, but honestly, I don't want somebody in Utah trying to baptize me post death into the wrong afterlife, and I know that a lot of this genetic info is done, organized, and stored by the LDS church - gaaaaaah ) the current political climate means that the tribes aren't exactly looking for more members, anyway.

    It would be nice, maybe, but I don't feel like I have to belong. It's bad enough dealing with the rest of the world without having one more set of people acting like I don't fit into their criteria of what is acceptable ... or not.

    This not belonging to a tribe does not affect my relationship with the Creator or Mother Earth.  I don't feel like I've been annihilated or cut off from anything, I'm just stuck in a different parallel universe.   The world is different, I just have to adapt.

    I feel like, if I am miserable, "they" win-  I don't give them that power over me.

    "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

    by AmericanRiverCanyon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 07:48:24 PM PDT

  •  I wanted to add another comment (7+ / 0-)

    .... this is pretty amazing that you posted this diary, after all the various strange things I was looking at this week.

    First off, some right wing radio pervert posts a letter to the editor in the local newspaper, which he complained about a blog post that referred to him that was made by another local person who was also blogging for the Dem during the last campaign, and they pulled that blog off.  So I researched his site, and it is vile, vile, vile, did I say disgusting. And he's lying about being associated with this white supremist who recently got arrested. So I add some pithy commentary under that thanking all the conservative Republicans for sending me to a porn site to research, which I figured would keep them busy for at least a few days.

    But they've got this link to this other blog, and not only is it more racism and porn (I didn't know you could photoshop that way) but they have all these archaeology links to legitimate stories about the Vikings going from Greenland to northern Canada, some mysterious South American tribes in Peru, arrowheads found in Colorado the same as in Europe, and 2,000 year old well preserved Caucasian mummies being found in Western China's desert.

    You may wonder what the catch is.  Their particular racism makes them have to create a legend that it was the Caucasian race that first settled the Americas.  They even have a name for this, it's the Solutrean hypothesis.

    So they use this (flint working in the same styles on two continents)  as a rationale for all their racism, manifest destiny, and the hating on the descendants of people from Africa.

    It's insane. It's like they never heard that humans originated in Africa in the first place and are meant to be nomads.  In their minds if you get to be first anywhere you are the superior creature.

    "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

    by AmericanRiverCanyon on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 08:20:09 PM PDT

    •  Reminds me (5+ / 0-)

      the idea that Spain introduced the flute to the indigenous people, then they started making it out of cedar and so on - because the Spanish were so "superior."

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 08:53:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They have found (4+ / 0-)

      some extraordinary dessicated remains in Western China that are red-haired white people whose faces are tattooed in the manner of Celts. The racists want to make it look like white people settled America, but of course the SCIENCE says that Asians were probably here much further back than we have been thinking. People just moved around a lot and took their "technology" with them, demonstrating it as they went along. And honestly, since we are all descendants of the humans left after the Great Bottleneck anyway, what does it matter?

      Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

      by crose on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 10:07:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, you MUST google the images of those! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Lashe, RosyFinch

        ... really, it will just amaze you.

        Taklamakan mummies, then "google images"

        Taklamakan is a high altitude, (or low altitude, I am a little confused as it is being described both ways on different sites)  extremely dry desert in the Tarim Basin (less than an inch of rain a year, for hundreds of years) with a single river running thru it, in Western China, where some traders had outposts along the Silk Highway trade route. Taklamakan means "where you go in and don't come out."

        The extraordinary dryness and salty sands preserved buried bodies, which began to be discovered in the 1980's but at first were not publicized much outside of China. My previous comment had the ages wrong, some of the mummies are even older, 2400,  3000, 3500 years old. They were not only redheads or ash blondes with neat braided hair, and quite tall for their time in history, they were dressed extremely stylishly in colorful woven woolen tunics and leggings, some with wool felt hats-  these were travelers, movers, horseback riders.  When I first saw a photo a few years ago, of a woman, that was my very first impression-  we know the outfits!

        This link has a good description of the textiles and how they are woven:

        This website has some background story

        some pictures on flickr (note the tattoos on her forehead !)

        picture of the landscape, showing the desert, hill dunes, and an oasis, that has some more explanation under it

        "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

        by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 11:48:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for a most interesting diary, w.r. (5+ / 0-)

    and may i add this:  you belong.

  •  It's really supremely ironic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, Winter Rabbit

    that Indians allow the government to determine who is and isn't Indian. I can think of no other ethnic group or nationality that does this. Peoples everywhere adopt, intermarry, migrate and embrace identities that would be no one's first-guess. To varying degrees, the barriers are more or less permeable.

    (In this country, every year, thousands of people, generally young adults, decide to pass over to the white side of the fence. Its an option for folks of mixed ethnicities who can pass. It happens everyday and in different directions as well.)

    The blood-quantum system, along with the government schools, worked remarkably well in accomplishing their true purpose; that of genocide and cultural and political disintegration. What I don't understand is why First-Nations aid and abet in this process. There are millions of people in this country who have Native American ancestry and it's quite possible most of them don't even know it.  

    IMHO, Native Americans have shot themselves in the foot by not recognizing, nay, shunning and despising, those of us who are of mixed ancestry. Our story may be different in its trajectory but for those of us who are aware, we carry the pain of ALL of our ancestors. The ones who survived the Middle Passage, the ones who were converted at the point of a sword by the newly xtianized Romans, the ones who were indentured servants, as well as those whose lands were usurped up and down the Americas.

    I understand not wanting one's culture cheapened or diluted, sold or co-opted. What I don't understand is the private-club exclusivity and letting the government decide who does and doesn't belong.

  •  I do not want to be disrespectful of Native (5+ / 0-)

    Americans. I suspect I do not know enough about Native American culture to know what they would consider disrespectful.

    I am descended in some small part from Native Americans who chose to survive by passing for white and giving up their culture completely.

    We in this place, are still influenced by a whisper of the culture that was once the dominant culture here.

    In spite of a public school system that teaches white European propaganda as history, most of us know there was a people here before us, who had more respect for mother earth than we do.

    I think it is more personal than DNA, though it may be ethics passed through my family, but it seems obviously unhealthy to gobble up every resource around and then throw out garbage and pollution until we can no longer live on this planet.  

    I do not think might is a measure of cultural superiority. I think a culture that does not feel a driving need to develop technology and weapons, in order dominate, shows good mental health.

    I do not know if my sense of mourning for what was lost could be considered disrespectful to those people who have managed to survive and keep their identity as Native Americans. In order to survive they may need to cherish what remains instead of mourning what was lost.

  •  I was adopted, too. Grew up with rumors of being (7+ / 0-)

    French, Welsh and Indian. When I found my birth parents there were people on both sides who had done family trees. I went back and found at least 5 lines, too far back to count on paper, who were First Nations. The Chickasaw and one of the Cherokee were pretty well acknowledged, but not only were the clan affiliations lost for those, even the tribal affiliations of the others had been hidden, or purposely forgotten, and so lost. One line was from an area of Virginia that might have been Rappahannock and one was from mid Kentucky at a time when he may have been Miami, Mingo, Shawnee or Cherokee, plus maybe a couple of others. So I don't get to be a part of my cousins' heritage, I get classed as a wannabe by those 'on the rolls'. I'm 'too white to count'. When people look at me and ask if I'm part Indian, I say, 'Yeah, my heart, one thumb and half dozen toes.'. There are a lot of us out there.

    Peace, cousin.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 11:49:54 PM PDT

  •  enrollement is one way to be ndn (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, navajo, marina, Nulwee, Winter Rabbit

    the better way to me is to live and love Indian.

    Live upon the dust of your ancestors, within the homelands of your nation and get to know intimatly the people, customs, history and language.

    Love the people enough to marry into your tribe and raise your children in the ways of their people. BE native in your daily life.

    Do these things and all the other questions about who you are will go away and be forgotten, you'll be home.

    Of course living red in America on our reservations is no vacation, we suffer much to remain on our homelands so if you can't pay the price perhaps being Indian ain't worth it anyway.

    •  appreciation (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you. Your phrase "live and love Indian" is great.

      Reminds me of Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
      and of the gorgeous long hair I see daily on the strong women of the Tlingit clans. in my town.

      "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." [Ray Bradbury]

      by RosyFinch on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 08:27:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  results of genocide (9+ / 0-)

    reverberate down the generations. In five hundred years of constant attacks aimed at eradicating us from earth many tribes have been scattered to the winds of time. Whole peoples with music,language, poetry, sciences and history have been stripped from Mother Earth never to be heard from again. In their wake are damaged people and scorched earth that can never be repaired.

  •  DNA is not the final answer since (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Winter Rabbit

    the usual tests use either the X or the Y sex chromosome. Since the Native American ancestry in my family is male on my Mom's side and female on my Dad's branch it does not show up. But my shovel shaped teeth and other non-caucasian dentition shows Native heritage and family history clearly shows Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry. As we did our family history we saw that people that had Native ancestry were likely to wed others with similar genetics. Some may be because of both families being outsiders but in the South few families would discuss or even acknowledge Native ancestors. So it must be some sub-conscious attraction. I have found over the years that my closest friends (male and female) and ex-wife had native ancestry although we only found out that fact much later in each of those relationships.

    ATF Alcohol, Tobacco. Firearms. Add Burgers and Potato Salad and its a Southern Picnic.

    by OHdog on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 10:22:53 PM PDT

  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, Winter Rabbit, BYw, Amaryliss

    I always enjoy your work.  Another side of that coin is 'hiding' your heritage so your children will not experience the discrimination you have endured. My father died when I was 15 and took his secret with him.  Two years later I was engaged to a wealthy German boy, his father hired a private investigator to check out the ole family closet, he found an Apache, my engagement was ended, and my mother dropped dead from the shock of it (no kidding!).

    For all I knew I was White with a funny color tan and allergic to all things dairy.  The family story as Grandma told it we were descendants of Cochise.  But no names.  I badgered my father's sister years and years later when I found out what the investigator had discovered, she said yes you are Apache. None of us kids were supposed to find out. My cousin explains that all our bad behavior was blamed on the 'Apache in them' her dad was proud of his Apache heritage.  I think a great great many 'white American's' are mixed blood it pops up.  My son is two nations, Chiricahua Apache and Chicasaw, his birth certificate says Caucasian he's also Irish, English, French, German, Scot, Welsh, Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish.  My grandson has my tan, my bone structure and his grandfather's blue eyes.  And he will know his ancestors were First Peoples and we belong to the land, this land North America.

    We have returned from the ashes.

    by Morgana on Sat Jul 25, 2009 at 10:30:18 PM PDT

    •  important stories (0+ / 0-)

      If you get the chance to hear Tim Tingle tell stories, you may recognize as I did the gifts he has accepted from his elders (Choctaw).

      The picture book called Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle is also remarkable.

      My recent reading of
      Cry, Geronimo  and The first hundred years of Nino Cochise inspired further regard for Apache people.

      Thankd you Morgana for writing.

      "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." [Ray Bradbury]

      by RosyFinch on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 08:38:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. This leads me to a very personal question. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, Winter Rabbit, BYw

    My daughter is adopted. She is, supposedly, Mexican, Caucasian, African-American, and Puerto Rican. I say, "supposedly," as her birthmother, on the paperwork, identified as "white," but listed her father as Mexican, and the birthfather simply wrote black/Puerto Rican.

    My daughter, being obviously of mixed race, will likely be very curious about how much of what she is. I had this grand illusion that I would have an incredible relationship with her birthmother and be able to ask her all those questions for my daughter. But, that has not panned out. She loves the relationship the way it is now ... I send letters and photos, and in her one card since adoption, said she is unable to offer more right now.

    I have to respect that. But, at the same time, I know, growing up, that those questions are among the first that American children answer. I'm not sure it's the same in other, more homogenous countries.

    I remember proudly stating, "I'm 100% Greek," and being shocked at the thought that, given that statement, I could have (gasp!) Turkish blood running through my veins, too.

    Anyway, my question to the diarist would be whether or not I should have my daughter tested so that if the birthmother and father don't want to be more involved, she'll have those answers for sure, and not be surprised if, for example, "Black/Puerto Rican" referred to his skin color (although she looks more African-American than anything else), or that her birthgrandfather might not have been Mexican at all.

    I have a close friend who was adopted by a Dutch family (Americans of Dutch descent), and only at 21 did she find out she is half-Mexican.

    I don't want my daughter to have her world rocked. But, should I wait until she is old enough to request this??

    Any thoughts?

    •  Thank you ydice. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RonV, marina, BYw

      My parents told me young that I was adopted, we do very well now. My biological father didn't tell his daughter she wasn't his, she found out late in life. She's still upset over it and it caused them a lot of problems.

      I don't know if that translates to your situation, but I think it's better to know young. I'd look more into it from psychology/research, and I wouldn't wait till she's older. Note: I don't have children of my own.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 02:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winter Rabbit

        She will know that she is adopted. It will be obvious, actually. But, I do want her to know as much as she can about her birthparents, especially ethnicity, as it is a bit unclear on the paperwork. It is an "open" adoption, meaning we send photos and letters and are very much open to her meeting her birthparents. But it can only be as open as the birthparents would like it to be. I can't force them to meet with her.

        Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. As an adoptive mother, I really, really, really appreciate the stories from both adopted children and parents who placed their children in adoptive homes.

        I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

        •  maybe ask for stories (0+ / 0-)

          I'd think you might get some response if you ask the child's birth mother if she remembers her grandmothers, what her own favorites stories and songs were as a little girl, and such questions.
          The trouble with asking for ethnicity is that it seems we're looking for labels.  

          from a teller of twice-told tales, who loves knowing that I grew up saying "Geshundheit" when someone sneezed because a long ago mama was born in Prussia.

          "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." [Ray Bradbury]

          by RosyFinch on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 08:44:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hotlisting. glad it was rescued. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, Winter Rabbit
  •  Welcome To The Club, Wonderful Rabbit (0+ / 0-)

    When I was called a racist for casting aspersions on a particular religious superstition of certain Native Americans, I mentioned my direct descent from the single identifiable aboriginal tribe of Europe as well as the superstitious beliefs of the predominant modern religions of our own country.

    That cut no ice with my accuser.  

    We are all "mixed blood."

    I like to think of all of us as family.

    Best,  Terry

    •  probably because you were wrong (0+ / 0-)

      and called it a "superstition", why cast aspersions at anyone and I doubt very seriously you knew what you were talking about, very few nonIndians know enough about any tribes religious ways to criticize them.

      •  Was Sarah Palin's Witch Doctor Hunting Down (0+ / 0-)

        accursed women more sacrosanct than Puritans hanging witches in Salem - or indeed modern Christians damning abortion and even birth control?

        I assure you not all Indians think harming the environment is offensive to the Great Spirit.  Some of those who think that not are my blood relatives and my in-laws.

        Do you think they are damned too?

        Your bigotry is showing.

        It is most unpleasant in my view.

        Best, Terry

  •  aho Winter Rabbit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    navajo, jcrit, Winter Rabbit

    I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to rec this when it was up, thankfully it was rescued. Peace to you brother.

    The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda

    by FireCrow on Sun Jul 26, 2009 at 09:33:10 AM PDT

  •  Native citizenship in their tribal nations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There isn't a concerted effort out there in "indian country", IMO, to look down on mixed bloods.

    Geeeez---some tribes do not even have blood quantums anymore!

    Look at the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. You just need to prove lineal descent from someone on the accepted rolls! The rolls are pretty extensive. So a lot of people who are mixed black, white, and whatever are citizens of the Cherokee Nation.

    The tribe sets the blood quantum standard, not the feds. The feds have their own standards (generally 1/4th blood) for being considered for certain GOVERNMENT programs THEY run (the tribe is free to run its OWN  programs with the tribe's  OWN standards). Other programs the feds have accept whoever the tribes accept (you just need a  federally recognized tribal card to participate..)

    A lot of tribes are happily raising mixed blood kids and have for years. The important thing is that they have tribal citizenship and be raised in their culture. I have seen blue eyed,blonde Cherokee and Chickasaw dancing at gatherings with the more traditional "phenotype" Indians.

    Over 100 years ago one of the most powerful Cherokee leaders was just 1/8th.

    My family is pretty typically Indian looking, but there has been some mixing and some of them are lighter than others. No one gives a darn. We are part of a  living tribe, not an anthropological experiment. My family prefers to be with natives because it's the best way to establish a native family. Just like some Jews have no prejudice toward other groups, but they want a Jewish family, so they date only other Jews.  
    that said:
    Natives have survived ethnic mixing  just like a lot of other folks on the planet and will continue to survive to so long as the kids are raised native.
    The tribal councils can deal with  the blood quantum issue when and if it becomes necessary.

    People who wander in and think they have indian blood (even if they do) often feel left out because its like coming into a family picnic and claiming you are family when no one has ever seen you before.
    It may not be your fault, but you can see how natives might feel.  You have to figure out how you are connected and then follow the proper protocol.You also have to realize you are a lifetime behind behind in learning the family traditions and that will cause some issues.

    •  Another thing... (0+ / 0-)

      Whatever you think is carried in your DNA, knowing how to be an ndn is not.  You have to learn it.
      Otherwise everyone would be born speaking German or French or whatever your ancestors were.  Some of our families have fought for years to keep our language, culture, and traditions alive.  So we don't have time to worry about our DNA.

      •  Benefits (0+ / 0-)

        Whatever "benefits" you may think you get from tribal enrollment...good luck. Hopefully, you'll end up in a tribe with any money at all that can give you "benefits". Lots of them don't have much money. No matter what you hear about all the rich "casino tribes". I know plenty of enrolled full-bloods who got diddly squat from their tribes.
        The thing is---most of them didn't mind because they aren't in it for "benefits". They are part of a tribal nation made up of their families who have lived together since forever.

        •  PS Flutes (0+ / 0-)

          Harkening back to an earlier thread---flutes were here pre-contact. So were a million other things natives did not need Euros to teach them to make.
          Everything from highly complex mathematical calendars, indoor lavatories,  extensive crop cultivation,cities, and well as , ummmm,your average assortment of flutes, drums, and other musical instruments....

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