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1
......... you know there's indians still around, right. the s'kallam tribe just published a living dictionary and everything. why are you talking about them like they're all dead.
Posted by dunebuggy on February 19, 2013 at 8:32 AM · Report this
skidmark 2
@1 dead/rural what's the difference, eh?

Culturally I'm as Huron as I am Irish, which is to say I'm neither really. They are just interesting historical artifacts which comprise in part my self.
There is more than just this abstraction of blood that we carry around from the indigenous parts of the family and that is our teeth. The two front teeth of Native Americans have a more pronounced curve on the posterior which is less pronounced as generations pass. As a white American that is something I share with black Americans who have the same teeth.
Posted by skidmark on February 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
3
One theory on why white and black Americans both claim native ancestry is that native ancestry was more acceptable (in the romanticized view of the West) than black or white ancestry for each group. So, some white Americans with a black ancestor would claim native blood to excuse their darker skin tone, and some black Americans with a white ancestor would claim native blood to excuse their straighter hair.
Posted by Luckier on February 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 4
Most of us have a ton of stuff in them. Very few of us are just one thing, or two. I'm one of the weird oddballs in that--as far as I know--I'm 50% Hungarian and 50% Romanian. Both sides of the family go directly back to the farms of the remote areas in each, and relative isolation for a very, very long time in the mountainous areas.

However, even that gets muddled, as the part of Romania traded hands several times between kingdoms, and depending on the decade or century was one land or the other. There were some stories about Judaism and gypsies (actual Romana, the real deal) bouncing around, but no one would talk about it, so who knows unless I get my genes sequenced for $500.

I have a friend that if you met in the street, you'd think, "Visually that man is the protypical 'brown' black man," based on his face. And he is. But then when you look deeper, or get to know him, you find out some things that are not what is the stereotype of what I just said.

* He always dresses business professional, except on weekends.
* He's one of the most educated individuals I know.
* Good luck pinning any accent on him but the vaguest of generic mid-Atlantic American.
* He LOVES sweater vests.
* He was a semi-conservative Republican.
* He's now a blue dog Democrat (conservative just on some financial issues).
* He's running for office in his state.
* He is, amazingly, about twice as nerdy as I am in total. And as some of you that know me know, I'm on some levels a damn MacGyver of nerdery, so that's saying something.
* While he looks completely black on the surface, he has a white Jewish grandparent that fled the Holocaust. He is 1/8th some Native American tribe--I forget which, sorry. He has some other ethnicities bouncing around in there as well.

So if you meet him, on the weekend, he'd be wearing jeans and a t-shirt. If you meet him during the week, he'd be in either a suit or in a collared shirt with a sweater vest. He would shake your hand, and say hello.

If that was your only interaction with him you would have really no clue that any stereotypical label that relates to the structure of his face, his hair, or the amount of melatonin in his skin has anything to do with him.

Labels are stupid. We aren't labels.
More...
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on February 19, 2013 at 8:53 AM · Report this
loopback 5
"Because blacks are here"? Honestly Charles? That's exactly the kind of cultural essentialist behavior I would expect from someone who doesn't pontificate endlessly about race. Native Americans are still here and have a thriving, vibrant culture.

You should take a step back and unpack your weird cultural attitudes around Native Americans. It's especially strange that someone who spends so much time on these sorts of issues would be so blind to the fact that we have a good number of tribes, federally recognized & not, in this area.

To say that Native Americans are 'extinct' is to say that the only valid NA culture is the one that was in existence before 'the white man' showed up. Which puts a burden of stasis on their culture that nobody else is expected to live up to.
Posted by loopback on February 19, 2013 at 8:54 AM · Report this
johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt 6
I think it's sadder than what is mentioned in the article. There is no identity in being white in America anymore. Even if you add Irish or German it's still ...'meh. I think... wonder bread, bankers and suburbs mostly. Corporate America has co-opted so much of the white experience. Adding a native, black or latino to your name gives a separate identity even if it's 1/10th of 1%. Plus it helps us hide from the sins of our fathers.
Posted by johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt on February 19, 2013 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
It's easier to claim ancestry with a nearly eradicated and safely removed from view (for most of America) minority, especially one with a past that's very easy to idealize. Native Americans are exotic for most, but black and white Americans are as common as nitrogen.

Charles, I don't believe your last couple of paragraphs have anything to do with anything. They're as romanticized as any fantasies about noble savages, and thus have as little truth to them.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 19, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
gttrgst 8
Via nativeappropriations this is one fabulous youtube takedown of Johnny Depp's initiation ceremony adapted "from an actual witness who was there when Johnny Depp was adopted by the Comanche Nation." Cannot. stop. laughing.
Posted by gttrgst on February 19, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
9
Also, in the racist hierarchies produced in the 18th/19th centuries, Native Americans were usually ranked just one level below Europeans (with Asians below them, Africans below them, then Australian aborigines at the bottom). White Americans could claim some exotic otherness that wasn't all that bad, and had been defeated on the battlefield but never enslaved.
Posted by Chicago Fan on February 19, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
10
That episode of South Park was on last night, Butters is a native Hawai'ian.
Posted by Drew2u on February 19, 2013 at 9:21 AM · Report this
11
I reject your premis: " Many black Americans also have Native Americans in their mix, but they don't make as big a deal of it as whites do." In my experience, way more black people talk about the Indian Princess in their heritage than do "whites".
Posted by Gabe Global on February 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
12
Unlike most other white people who claim to have a fraction of tribal blood in them, Depp actually does have connections to (and is welcome at) the reservation of the tribe he claims to be connected to.
Posted by treehugger on February 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
GeneStoner 13
If you claim victim status in the US nowadays (like "I'm Black or I'm Red or I have a hangnail") it gets you all kind of bennies (think Affirmative Action).

Sometimes, it even gets you elected (like MA Senator Elizabeth Warren) when you claim a distant red relative.
Posted by GeneStoner on February 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
14
I have never met anyone who thinks "You are not supposed to survive the horrors" etc. Even those southerners who will admit to slave owning ancestors say they "treated their property well."

Also, there is also a vestige of the "one drop" rule still extant in the American psyche. Anyone with a drop of negro blood is black. So you can't be white with a black great, great grandfather, but you can be white with a great, great grandfather Cherokee. Hence there are blacks with white ancestors but no whites with black ancestors.
Posted by mt on February 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
The Dopest 15
I agree with this post. Native Americans have a mystique, they "lived in harmony with nature, spoke to the animals, wasted nothing." (past tense because few consider their present status)

In much the same way, white folks do the same with African culture, which is "beautiful, primal, spiritual." That's African culture as in Masai, etc. not African American culture, which is close enough to the would-be romanticizer to lose any mystique it might have.
Posted by The Dopest on February 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
gwhayduke 16
Many things to say. Here are two.
1: Exotic. Romanticized images. Said might say that the story about having native blood justifies previous and continued enslavement.
2: The "supposed" in the final paragraph are not effective to my reading.
Posted by gwhayduke http://www.farmsanctuary.org/videos/celebrity-ambassadors/ellen-degeneres-shares-why-she-supports-farm-sanctuary/ on February 19, 2013 at 9:55 AM · Report this
lark 17
Good Morning Charles,
Personally, I believe the term "race" to be an anthropological construct. Sort of like "hispanic", the term effectively created under the Nixon Administration. The most important race/group I belong to is the human race.

Ages ago, some dominant usually militarily, human tribe or group started labeling other humans discovered based initially on salient features and a corresponding culture or religion. That act rendered many horrors including slavery, genocide, tribalism and lingering racism. It also produced a conundrum: Is there a heirarchy of "race"? Especially in countries that are heterogenous like the USA today? Seems people like Depp & Elizabeth Warren use the Native American connection as part pride (myth) and part practicality for entry into law school etc. We can quibble as to whether that's necessary or not but people do say & do that. People identify themselves. In a slightly different situation, President Obama even exercises that conceit by claiming only African-American on the Census Bureau report even though his mother is white. Fine. But, those decisions come with caveats especially depending on the "race" one claims or claims to be part of. And, arguably at what points in human history.

It's not an easy decision perhaps for Depp, Warren, Obama et al. But, they all seem to thrive. For me, I just don't think it that inportant.

I agree with @4 we aren't labels.
Posted by lark on February 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM · Report this
18
I don't think it's any more odd to note that I'm part Cherokee than that I'm part Swedish or Scottish. People who think you have to look a certain way in order to be considered Aboriginal don't know a lot about modern life among Aboriginal people.
Posted by shambhaladawa on February 19, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
19
Even in the earliest days of the genocide, white people were "going native" and claiming to be "noble savages." One of the most celebrated incidents in US history--the Boston Tea Party--is an example of white men putting on NDN costumes in order to lay claim to a uniquely American identity. They steal Native culture and identity because they've already stolen the land and this way they can claim legitimacy.

This isn't about numbers. It's about ownership. Settlers want that ownership and always have. They want that legitimacy and that claim to this land. They want to wash the blood off the wealth of this country by claiming they have a right to it. They have a better claim to it when there's no one around to argue against them, yes, but that doesn't mean they sat around waiting for the original owners to go away. No, they did everything they could to silence the first people here, whether through murder, starvation or simply cultural destruction.

To claim that "playing Indian" has only appeared recently and is the result of the genocide instead of one of the earliest causes of it is outrageously offensive and myopic.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on February 19, 2013 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20
Isn't it far more likely a white has black blood and black has white blood than either has Indian?

Take Mississippi. You still hear about all these racist things like raising the Confederate flag at the statehouse. But Miss is 35% black! And half the whites (or more) must be octoroons or have one in their line by now. Who is fooling whom!?

http://www.trbimg.com/img-50a3ea83/turbi…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
schmacky 21
@19: Good post.
Posted by schmacky on February 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
Beetlecat 22
@19 Spot on, Zuulabelle!!!
Posted by Beetlecat on February 19, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
23
Thanks for the Borges link. That guy's prose is always pure pleasure to read.
Posted by Alden on February 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM · Report this
brandon 24
It's not a fear of claiming blackness. It is a desire to mitigate the guilt they have for the privileges they receive for their whiteness. It is also because whiteness in America is modeled as the "normal", base-line, blank slate. Claiming native ancestry is seen as a an accessory to liven up what they perceive as boring or without depth. Of course it isn't true, whiteness comes with its own history whether you like it or not. It speaks to a psychological dilemma of whiteness as a whole: in all they have gained through oppression, they have lost a sense of community, ancestry, and belonging. Or that could be due to the ravages of capitalism and industrialization, it will take a smarter man than I to figure that one out.

Say you actually have a Native American grandmother on one side, and an avowed Klansman grandfather on the other. In this day and age, which would you rather tell people about? Probably not the one that was a hateful bigot.

This reminds me of the Elizabeth Warren "Look at her!" comments from Scott Brown. As though you have to be this brown to ride. They may have not been raised on a reservation or even had contact with their native ancestors, but lots of people actually have them. And it isn't our place to deny them their ancestors, even if they are white enough to take advantage of white privilege.
Posted by brandon on February 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
25
Native Americans are still here -- just concentrated in certain parts of the country. They're survivors as much as African Americans. I'm not sure you can compare the Native American experience with that of African Americans since Native Americans were targeted for extinction and then pushed onto reservations. African Americans were brutalized via slavery and Jim Crow but to my knowledge were never targeted for extinction.

And almost all African Americans I know claim Native American ancestry (direct or remote).
Posted by Patricia Kayden on February 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 26
Interesting. Talk to White folk near Indian Country or in Alaska. To a man (or woman), White attitudes (...that they are lazy, unintelligent, shiftless, deserving of their poverty, undeserving of their tribal/corporate wealth, unqualified to administer their lands) seem remarkably consistent; on the tip of their tongues, and very tangible - not a discursive, sociocultural artifact or allegory that can be teased out by a talented anthropologist or literary critic.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on February 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM · Report this
27
I know I've always had a soft spot for mythological salish indians. I think I might feel differently about blackness in general if I were born and raised in a locale with a native black history. Oldtimey poor folk definitely seem more appealing than the high-def, technicolor poor folk of today.
Posted by ry coolage on February 19, 2013 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Fnarf 28
Note that "Creek or Cherokee" is always the preferred tribal affiliation of the "not really Indian but wishes it were so" crowd. See also Elizabeth Warren. Though more than a few people in Idaho and Montana have imaginary Nez Perce backgrounds.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on February 19, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
29
Is this the product of another KIRO exclusive? What did the more experienced users post?
Posted by RonK, Seattle on February 19, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
eclexia 30
Bob Marley was a white guy, you know. Did his damnedest to live black, but died of melanoma.
Posted by eclexia on February 19, 2013 at 11:54 AM · Report this
31
"This is what some white Americans must feel about the blacks they encounter: You were not supposed to survive the horrors our kind imposed on you."

No, this is what damaged Marxist whackjobs fantasize about.
Posted by ryanmm on February 19, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 32
Charles reminds me of the secretary in The Lathe of Heaven. In a world w/o racism, he'd disappear, because the division of race is central to his being.

The romanticism behind NA's is simply a connection to the past. African-Americans are no different than whites in that we all showed up around the same time & we're from somewhere else. Immigrants, essentially. The fact that some came willingly and some were kidnapped makes no difference. We have no connection to the place. What mark did our great-great-great-grandparents make? Some were still in Europe. If they were here, the farms they worked or the buildings they toiled in are long gone.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 19, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
sharonArnold 33
First of all, I resent the implication that all Whiteness is the same. It isn't. People with pale skin come from a multitude of cultures all over the world, and they aren't universally the same; just as people with darker skin enjoy diversity of culture and experience.

Second of all, I resent the implication that Native Americans have disappeared. They haven't. The fact that anyone would suggest they have is a sharp indicator of how easy it is to sweep this particularly painful American issue under the rug, because it is actually harder to talk about in racial politics than Black or Hispanic racial issues, thank you commenter number 25 for pointing out those differences. Native American people are here. They don't always look like Native American people. That is to say, they don't look like what people think Native American people should look like. That says something too, doesn't it?

Third of all, there is nothing romantic about Native American history. No more romantic than the history of cowboys, Vikings, Moors, Picts, or Romans. History is rife with murder and conquest, and genocide. But Americans don't like to talk about genocide. It's unseemly.

Fourth of all, speaking of unromantic, did you know the only way to be legitimately Native American is to have paperwork? You know who else needs paperwork to be legitimate? Dog breeds. Is that romantic?

Lastly, I resent the implication that white people are not allowed to claim a race other than a generic "white". It is a subversively, quietly, racist perspective that even white people succumb to because we are afraid of claiming any ethnicity, for fear of denying we have benefited from white privilege. We are afraid that by saying we have anything in our blood other than what you see on the surface we are racist and ignorant of our place in the world, as though we are trying to claim something we have never experienced; as though we are taking ownership of ethnicity, too. You know what? You're right. I have only lived as a white girl in this world. I haven't had to endure direct racism or roadblocks. I see them there, and I watch others endure and surpass them or fling themselves against them and I know that I can never related to what that feels like. But it doesn't feel good to have to be quiet about something you can't see about me, because I will be vilified for even talking about it. To be dismissed on the basis of some predisposed attitude that white people only want the good parts about carrying the brown parts. Well consider for a minute that we have weighed it out, before nailing us to the stake.

(Guess who doesn't have a pedigr-- er I mean paperwork? Me. What tribe do I claim? An unromantic sea-side one in Southeastern Canada, Mi'kmaq. Have I tried getting a hold of them? No, I'm too nervous about this attitude in the article. Maybe some day I'll get over it.)
More...
Posted by sharonArnold http://lengthbywidthbyheight.com on February 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
elissa 34
"Native American" is not an entirely racial distinction. To be Native American is to have a unique political relationship with the United States based on treaties and the trust responsibility, especially when an individual is enrolled in a tribe, regardless of blood quantum. The notion of "how much" Indian a person might be has no basis in pre-contact societies and was imposed on Native cultures after the time of contact. Blood quantum laws were first used in early Virginia to limit the rights of Native peoples. Tribes have not traditionally had any reason to determine a member's degree of ancestry. To constantly return to "blood," a faulty metaphor, as the determining factor in a person's Indian identity, is to buy into extermination policy, because blood quantum will only diminish.
Posted by elissa http://washuta.net/blog on February 19, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
sharonArnold 35
I'm probably guilty of being hyperbolic about the whole paperwork thing. But it is interesting, what acceptance into a tribe can mean and where it qualifies or doesn't - tribe versus government? Here is a link telling me how to do it:

http://www.bia.gov/idc/groups/public/doc…

Anyway. Johnny Depp or no, I have a lot of questions about the Lone Ranger movie itself. Not sure if it makes sense, if it's offensive, or what. I will probably not see it at all.

Also Johnny Depp or no, I appreciate the questions raised in the blog post by Natanya Ann Pulley about Native American-ness.
Posted by sharonArnold http://lengthbywidthbyheight.com on February 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
36
I agree that claiming Native American ancestry is much less problematic for white Americans than claiming African ancestry is, but I think that it also has to do with the way that those ancestors enter the family. In the case of Native American ancestry,its typically the result of a single Native American person marrying, or entering into a consensual relationship with, a single white person. In the case of African ancestry, its typically the result of a very light complected person of mixed white and African ancestry choosing to 'pass' as white. And odds are very, very good that the reason why that ancestor was able to pass was because of a series of rapes and coercive relationships that happened over several generations. So to claim African ancestry is to affirm an identity that your ancestor chose to reject, and to also claim kinship not just with the oppressed, but with the oppressor.
Posted by Katherine.Throckmorton@gmail.com on February 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 37
@ 33, regarding your third and fourth points, keep in mind that ignorance allows the multitudes the latitude to romanticize and make believe just about anything.

In Seattle, there's a vegan restaurant called the Chaco Canyon Cafe. Rooted in the old hippie notion that Chaco Canyon was an ideal place were everyone once lived in harmony. In truth, it was a center of power with haves and have nots, and there is plenty of evidence that cannibalism took place there. Has this led the Chaco Canyon Cafe to change it's name? Nope.
Posted by Matt from Denver on February 19, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Sandiai 38
Few black Americans have Native American ancestors. From Henry Louis Gates Jr on that PBS special:

African-American guests are often surprised at how much European blood they carry and their lack of significant Native American ancestry. "It's the biggest myth in African-American genealogy: 'My great grandmother was a Cherokee princess,' " he says, adding, "The average slave and the average Native American didn't even see each other, which makes it very hard to mate."



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424…
Posted by Sandiai on February 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 39
Because Native Americans are romanticized while black Americans are not. Is it really that hard to figure out?

Anyway, any white person who can't trace back their ancestry and name a specific individual in their family tree who was Native American, they should just shut the fuck up about it. My great-grandfather liked to claim that we were descended from Peter the Great. That doesn't make it true.
Posted by keshmeshi on February 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 40
If anybody's interested in this subject I recommend Going Native or Going Naive?: White Shamanism and the Neo-Noble Savage - http://www.amazon.com/Going-Native-Naive…

It's a good read on claiming false identity to "buy in" to the culture.

Posted by undead ayn rand on February 19, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
41
It's true that many white Americans claim Native ancestry -- possibly an attempt to dilute or mitigate white guilt.

Yet many actual descendants of Native Americans don't know the details of their own family or ancestral culture -- because of anti-Native racism, their ancestors passed or disappeared into white culture. To lose one's familial and cultural history happens to many target groups, on account of ethnicity, class, religion, etc. Much loss, silence, and grief accumulates around those missing pieces of our history.

If someone claims Native ancestry but is not clear on the details, that can be a signal that their family members were silent about that part of their history. I don't know the story about the well-known folks mentioned here, but it's respectful to assume that people are telling the truth about their family history as far as they know it.

In American culture, few of us know the details of our family's stories. Much has been lost, concealed, given up. Our ancestors did what they had to do to survive; that's why we are here.
Posted by MsBoyer on February 19, 2013 at 3:03 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 42
@41: "it's respectful to assume that people are telling the truth"

It's unnecessary. History gets whitewashed beyond reason, there's no need to be polite about someone's claiming false ancestry.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 19, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
43
What the what?! Wrong on this one, Mr. Mudede. Nothing along the lines of "you were never supposed to survive; you were supposed to die so we could make you into a romantic legend" crosses or has ever crossed my mind when I see a black person. I'd be surprised if that were even common enough for the word "some."
Posted by DRF on February 19, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
44
Man, talk about your First World Problems.

(I know for a fact that I'm 1/16 to 1/8 Cherokee - great-grandma admitted to 1/2 but was almost certainly more than that. I say "admitted" advisedly: Indian was no better than Black in the late 1800s and well beyond.)

Posted by DonServo on February 19, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 45
What 43 said. I doubt any white person really thinks, even subconsciously, that black people were "supposed to" disappear into oblivion. I'm not even sure I can unpack why this is so wrong - It just seems ridiculous on the face of it. Also, I don't think people have such nuanced reasons for their racist attitudes. Racism is historically complicated but also on some level very primal: it boils down to not liking someone because they look/sound/act different from you. And to the extent that we're all a bit racist (although I try very damn hard not to be), I think my own reflexive racist attitudes boil down to
"this person is different from me" and not some kind of complicated socio-historical anxiety.

The point about Native Americans being romanticized seems pretty valid though. And it's definitely a form of racism, notwithstanding white people who proudly let drop that they're part Cherokee. I can only imagine that it must be incredibly frustrating to be a native person living in a society that treats you and your culture like a taxidermied museum animal.

Incidentally, here in Canada, where the native population is proportionately 3x as big as it is in the U.S., the racism toward native people seems to be more overt and less sublimated in the form of romanticization. Go figure.

Posted by Sea Otter on February 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
46
And having taken the bait, once again I'm left wondering if Charles Mudede is an Andy Kaufman-esque invention by one or or more of The Stranger's editorial staff...
Posted by DonServo on February 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM · Report this
skidmark 47
As absurd as Mudede's what white people are thinking hypothesis is, no white people mentioned any distant African forebears.
Posted by skidmark on February 19, 2013 at 8:25 PM · Report this
lauramae 48
I have to say that I read every response and I am surprised (in a good way) at the level of discourse on why people take Indian identity and why so many Americans are confused about why that is problematic. The reasons that motivate people are fascinating. The truth of it is in the post that talks about how one's enrollment in a tribe, or being a descendent of an enrolled tribal member is the truth of Native identity. Every tribe has the right to determine who it claims. No individual has the right to subvert tribal sovereignty on the issue. Tribes determine how they will define enrollment requirements. It is different for different tribes.

I think that there is a perception that American Indians and Alaskan Natives are "nearly extinct" because unless we are in regalia or doing something "indian-y" our identity doesn't really register with most Americans as being "Native American." And yes, it does have to do with the idea that "real Indians" stopped existing after Edward Curtis took pictures of Indians he dressed and posed in such ways to suggest being untouched by modernity.

The mindset of Curtis and every anthropologist and amateur anthropologist of that time was that the (singular) Native American was disappearing. Mad collecting of regalia, treasures, artwork, recording of songs, language ensue and populate museums all over the world as a result. For many reasons, Americans still believe that we all but went away. American history and colonization is deeply intertwined to the notion of manifest destiny. God willed the settlement of America. The possession of it and all of its people belong to colonizers, including traditions, art, and identity. It isn't a conscious decision, but its reality is present in all the people claiming a Cherokee princess ancestor, the indignant response to objections over sports team mascots, the dismissal of the relevance of treaty rights (with no consciousness that non-Natives have treaty rights too).

More...
Posted by lauramae on February 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
49
Native Americans doing the Harlem Shake
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vqo7Ek2t…

Thoughts Charles?

P.S. For how much you seem to care about some stupid actor playing a stupid part in a stupid film, it would be great if slog actually covered Native American events in Seattle...COUGH IDLE NO MORE COUGH (Seattle times covered it more then you did, all slog did was complain some stupid white guy was playing a native in some stupid movie).
Posted by j2patter on February 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM · Report this
50
Also Charles you're not seeing the forest for the trees here. I'm a white Canadian and most of my friends are white Canadians and all are very knowledgeable/proud of their heritage. Even though most are 3+ generation Canadian, because they have a German or Dutch last name they still identify with Germany or Holland, even though many have never been to these places. When settlers came to Canada they usually choose to settle in towns/villages with people from the same country of origin. So you have towns that have very big "German" populations, or towns with big Italian populations or Polish or Scandinavian. This along with a heritage that is very easy to trace for most white people makes it easy for white Canadians to be connected to their heritage.

Slavery in America has made that connection much harder for descendants of slaves. Not to say that Black Americans aren't as interested in their heritage as White Americans, but that slavery has made determining your heritage much much harder. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/f…

So if you're asking the question of why do white North Americans make a bigger deal of their (native) heritage than Black people, part of the answer should be because white people made it very easy for them to keep their heritage, and white slaver owners made it very hard for Black Slaves to keep their heritage.
Posted by j2patter on February 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
SpecialBrew 51
Actually, I think Louis Gates Jr was saying that it (at least used to be) just as much of a cliche for African-Americans to claim "Cherokee heritage" etc in that same quasi-nostalgic way to explain away high cheek bones, tawnier skin, etc back when it was more taboo to talk about slavery, rape, and miscegenation in your not-so-distant ancestors. IN 2013 people seem more curious and interested in slave history and the complicated reasons why African-Americans usually possess Caucasian ancestry. However circa 1930 it was a lot easier to answer a child's question about "why does Grandma have straight hair and grey eyes" with "we have Cherokee blood" than "Grandma's mother was raped by the white man who owned her". I think the "Cherokee blood" trope is just really American.
Posted by SpecialBrew on February 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM · Report this
SpecialBrew 52
I don't think white Americans think "you weren't supposed to survive" even subconsciously, Charles. Most really don't think about it that hard, at most they might admit the nation was built on slaves' backs but then if their (white) ancestors came here after slavery they might even pooh-pooh that as "not their problem".

I do think, though, that a lot of white South Africans--Afrikaaners moreso than the British--felt like "weren't we supposed to be just another USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand?", A land where immigrants and settlers and farmers came and worked the land and eventually became the majority so much so that when you think "Canadian" or "Australian" you think WHITE. They (Afrikaaners) didn't necessarily view themselves as Colonial overlords like, say, the Belgians in the Congo but as great-grandchildren of pioneers who did the exact same thing as Australia, Canada, etc.
Posted by SpecialBrew on February 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
53
@26 As a (white) resident of 'Indian Country' who lives among many of the white people you are discussing, I respectfully disagree. A significant proportion of my white friends, peers, and colleagues think highly of the Native American members of our communities and respect their capabilities; my company would not be conducting business with tribal governments if we considered tribal citizens to be "lazy, unintelligent, shiftless,… and unqualified". It would be foolhardy (and challenging) to ignore the successes and competence of the Native Americans in this region.
Posted by To Sean Kinney on February 21, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
54
chuck needs to get out of the whacko far-left bubble more often
Posted by youre wrong again on February 22, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
dirac 55
Yeah see where generalities get you, Charles?
Posted by dirac on February 22, 2013 at 9:40 PM · Report this
56
Um, yeah. Sorry but you make no sense. You are simply looking at this with a different state of mind. It's called being of mixed blood or mixed. I am a "white Native" and if you are able to feel that you are a different race and or culture you just can relate to people like you no matter how much of the content of blood. Do you look at a wolf hybrid and say he is all Husky? No, you recognize the fact that he has wolfs blood, therefore he is recognized as part wolf. He will act like a wolf and look like a wolf no matter what the content. You can't deny what you are. You are either racist or jealous. You either have it or you don't. It is not a contest. Blissful ignorance right?
Posted by elocin on April 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
57
I am a white man with 1/8 Cherokee blood. I always wondered the same thing but there is a reason for it. Rather then coming up with theories, I will give the answer. There are fewer full blooded native americans. When it comes to Cherokees today, there is fewer full blooded and more white or black or any other race. The reason why I myself am confused about my race is because of my genes that overpower my white genetics (low facial hair, high cheekbones, broad shoulders, slanted inward eyes with the top of the brow covering, and long hair) so I identify as biracial. But the thing is with fewer full blooded cherokee left and read the history of Cherokees please before showing ignorance, its hard not to identify. Now if I had African American blood in me then yes I would still consider myself confused in race. So please read the history and understand. Lets not show offensiveness to one another. Its killing us all
Posted by Wolfman0013 on August 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Report this
58
My problem with this, is that I am black and Spanish American. My ancestors are from Puerto Rico, but they appear white and some look sort of Asian mixed with a little black and white. I'm originally born and raised in New York, My heritage is colorful. But I live in Oklahoma now and 100% of the white people look SEE THROUGH white here, yet they continually point out Native American heritage that they can't prove. They look at you here like you're inferior to them and brag about being Native, like they are really so much better than black people, Some of thses "pretendians" will ACTUALLY EVEN have the nerve to say that black people were not original to this land simply because they don't want to be equal to African Americans. So I agree with that "ownership" thing with white people. They always without doubt claim "Cherokee" blood too I am just glad that it's not just blacks who suffer from the delusion of believing that they are some other thing. And sure, maybe somewhere down the road we ALL are mixed! But who really cares? tI think most claim Native blood to appear more "exotic" more "beautiful" And yes, the ownership thing, a long with the entitlement attitude. It actuaaly really disgusts me now, to look at someone who is obviously white,say they are "Native" now, because I understand the reason behind these false claims of Native blood. It's funny too, because it seems like it's the poorest whites who sit there and brag about being Native! It's that noble savage thing that irritates me too.
Posted by colalover on October 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
59
My problem with this is, that I am black and Spanish American. My ancestors are from Puerto Rico, but they appear white and some look sort of Asian mixed with a little black and white. I'm originally born and raised in New York, My heritage is colorful. But I live in Oklahoma now and 100% of the white people look SEE THROUGH white here, yet they continually point out Native American heritage that they can't prove. They look at you here like you're inferior to them and brag about being Native, like they are really so much better than black people, Some of thses "pretendians" will ACTUALLY EVEN have the nerve to say that black people were not original to this land simply because they don't want to be equal to African Americans. So I agree with that "ownership" thing with white people. They ALWAYS, without doubt, claim "Cherokee" blood too. I am just glad that it's not just blacks who suffer from the delusion of believing that they are some other thing. And sure, maybe somewhere down the road we ALL are mixed! But who really cares? tI think most claim Native blood to appear more "exotic" more "beautiful" And yes, the ownership thing, along with the entitlement attitude. It actually really disgusts me now, to look at someone who is obviously white,say they are "Native" now, because I understand the reason behind these false claims of Native blood. It's funny too, because it seems like it's the poorest whites who sit there and brag about being Native! It's that noble savage thing that irritates me too.
Posted by colalover on October 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
60
Because white-skinned people in America, Canada, and even many parts of the UK, being so washed up in their political privilege of their whiteness, don't get to have any cultural heritage. The heritage they are allowed to have, is that of Anglo Saxon White Protestants who colonized the world. This is the case, even if they have ancestry spanning all of Europe, or even if they have no Anglo-Saxon blood. Everywhere you go in these countries, it's "white people can't dance" or "white people just speak English, right?" (because if you come from a Spanish-speaking country, you get to be Hispanic-White, even though you have European lineage too, while all others just get to be "White" or "Caucasian"), or some other stereotype that leaves white-skinned people feeling hollowed out and and removed from any sense of cultural pride or heritage.
I'm not saying this is an excuse for what white people do nowadays. It's still not okay for white people to stereotype and try to own something that isn't their's. But I think this idea can help us understand it a bit more. I think white people are excited when they learn, or hear from some cooky uncle, that they have Indigenous ancestors, because it makes them think "wow, maybe I do have some cultural lineage I belong to, after all, aside from just my political nationality or my skin color." It's the same reason so many white-skinned people cling so much to their cultural identity of their immigrant ancestors, such as the Irish, Germans, Polish, Italians, etc. ... even though they have mostly lost the language, and other cultural identifiers, it makes them feel less lost in the sea of whiteness, to be able to say, "yes, this is me."
Posted by Critter Spigot on March 9, 2014 at 11:20 PM · Report this
61
Interesting people claiming 1/8 1/16 Cherokee. What roll(s) was your Cherokee ancestor on? Which Cherokee? Keetoowa, Cherokee Nation or Eastern Band of Cherokee? We determine degree of tribal blood from rolls not family folklore.
Posted by BoogerTsnotting on June 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this

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