Honest Injuns*: Policing Native Identity in the Wake of Rachel Dolezal

[One of the most common questions I receive from readers is how to check their lineage for Native American ancestry.

There are a few companies now that – for a pretty penny – will search your DNA for ethnic markers and give you a sort of roadmap of percentages. I’ve had friends use these companies and haven’t heard anything negative from them, so I imagine the information they provide is legit.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to figure out your genetic heritage. I fully support that.

But I wonder: For those who find they are some percent “Native American” (and let’s not forget we’re talking thousands of unique tribal nations in that vague descriptor), what will they do with that information?

In discussing Rachel Dolezal, the national conversation centers on her claim to Black identity, what she calls “the Black experience” (as if being Black, or any race, can be packaged into a singular experience). I am in full support of these discussions.


But no one outside of Native thinkers bats an eye at her assertion that she was born in a tipi and her family hunted with bows and arrows. In fact, Dolezal’s parents, who swore up and down that Dolezal is Caucasian without a hint of Black, noted that, in fact, one or two great-grandparents were Native.

Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo) addressed this on her (fabulously educational) blog,American Indians in Children’s Literature:

“The lack of questioning of that born-in-a-tipi story, however, points to the need for children’s books and media that accurately portray our lives in the past and the present so that people don’t put forth stories like the one Dolezar did, and so that that those who hear that kind of thing question such stories.

“Dolezal’s story about living in a tipi is plausible but not probable. The power of stereotyping is in her story, and in those who accepted it, too. That is not ok. Look at the images of Native people you are giving to children in your home, in your school, and in your library. Do some weeding. Make some better choices. Contribute to a more educated citizenry.”]    Read the full article here | Righting Red


Photograph found in author’s post in Righting Red




The Burden of Free Speech VS History as a Matter of Opinion and Language | Bill Ayers, Dinesh d’Souza and a Discussion about America

For Those Who Don’t Mind the Word “Redskin”; and for Those Who Do

A Simulacrum of a New Orleans’ Landmark of the Weird

Two weeks earlier, in October, a consent judgment handed down by the New Orleans Alcohol Beverage Control Board abruptly ended the club’s clothing-optional policy, forbidding patrons from swimming, tanning and drinking in the nude for the first time in its 37-year history. The policy had been New Orleans’s worst-kept secret, often touted as proof that nonconformity lived on in the Bywater neighborhood, even as the rest of the city Disneyfied.

But the appeal of the club, tucked inside a 19th-century Italianate mansion on a quiet residential block, was not purely symbolic. Its parties were wild, its bartenders were affable, and it reliably provided the Authentic New Orleans Experience, for just $10 at the door. The Club was a testament to the reasons transplants had moved to New Orleans. It was on savvy tourists’ list of must-dos. And when a woman reported being drugged and raped there in July, it became a flashpoint for a debate about whether the newcomers’ arrival threatens the same Bywater culture that drew them there.

How a Woman’s Rape at a Gay Nude Bar Sparked a Battle Over New Orleans’ Libertine Soul | TPM


The Faces of the Wrongfully Convicted


When a wrongfully convicted person gets released from prison, it is a major news event: Local television crews capture the first steps of freedom and the speeches on the steps of the state capital, audiences empathize as they grapple with gratitude and rage, and the exonerees take their first steps into an uncertain future.

But when the limelight fades, the wrongfully convicted face the reality of navigating the world they were yanked from, often with limited financial and social support.

According to the Innocence Project, it takes exonerees three years on average to receive any compensation after their release. More than a quarter get nothing. Among those who are paid, 81 percent get less than $50,000 for each year of wrongful imprisonment. Read the full article | PBS NewsHour


Merleau-Ponty on Form, Content, and Space | Agreement and Juxtaposition with Native Metaphysics and Ontology

“… allowed me to see what was  a l w a y s   t h e r e…”

“… help me to remember where we came from… This is not “me”. We come from a long line of “me”…”

“… on the whole, my heart has the rhythm of the planets.”

“… the only thing you need to do is be there. The answers will come to you.”

“There are so many heavens up there. So many places to travel…”


SEND THEM BACK | Intelligence Squared! Debate on the Return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece

The sculptures on the facade of the Parthenon, also known as the Elgin Marbles, consist of a large collection of marble sculpture, which was transported in Britain in 1806 by Thomas Bruce, ‘Z Count of Elgin, ambassador in the Ottoman Empire from 1799 till 1803. Taking advantage of the Ottoman reign of the Greek territory, Lord Elgin managed to obtain permission (the firman) by the Ottoman Sultan to remove the marbles in order to enumerate and register them in schemes, but later he moved on to their abstraction and their exportation out of the country.

The UNESCO World Heritage Center included the Parthenon as part of the wider monument complex, recorded in the catalog of world heritage monuments since 11th September 1987. However, the Parthenon is beyond the numbers of a World Monument Record. As a grand achievement in architecture, engineering and aesthetic context, the Parthenon stands as the most credible witness to an ancient Western civilization which hassignificantly influencedthe development of the modern Western world.

The Parthenon is the greatest monument of the Athenian State and the apex of the Doric order. Its construction began in 448/7 B.C., whereas the opening was held in 438 B.C. at the Panathenean Games and the sculpture decorations were finished in 433/2 B.C. According to sources of antiquity, the architects who worked for the construction of the Parthenon were Iktinos, Callicrates and possibly Pheidias, who was also responsible for the sculpture decoration. It is one of the Greek temples that is entirely built of marble as well as the only Doric temple with anastatic metopes. Many parts of the sculpture decoration, the architrave and the coffers of the ceiling were drawn with red, blue and gold colour. Pentelicon marble was used, except from the stylobate, which was built of limestone.

From a total of 97 surviving stones of the frontispiece of the Parthenon, 56 are in London and 40 in Athens. From a total of 64 surviving metopes, 48 are in Athens and 15 in London. From a total of 28 surviving figures of the frontispieces, 19 are in London and 9 in Athens.

The video is a British televised debate on the return of the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece, held in London in 2012.

Seeing the Parthenon through ancient eyes | PBS