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.

BLOOD

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

BLOOD 2

Photograph found in author’s post in Righting Red

 

 

Advertisements

A Wild West

BLUFF FORT TXTR WMSAN JUAN WM

SHIPROCK WM  CRESTED BUTTE CHURCH BWDRILL WMOURAY MINERS TRAIN OLD BURN WMSINBAD WM   
AZTEC KIVA BWTONEWM
Sand Island Petroglyph AZTEC SUNLIGHT WM

Memory Theaters | A Photo Album

Red Tower 2 MARK

SE Utah

LOG ARCH

Arches National Park | Utah, USA |@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

ARCH MARK

The Kiss |@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

WOLF RANCH BW TONED MARK

Unforgiven |@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

3 MAGI BW MARK

Three Magi |@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

CROW 2 BW Y

@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

SUNSET FLARE MARK

@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

CROW BW MARK

@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

DINOSAUR MARK

Island in the Sky | Canyonlands National Park, Utah |@2015 Styliani Giannitsi Photography

NARROWS BW 2 MARK

LOG MOUNTAIN MARK

Utah desert in the winter

WINDOW MARK 2

Homestead

TATANKA BW MARK

Buffalo Panel | 9 Mile Canyon | Utah, USA

Homestead MARK

Manifest Destiny

HUNTING DETAIL II MARK

Hunting Scene | 9 Mile Canyon | Utah, USA

HUNTING SCENE BW II MARK

Memory Theater

9 Mile Canyon National Monument

9 Mile Canyon | Utah, USA

SNAKE BUDDY MARK

Memory Theater 2

STEVE BW MARK

Entitlements

DEER LEG BW

Gone Girl

BUFFALO SCENE BW MARK

Memory Theater 3

Big Wall Panel MARK

9 Mile Canyon | Utah, USA

Another Snake MARK

9 Mile Canyon | Utah, USA

DEAD END BW MARK COLORADO RIVER MARK WARRIORS WALL PANEL MARK DEER SPINE MARK

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

George Caitlin’s Creed | Sacred Feminine and Masculine | Russell Means and Pearl Means

Two narratives by Russell Means shortly before his death in 2012 | Oyate Wacinyapi

The Often Overlooked US History of Native American Dispossession

[Between 1776 and the present, the United States seized some 1.5 billion acres from North America’s native peoples, an area 25 times the size of the United Kingdom. Many Americans are only vaguely familiar with the story of how this happened. They perhaps recognise Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears, but few can recall the details and even fewer think that those events are central to US history.

Their tenuous grasp of the subject is regrettable if unsurprising, given that the conquest of the continent is both essential to understanding the rise of the United States and deplorable. Acre by acre, the dispossession of native peoples made the United States a transcontinental power. To visualize this story, I created ‘The Invasion of America’, an interactive time-lapse map of the nearly 500 cessions that the United States carved out of native lands on its westward march to the shores of the Pacific.]

Read the full article | AEON