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.

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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

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Photograph found in author’s post in Righting Red

 

 

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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

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

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

COUNTRY CLUB

The Faces of the Wrongfully Convicted

Wrongfully

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

 

I Stand Sunday | Thousands Rally Against LGBT Rights In Houston

Read the full article | THINKPROGRESS

Sunday evening, some of the most prominent organizations that work against LGBT equality joined together in Houston, Texas to rally in defense of “religious freedom.” The event, called “I Stand Sunday,” was hosted by Grace Community Church, whose pastor, Steve Riggle, was one of the five pastors originally subpoenaed for his role in challenging the LGBT-inclusive Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

The subpoenas, which Mayor Annise Parker (D) withdrew last week, were the catalyst for the rally, which largely functioned as a star-studded Christian worship service. Guests like Mike Huckabee, Todd Starnes from FOX News, and Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty preached that religious liberty is under attack from LGBT equality.
Watch the full event here: