Monday, February 14, 2011

We're Still Fighting for Our Identity

Not so long ago, I learned of several threats made toward American Indians or their representatives who were working to protect the truth about our history, culture and identity.

In Tennessee where the state had recognized 6 culture clubs as tribes (this has since been overturned), one of the fake Indians screamed at an authentic Choctaw woman and told her "get off my land!" meaning the woman should leave the state of Tennessee and go back to Oklahoma.

A Cherokee Nation hired lobbyist who was working in Tennessee on the issue of these fake tribes was threatened with “if this was a war party, you’d be shot.”

A radio personality who is a member of a fake tribe in Alabama threatened to take legal action against some Cherokees on facebook because he didn't like what they said. He also threw many insults at them, calling them racist and accusing them of falling for the white man's version of history among other things.

Recently, even I have experienced something similar after debunking a family myth. I am now the target of a smear campaign simply because I made factual statements about the ancestors of a non-Indian who was trying to claim our Cherokee history.

What do these threats and actions all have in common? They show the extreme attitude of non-Indians toward Indians when we don't allow them to lay claim to our history and our identity.
These types of attacks are unacceptable. We, as American Indians, have a right to stand up and defend our true history against anyone who would try to bastardize it to claim it as their own. We have a right to speak the truth, whether non-Indians want to hear it or not. And we have a right to be angry when non-Indians, despite all the evidence, still romanticize that they might be Indian.

If someone has a problem when we speak the truth, then that is their problem, not ours. Perhaps the simple fact that that some non-Indians become so emotionally out of control over the very fact they are challenged reveals something about them. Could it be they are unable to take pride in their true ancestors so they have to invent some claim to one they can be proud of? Could it be they have no sense of culture or heritage so they want to claim that of someone else? Or could it be they just want to be Indian so badly, they will just never accept being told they aren't? I really have no idea, but one thing is for sure, we are still fighting for our very identity and this fight doesn't look like it will end any time soon.

Those are my thoughts for the day.
Thank you for reading.

The Granddaughter

Revised post from June 27, 2010.

copyright 2011, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

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