Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Two Faces of America: Elizabeth Warren v. Baby Veronica

America, as a whole, clearly does not understand sovereignty or how it applies to Indian tribes. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs website,
"federally recognized tribes are recognized as possessing certain inherent rights of self-government (i.e., tribal sovereignty) and are entitled to receive certain federal benefits, services, and protections because of their special relationship with the United States."
How does this apply to Elizabeth Warren and Baby Veronica?

It applies because, time and time again, Americans repeatedly want to make both situations about race when they aren't. While many Americans said Warren had a right to claim her purported Cherokee ancestry, even if only a drop, and had a right to "check the box" based on family lore, many Americans are now saying Baby Veronica only has a "drop" of Indian blood, therefore, it isn't enough to matter.

When it was Elizabeth Warren claiming to have Cherokee ancestry, even though she couldn't prove it, there were plenty of Americans who spoke out in her defense, calling anyone who stood up against her false claims "a racist." Her supporters believed a drop was enough for her to claim, even though she couldn't show she actually had "a drop" of Indian blood.

Now that the focus is on Baby Veronica, a child with documented Cherokee ancestry, Americans have a different perspective. They say the little girl only has a drop of Indian blood and it isn't really enough to matter. They claim anyone who supports the idea she stay with her biological father and tribe is basing the opinion on race, when she really isn't "enough" to be considered an Indian.

Ah...the two faces of America. In one case, they want to tell us Cherokees we should accept someone who isn't, because her claim is good enough for them, yet in another case, they want to tell us who we should not be able to claim because that claim isn't good enough for them. Hmm...

But guess what. America's opinion doesn't matter. The sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation  does.  
Federally recognized tribes are recognized as possessing certain inherent rights of self-government (sovereignty) and are entitled to receive certain protections because of their special relationship with the United States.

That is key. The Cherokee Nation, a federally recognized tribe, decides its own citizenship. The Cherokee Nation is allowed to decide this because of its inherent right of SOVEREIGNTY. We define ourselves based on our criteria, not America's. By meeting the citizenship criteria defined by our nation, our citizens are entitled to certain protections. Baby Veronica is entitled to such protections, (i.e. the Indian Child Welfare Act,) while Warren is not, (i.e. Affirmative Action programs.)

But still, America doesn't seem to get it. The "two faced" remarks by Melissa Harriss-Perry is a perfect example.

In discussing Elizabeth Warren's claim, possibly politically motivated, Harriss-Perry said
"If candidate Warren grew up thinking she is Native American by heritage, who are we to say she is not?"

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And then later, when discussing the importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act...
"there is one group that does have a right to feel actual threat and concern about that and that is in the context of this country and Native Americans."

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Props to Harriss-Perry for getting it right the second time around, but she, like others in America, is still talking out of both sides of her mouth. First, she basically said we (Cherokees) had no right to say Warren wasn't "Native American" (remember, because she claimed us, we were speaking out, but MSNBC ignored that fact), and then, she turned around and said if anyone has a right to feel a threat in this country, it would be Native Americans. Well no kidding! That is why we were protesting against Warren in the first place! We were trying to protect OUR identity as citizens of the Cherokee Nation......for our children that non-Indians keep trying to take away from us.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2013, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

1 comment:

  1. I, for one, supported you - whatever else things have to be, they have to be consistent. Because if they're not, then people with power will abuse them. I'm just disgusted by people trying to take advantage of the system for helping out people, thus denying help to the people who really need it.


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