I get this question in my inbox a lot. Like A LOT. (So everyone please read this carefully.) I’ve answered questions like this before in the past, but there’s not much else I can say on the matter to help anyone specifically.
If it upsets you so, and you want to shut people up about it, the best advice I can give is to look into the blood quantum laws for your specific band or tribe and try to apply for Native enrollment (CDIB) card.
However, I personally feel like you shouldn’t always have to be justify yourself to other people. People are going to think and believe and say whatever they want.
Sometimes the best thing to do is educate yourself on your specific lineage in your tribe and shut people up that way. If you’re well educated in your culture, and your specific ancestry, then sometimes that’s enough. And it should be enough for you, who cares about anyone else.
Remember, almost every Indigenous American deals with some sort of discrimination like this in some way. Some Natives, like my cousin for example, is full blooded Native American, but her skin is extremely light. She often gets told that she’s “Too light to be Indian”.
And then there are those Natives, like me. As a Native American living in Southern California, most people here assume I’m “Mexican”, and when I correct them, there’s always that one out of five people that wants to start an argument or quiz me on my heritage. Even though I wasn’t raised on a Reservation like some of my cousins, my parents instilled in me knowledge of exactly where I come from, and which helped me growing up to know exactly who I am today. So when I have to ‘deal’ with these people that say things like this, my knowledge of my culture is often times enough.
Even if your blood quantum is in the lower counts, but you have a strong Native American influence in your heritage, sometimes that has to be enough for you. And fuck anyone else. Sometimes you can’t let people get to you about things like this. It’s always going to happen, no matter who you are or where you’re from. But I find, that if you know exactly who you are, and where your roots reach to, then dealing with discrimination isn’t so hard.
There were actually a lot of different reasons Natives tattooed themselves. Sometimes the tattoos were made to show that someone was marked as a warrior. Or a young man would get one as a rite of passage. Animal tattoos were associated with the power of that species. Some Natives believed that by tattooing a specific animal on their body they would become endowed with supernatural powers or the strength of that specific animal. Some portrayed spiritual symbols in keeping with beliefs that everything in nature had a spirit. Women’s tattoos were typically meant to enhance beauty and sometimes to indicate their marital status. Many Natives had tattoos that identified the tribe or region that they belonged to. And some used tattoos as medicine, believing that the tattoo would have healing powers on specific areas of the body.
Everyone likes to debate this topic. But in places like Medowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, artifacts have been found showing that the area has been continually inhabited for over 19,000 years, since Paleo-Indian times.
Yeah, most Indigenous people view them as offensive and racist. Not to mention stereotypical and out dated. And you also have to consider the fact that they were made by white people as a source of advertisement aimed at other white people.
"European carvers had never seen a Native American, these early cigar-store “Indians” looked more like black slaves with feathered headdresses and other fanciful, exotic features. These carvings were called “Black Boys” or “Virginians” in the trade.” … “To some, the cigar store Indian is considered the Native equivalent of the black lawn jockey.”
No. You wearing a war bonnet would not be okay, even if you are Native. And just because you’re Native American doesn’t mean you have “the right” to wear one. You have to earn the right to wear one, if in fact they are even a headpiece of your tribe/clan.
I just reblogged THIS post on that very subject.
First of all, you have to know that this is a delicate subject among my followers and I.
So I can only speak for myself. But I’d love my followers to reply to this post with their own opinions.
I, myself, was not raised on a reservation because my father’s side of the family had left their reservation in 1910. And when my parents met, they decided together that they wouldn’t live on a reservation.
Do I feel that because I wasn’t raised on a reservation that I’m less Native? Of course not. But I do admit, that there are plenty of things I’ve missed out on by not being raised on one.
As for the other part of your question.. I don’t understand why you’re not registered? Because I personally am. And I feel that having your Certificate of Indian or Alaska Native Blood card is a really important part of being Native American because that’s what guarantees you tribal affiliation and is the only way you are recognized as a Native American by the government; which to me, is probably the most important part, because that’s the way you get to have a voice in what happens within our culture politically.
Gah! This frustrates me. I’m sorry to hear you feel that way.. but I agree, people with blood myths do make it harder on Native people who are lighter, or don’t have the so-called “sterotypical Indigenous looks”, but that actually have trible affiliation. I have relatives who go through the same thing, so I feel for you.
I wonder the same thing..
I frequently run into people like this wherever I go. A white person will ask me my ethnicity, and I tell them I’m Indigenous, and then right away they say, “Me too!” And they want to tell me all about how their great -grandmother was an Indian [Princess]. And then they look all disappointed that I’m not just as excited as they are about this information, or trying to hug them like they’re some kind of long lost brother or sister.
I think Thomas responds to this question best:
"Because they inherit family myths, or make false assumptions about "probably" having Indian blood. Then these claims gets passed down to the next generation, who pass it on to their kids, who pass it on to their kids, etc. After a while, with these stories getting passed along and with people having so many distant and vague ancestral lines, a large number of Whites (and Blacks) tend to inherit these myths.
Most of the time, if you do any real genealogical research on these specific claims, they turn out to be bogus. And frequently the claim of “Indian blood” was used to downplay Black-White admixture. It’s pretty common to hear a white person claim “Cherokee” blood, but rare to hear them claim “Black blood” when this would be statistically more likely admixture. (Yet, you NEVER hear this claim, do you?)
If you are a recognized Native (with true tribal affilation) it seems that everyone (both black and white) feels the need to tell you about their Indian/Cherokee blood. Many people just assume that if their family is from America, so therefore, they should have some “Native blood” by default “somewhere” is totally unfounded. You only have Indian ancestry if you have recognized Indian ANCESTORS that were from an intact tribal nation.”
I’m not reffering to only White Males of the past. I’m referring to White Males, and Females of not only the past, but also of the present day. Sorry to disappoint you, but being a white female from California doesn’t make you exempt. You might want to read Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide, 1846-1873 by Brendan C. Lindsay. Because even in the 1970’s there was sterilization of Native American women going on. Native opression, believe it or not, still exists.
However, when I refer to these white people, I am not referring to you persay. I am referring to the people that to continue to oppress not only my culutre but any culture that isn’t their own; people like I reffered to in my last answer, white people with a superiority complex.
Ignorance is a universal epidemic. I like to sarcasticly ask White people that think like this, ‘Why do all white people smell like corpses to people of other ethnicities?’.
First of all, people like this are delusional. It’s just a mask they put on to hide their fear of their own inferiority.
They’re no better than anyone else and people like this try to perpetuate stereotypes and create problems within other races to make themselves feel better. No matter what your ethnic or cultural background is, it’s not perfect or better than anyone elses.
Most of the time, people like this who have a superiority complex are impossible to talk to, because their heads are so far up their own asses that there’s no point in trying to reason with them or make them think about what they’re actually saying.
And sometimes it’s not always their fault because they were probably raised by people who were just as delusional. Also, they believe in the things that years of media and factless school teachings have tried to engrave in their-minds-eye and they need to read something like Lies You Believe About The Founding Of America.
If you do decide to try to reason with someone like this, start by trying to get to the root of their problem. Ask them what makes them feel that way? Usually, it’s some deeper underline problem, or just pure ignrorance. If they’re willing to talk and have an open mind to learn something different from their own ridiculous beliefs, then you can try to educate them on the facts.