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Monday, September 16, 2019



The elders tell us that it takes longer for us to heal today and the reason is because the old trails our ancestors used to use to find us have been destroyed. by colonialism, assimilation, manifest destiny, and ethnic cleansing, towns and cities where the old trails used to now our ancestors are having a hard time finding us to help us heal.

So we must burn sweetgrass~
a kindness medicine...with a sweet gentle aroma when we light it
21 strands to make a braid..the first 7 strands represent those 7 generations behind us~
Our parents
Our grandparents
7 generations behind us~who we are and what we are is because of them~they've brushed and made the trails we have been walking up til now...the trails have been destroyed.
The time has come to heal and connect with our ancestors. They paid a tremendous price for us to be able to speak out against injustices, we do not have the right to remain quiet.

The next 7 represent the 7 sacred teachings...
Love, Respect, Honesty, Courage, Wisdom, Truth and Humility
The elders tell us how simple, powerful and beautiful the teaching are
Love: unconditional affection with no limits or conditions that starts with loving yourself.
Respect: due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of other, with consideration, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, politeness, courtesy, civility, deference.
Humility freedom from pride or arrogance, being humble, when we truly understand the teaching of humility, that we are not any better then anyone else and you are not any better then me. that at the end of the day we are simply human beings, this is what makes this teaching powerful and beautiful.
Courage:bravery, permitting one to face extreme dangers with boldness withstanding danger, fear or difficulty
Wisdom:the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment the quality of being wise.
Truth: the face of the matter, veracity, sincere, candor and genuineness
a determined in principle entirely by how it relates to things
Honestly:have a character of integrity, and honor be free from fraud or deception, legitimate truthful.

The last 7 strands are those of the 7 generations in front of us~
Our children
Our grandchildren
as well as those children yet to be born
It is important because everything we do to Mother earth will one day effect them... We have lost our way, everything we do to Mother Earth gives us everything we need to heal ourselves and the earth. We must go back to our roots and bloom.
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children"

These teachings need to first start from within ourselves, respecting ourselves, they tell us that the teachings need to first start from the inside.

by: KakaygeesickBay

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Land Acknowledgement

Before doing a land acknowledgement, please read this piece by Debbie Reese, "Are You Planning to do a Land Acknowledgement."

Listen to some indigenous land acknowledgements.

Use this Native Land App as a starting point, but then research more about people who moved in and out of a territory, or were relocated, etc. in local libraries, reservation maps, and even Wikipedia.

Then make it your own and challenge others to go on their own journey.

Here's one of mine:  
(After an Arawak greeting and acknowledgment of my ancestry).  

We need to un-erase indigenous people, voices, history, inventions, and ingenuity. We went from 100% of the population on this land to 2% in the United States. This country wouldn't be what it is without the past and present contributions of its indigenous people. For example: our trading and hunting paths became highways, our engineered crops become part of the triangular trade system that built the economy, and our political system became the model for a representative democracy. 

We can start un-erasing First Nations People by naming the indigenous people of every place in the U.S we are talking about when we mention a location. For example, when we say where we are born, where we went to school, and where we traveled over the summer. This includes naming nations as we study U.S. history, cite authors of novels and where they are from, and the list goes on. 

So, this summer I spent time in the land of the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Mound Builders, and Choctaw. You may know these locations as Wyoming, Montana, and Missouri. Today, I want to acknowledge that my nation is from the Caribbean, but I have grown up here and been embraced by the nations of this land which include the Massachusett, Wampanoag, and Nipmuc. Other nations have traveled through this land, but the Massachusett have always been here, specially in this land they called Shawmut and you call Boston.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

New Children's Books

Six new Indigenous books for younger readers
Sure, June is National Indigenous History Month, and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. But with Indigenous literature undergoing a renaissance in Canada, there are plenty of titles to last you year-round. Here are a few for younger readers to get you started.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Stone Walls

This article implies all walls are built by colonizers and the only Native Americans involved were those who might have been hired as slaves.

However, I learned from other experts that many rock walls in New England were built by the indigenous people, particularly once confined in "praying villages," such as, those in Natick and Carlisle. The walls typically lead to marshes or bluffs and were treated more like paths than walls.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Missionary Work is Colonialism is Violence

Dawn Neptune
Please share this with your friends in the faith business. Missionary "work" is colonization and colonization is violence. I was attacked by a deranged preacher about a year ago, in Texas. They DO get physically violent when they can't convert us; and if not for the Standing Rock Vets (VeteransRespond) who stepped in between us when he put his hands on me, I would have ripped that Duck Dynasty beard right off his face. Stop defending that idiot missionary. He got what he deserved.
Self-defense is not violence ~ colonialism is.

Caitlin Lowery
November 24 at 7:32 AM
I used to be a missionary. I would go on short term mission trips to Eastern Europe or Africa for the sole purpose of “earning souls for Christ”. We kept count of the number of people we “saved”. We put on a play or volunteered for a little while to show our love for Jesus. Then after praying with them and adding their soul to the tally marks, we would never see them again.

I thought I was doing God’s work. But if I’m being honest, I was doing work that made me feel good. I would volunteer in an orphanage or help clean out a house, both tasks requiring that the people who lived there had to teach me what to do. This actually took their time away from their family or their work. Yet I believed I was serving them.

Ask me what their names were. I must have worked with and met hundreds of people. Do I remember who they were? Did I even attempt to keep in contact with them or show them that I still care after they’d been added to the notches in my cross? No. Not even once.

I prayed over their houses of worship, that they would repent and see that their faith was dead. Yet I never once sat down and asked to learn what they believed. Why did I assume that my faith was the right faith? Why did I assume that my presence was so precious that it would change their hearts and lives? Why did I assume that they were lost, living their beautiful content lives right where they were? Why did I assume their lives needed changing?

This is white supremacy. This is colonization. White people entering a foreign land under the guise of caring to turn people into followers of the white peoples god and life. Do not pretend colonization doesn’t happen anymore. It just lives under a new name: mission trip.

Do not victimize the missionary that was killed for not following the laws of the tribe he claimed to love. Do not demonize the tribe that simply tried to protect their children from disease and violence. If he cared he would have already known their beliefs and laws and would not have disrespected them. But he didn’t care. They were just going to be another notch on his cross.

If you’ve gone on mission trips before, and this feels like an attack, sit with that feeling for awhile. Is it good to help people? Yes. Is it good to insert yourself into someone else’s life without asking based on your own assumption that you are the most important person in the room? No. It’s time for us to reflect on that notion and change our ways.

Colonization needs to end.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 (some of the best articles ever!)

Thanksgiving is a celebration of colonization.  Let’s acknowledge the movement of decolonization and reeducation happening right now in our country. 

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Settler Privilege
Peggy McIntosh first popularized the concept of white privilege in her now-classic 1989 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The impact of her essay was due at least in part to its clarity and readability; it broke down into a list of easy to understand ideas why white people have unearned advantages in society based on their skin color. Not that it was necessarily easy for white people to accept that they are in fact “more equal” than others, but the essay opened up a conversation that has gained serious traction in our social discourse, especially now when racism is on full, unobstructed display in this Trumpian moment.    

People who do not have ancestral connections to Native communities are all either settlers or immigrants. People with ambiguous “Native ancestry,” like Elizabeth Warren, are so disconnected from whatever Native roots they may have had that they can no longer be considered Native. Settlers are people whose ancestors who came to acquire recently dispossessed Indian lands, such as recipients of the homesteads of the nineteenth century and earlier land speculators. Immigrants are people who came later to cash in on the benefits of American citizenship that didn’t necessarily include land (but might have if they came with enough money to invest in American land). Most are settlers (also “colonizers”) or immigrants by choice, with the exception of Blacks who are descended from slaves who were settled here without their consent.

Settler Fragility: Why Settler Privilege Is So Hard to Talk About
Settler fragility stems from settler privilege, which is similar to white privilege in that it is systemic, structural, and based on white supremacy, making it difficult to identify. Only in some ways, settler privilege is far more covert and cunning. The reason is because of the ubiquitous ways the US is normalized; that is, the US settler state is the “water we swim in.” US citizens of all races and ethnic groups have been indoctrinated their entire lives with messages designed to foster a sense of national pride and belonging in the making of what has been called an “imagined community,” which always occurs on Indigenous lands. Their citizenship and their very identity are taken for granted without critical consciousness about the US’s contradictory foundational structures and narratives.

Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools (this got 500 shares on my fb page)
Sample Letters to Send to your Child’s School
Resources for Educators and Families to Teach about Thanksgiving & Native Peoples in a Socially Responsible Way
Children’s Books about Native Peoples, Cultures, and Traditions

A Native Perspective on Thanksgiving
I have been following the struggle of the Native American community since the seventies. Several times, I even traveled Plymouth, Massachusetts with activists from the International Action Center (IAC) to familiarize myself with the native perspective on Thanksgiving, in particular. We visited the Wampanoag tribe (the People of the Dawn), a community that is indigenous to the Plymouth area.

During this trip, I met Moonanum James, a co-leader of the United American Indians of New England (UAINE). He explained that for Native Americans, Thanksgiving is not a joyous holiday. Among other things, the UAINE is known for founding the National Day of Mourning, which falls each year on Thanksgiving Day, as a way of protesting the holiday. The origins of the Day of Mourning date back to 1970, when Wamasutta Frank James, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, was invited by Plymouth town officials to give a speech on Thanksgiving Day, but when officials read a copy of it before the ceremony, they told him it was prohibited. That’s because he had planned to speak at length about the violence that occurred against native peoples.

Today, the UAINE march around the town of Plymouth to protest the continued misrepresentation and commercialization of their history. In 1997 they won a court case against the town of Plymouth, which had arrested and pepper-sprayed demonstrators, including children and elders. As part of the settlement, there are plaques acknowledging Native history, including one plaque which is placed on display where King Phillips’ head was on display for two decades, as well as an educational fund to teach children in schools about native history.

Jaqueline Keeler, of Dineh and Yankton Dakota heritage says Thanksgiving is really “a U.S. celebration of early arrivals in a European invasion” that culminated in the death of up to 30 million native people.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker Posted on Facebook 11/18/18
A Thanksgiving letter
Dear America,
Here we are at this time of year where you pretend to love us Indians. You celebrate a fictional story of Indians welcoming your bedraggled ancestors who came to our shores uninvited, at least rightly claiming that we saved them from sure starvation. Squanto was your hero, a man who turned against his own people for his own benefit and whom the colonists desperately held onto anyway. Still, you tell romantic stories of how Squanto saved your people and give that as evidence for the Indigenous peoples fictitious warm welcome of people who cared nothing of the fact that this was a populated land. For centuries they told more tall tales about how this was a virgin wilderness, a land free for the taking, divinely inspired by what appeared to us as a vengeful, mean god, a god we did not recognize as the benevolent creator we knew.

Your ancestors have used these stories of their own perceived superiority to justify their plunder of our lands, the raping of our women, the killing of our babies, the wholesale slaughter of our people, and now the trauma of those of us who have survived the carnage. They wove it into a legal system that still undermines our ownership, yes ownership, of our lands based on the fictitious doctrine of discovery, in which (white) Europeans imagine themselves supreme based on their colonizing religion. Yet most of you dont even know that this is the foundation of your country, and if you do know it, you continue to justify it in a million different ways so that you can feel righteous about living on a land so violently appropriated in the name of your god whom you worship at the altar you call democracy.

Well, your ancestors were squeamish enough about killing us all off so that a small fraction of us could physically survive. They needed us as a foil against their own tyrannical, despotic relatives across the sea, as people to look toward for what true freedom and liberty actually looked like, even while they simultaneously reviled us for that freedom.

Even though you look at us now and say you love us, you respect us, and what a shame it was your ancestors did what they did to us, you were never completely comfortable with our survival. The few of us who survived the American holocaust fought like hell in countless ways and now our numbers are growing. We have attained a measure of power in your institutions of capitalism and so-called democracy. We are reclaiming our languages and cultures against the never-ending onslaught of your vampire culture. We are not going away.

We are the mirror to your own broken souls, exposing the ways your humanity has failed and has failed so extremely that all life on the planet is now on a death spiral, thanks to your supposedly superior culture. Our very existence is a reminder of your hubris, your own unrelenting grandiosity. We may all go down together in this sinking ship, but it is we who have been here since time immemorial. It is we who understand the spirit of the land and who know how to live in a relationship of respect for it. It is our ancestors whose spirits peer through the veil of time and space, undoubtedly in sadness for what you have done to our homelands. We will continue to survive despite you.

There is no thanksgiving here for you. There is only thanks taking. We are not here to make you feel better about your death culture. For this we do not apologize. It is YOU who must get over it, and make things right, not us.

Just my two cents worth as a surviving member of Indian country.

Thanksgiving Promotes Whitewashed History, So I Organized Truthsgiving Instead
An essential part of decolonizing Thanksgiving is to start educating our children with the authentic history of this country. A book that re-examines basic “truths” about Thanksgiving in an educational context is Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years. Considering that much of the Thanksgiving mythology is based on sharing food, it is ideal to discuss the importance of Indigenous first foods or food sovereignty with our children as well. The book Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition discusses the traditional process of growing and harvesting corn, de-commercializing what we eat, and promoting culturally appropriate foods and agricultural systems of North America. Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit for Combatting Racism in Schools is a quick read where more resources are listed; it even has sample letters that can be sent to your children’s school concerning problematic Thanksgiving activities.

Decolonizing Thanksgiving And Reviving Indigenous Relationships to Food
Consider the Nations who tended fruit and nut trees.  Imagine the gardens of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers that were the ecological knowledge of the Wampanoag- the very knowledge that saved the pilgrims from starvation. Consider the songs, the kinship, the lineal seed keepers, and ceremonies that guided Indigenous cosmologies, landscapes and people. Those sacred commitments left no person hungry or without medicine or without worth.   And now, understand the deliberate effort of colonizers to disconnect Indigenous people from our relationship to our traditional and ceremonial foodways- relationships that made us whole.  Understand the traumas of forced relocation, of slash and burn campaigns from Haudenasaunee territory to Canyon de Chelly, our hunting grounds deforested, waterways damned, and our individual and communal indigeneity gradually outlawed. Consider the settler adage that “every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.”  Now fast forward to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, 486 years after the first attacks on our being, and consider that it has only been forty years since we have “legally” been allowed to restore our commitments to these lands. Forty years.

At Plimoth Plantation, Shedding Light On The First Thanksgiving
Every year, Plimoth Plantation holds a series of pre-Thanksgiving Harvest Feasts, with 17th-century recipes and dining customs. There are spoons, but no forks - some dishes are eaten with 3 fingers on the right hand. Men sling their napkins over their shoulders.  All the dishes are all based on 17-century English recipes with things that were available in New England at the time. In addition to mussels and turkey, there’s a native corn pudding, stewed pompion (or pumpkin), and a pottage of cabbage, leeks and onions.

The Harvest Feast is an approximate re-creation – with some 20th century concessions – of how the Pilgrims’ may have celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621. The familiar holiday we know today wouldn’t get that name for another 242 years. But the idea of pausing each year for a day of thanks and reflection has endured ever since.

11 Thanksgiving 2018 Charity Ideas & Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season
Giving back can be as simple as making a monetary donation to an organization that's working to make a difference. If you're in a position to do so, give some funds to an nonprofit organization or other agency that's getting serious work done on an issue you care about. Do some research on your own and use a third-party site like to help you find a super legit place to give.

Why These Native Americans Observe A National Day Of Mourning Each Thanksgiving (video)

The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday
The first official mention of a “Thanksgiving” celebration occurs in 1637, after the colonists brutally massacre an entire Pequot village, then subsequently celebrate their barbaric victory. Years later, President Washington first tried to start a holiday of Thanksgiving in 1789, but this has nothing to do with “Indians and settlers, instead it’s intended to be a public day of “thanksgiving and prayer.” (That the phrase “Merciliess Savage Indians” is written into the Declaration of Independence says everything we need to know about how the founders of America viewed the Indigenous Peoples of this land.) It wasn’t until the writer Sarah Josepha Hale persuaded President Lincoln that the Thanksgiving holiday was needed and could help heal the divided nation that it was made official in 1863. But even that was not the story we are all taught today. The inspiration for that was far more exclusionist.

Native Women Tell the Real History of Thanksgiving (video)
“It was a brutal, brutal genocide that took place, and each Native person that’s here is a survivor of that genocide”

100 Ways to Support—Not Appropriate From—Native People
THIS IS SO RELEVANT. For those of you "get over it" folks, just remember, we have no other place where our story should told but on these continents; other people (dominant culture) controls our narrative and we have limited ways to present counter narratives (the TRUTH); and more people know us through stereotypes than by accurate cultural and historical information, among other things. "Let’s start with 100 ways you and yours can be allies toward to the Indigenous peoples of this continent—our ancestral land." 

Unlearning the Doctrine of Discovery
The doctrine of discovery was a Christian invention which justified dispossessing indigenous peoples of their land, parceling it out among emerging nation-states, and turning it into private property for settlers. In this framework, indigenous peoples are left with either extermination or assimilation.Besides merely saying “sorry,” what would it mean to concretely repent for the doctrine of discovery? What would it look like to act against it? The truth is that undoing the doctrine of discovery would destabilize our entire western legal tradition. Our society is organized around private property and various claims to national territory which have discovery as a foundation. Take away discovery and society as it is currently built falls apart.

Grief at Thanksgiving: Gratitude with a grain of salt
I’ll go ahead an acknowledge the giant turkey in the room, Thanksgiving can be the pits for people who are grieving. Many of the values, traditions, and messages associated with the day, like warmth, comfort, gratitude, and family togetherness, can feel in direct conflict with a grieving person’s actual reality. If you are grieving, you probably know what I mean by this. Although you may be hesitant to admit it in the face of all the festivities, the ’30-Days of Thankfulness’ challenges on Facebook, and Charlie Brown and his dang pumpkin. But you’re amongst grief-friends here, and it’s okay to admit that you’re feeling just a little (or a lot) less grateful than you’ve felt in years past.

400 years later, natives who helped Pilgrims gain a voice
Plymouth, Massachusetts, whose European settlers have come to symbolize American liberty and grit, marks its quadricentennial in 2020 with a trans-Atlantic commemoration that will put Native Americans’ unvarnished side of the story on full display. Organizers are understandably cautious this time around. When the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing was observed in 1970, state officials disinvited a leader of the Wampanoag Nation — the Native American tribe that helped the haggard newcomers survive their first bitter winter — after learning his speech would bemoan the disease, racism and oppression that followed the Pilgrims. But the emphasis is on highlighting the often-ignored history of the Wampanoag and poking holes in the false narrative that Pilgrims and Indians coexisted in peace and harmony.

When Native Americans Were Slaughtered in the Name of "Civilization"
Listed, some of the most aggressive acts of genocide taken against indigenous Americans.

Don’t Trash Thanksgiving. Decolonize It 
But we don’t have to reject the holiday completely. We can, and should, decolonize and reinterpret it. The fact is, there is no one event from which the holiday is derived. And around the world, other countries such as Canada, Liberia, Netherlands, the Philippines, and Germany celebrate their own Thanksgiving on different days.  Some historians have documented that the tradition came to the New World with the settlers. Some say the holiday was secular. Others say it was religious. It has been observed on various dates throughout history.

In the late 1700s, George Washington declared November 26 a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Seventy-four years later, Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November to celebrate the Union’s military successes in Civil War. And in 1941, FDR signed a resolution changing the date from the last Thursday to the fourth Thursday of the month.  Since then, many have chosen to replace the traditional celebration with ones that honor their sociopolitical or familial beliefs.

In some households, Pilgrims and “Indians” are never mentioned. Traditional American history is never mentioned.  The day is about spending time with family, and of course the culinary delights prepared by the matriarchs of our families.  My family would stand in a circle holding hands. We’d each share what we’re thankful for. My paternal grandmother would then pray and bless the food.  For some it’s about giving thanks by giving back to those who don’t have families to spend time with, or a meal to eat. They go to church, visit hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, food pantries, or folks on the streets in their communities. Some sponsor dinners for families who are experiencing financial challenges.

“On [this] holiday we sit down with a simple bowl of rice (which two-thirds of the world population would have been happy to have) and we made lists of all the things and people we’re thankful to have and to know.”  Ultimately, within our families and communities and schools, we should stop, reinterpret, and repurpose traditions that are harmful, either in theory or practice.  I learned from my elders that when you know better, you should do better.  As we enter into this holiday, let’s acknowledge the movement of decolonization and re-education happening in our country.  We can observe and celebrate with our families in ways that honor those who the day originally dishonored, and those who continue to struggle under oppression.

As A Native American, Here’s What I Want My Fellow Americans To Know About Thanksgiving 
If I didn’t find my community, my Native family or my traditional support, I’d get swallowed up by colonialism. I realized the holiday was lifted on some imaginary pedestal as a joyous day of peace between two worlds, when historians know the truth to be much more violent.      So what could I do, or bring to my family, that would reclaim the day in a way that was both healing and power-giving?   The first time I attended the Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony in San Francisco was in 2017. The Sunrise Ceremony is a special event organized by the Muwekma Ohlone people of San Francisco and other Bay Area Natives, to come together as a community in the darkness of Thanksgiving morning and partake in the reclamation of the holiday for our surviving people. There is always a large, warm bonfire in the center and a circle of relatives and guests that surround it.

10 Native Activism Organizations to Show Your Support This Thanksgiving

When Native Americans Were Slaughtered in the Name of ‘Civilization’
The Gnaddenhutten Massacre
Battle of Tippecanoe
The Creek War
Forced Removal
Mankato Executions
Sand Creek Massacre
Custer’s Campaigns
Wounded Knee

The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday
Every November, I get asked an unfortunate, loaded question: “You’re a Native American—what do you eat on Thanksgiving?” My answer spans my lifetime. But our families lived something different. My great grandfather helped fight off General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, alongside other Lakota and Cheyenne, not even 100 years before my birth. I think about my great grandfather’s lifetime, being born in the 1850s—toward the end of the genocides that began in the 1600s across America, and stretching into the subtler but still damaging years of assimilation efforts we have endured since. He saw escalating conflicts between Lakota life as he knew it and the ever-emerging immigrants from the east. He witnessed the disappearance of the bison, the loss of the sacred Black Hills, the many broken promises made by the U.S., along with atrocities like the Sand Creek and Wounded Knee Massacres. He saw his children attend the boarding schools where they had their hair forcibly cut and were punished for speaking their languages. I wonder what he thought about the Thanksgiving story.

How to Support Indigenous People on Thanksgiving
Here are some ideas for what to do on Thanksgiving instead of showing your gratitude for colonizers.
While there’s no harm in taking the time to be grateful for your loved ones, here’s what you can do instead of extending that thanks to pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, or any other colonizers.
  1. Find out which tribe(s) are indigenous to your area, and what they’ve endured so that you could live there. Online maps like Native Land and this one on Native Languages can help. Once you know whose land you live on, read up on the history of that tribe as written by them to get the full picture of where you live, and extend your thanks and appreciation, either in words or money, to said tribe.
  2. As you remember the Wampanoag people, who allegedly sat down to feast with pilgrims in the early 1600s, understand that not all Indigenous people are the same. Many prefer to refer to themselves not as “Native American” or “Indigenous,” but specifically by their tribe’s name. Each tribe has its own set of traditions, practices, and beliefs. To learn more about the nuances and designations that Indigenous people use to refer to themselves, read this.
  3. Thanksgiving preparation can take a lot of time. Instead of interpreting this as making the most time-consuming, extravagant recipes you can find, spend more effort reading about the history of the country as a whole as told by indigenous people. Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution by Oren Lyons is a good place to start. If your histories of North America have all come from white men, you’re not getting the full picture.
  4. Your knowledge and support are nice, but put your money where your mouth is, if you have the means. Instead of spending money on a new outfit to impress your family or an expensive bakery dessert, allocate some of that money to local organizations like the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) or national ones like The American Indian College Fund, anything helps. You can find a list of organizations catering to Indigenous people here.
  5. Consume, and more importantly purchase, art, books, and goods by Indigenous people. Ask yourself which Thanksgiving dinner ingredients you can get from indigenous sources, then use this list of Native-owned businesses to find them. Instead of doing the Black Friday thing, gift a book or piece of art by an indigenous author to a loved one to show them your appreciation. I recommend Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women by Wilma Mankiller and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. You can find a list of great books by indigenous people here and recommendations from the First Nations Development Institute here. You can buy Indigenous art online at websites like Shumakolowa.
  6. From putting the first man on the moon to fighting for our environment, we have infinite reasons to be thankful for indigenous women. Show your gratitude towards them this Thanksgiving by donating to organizations that stand up for them, like the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. (According to the Indian Law Resource Center, “More than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than one in two have experienced sexual violence.”)
link to article for 5 more ideas.

On Indigenous People’s Day, a Look at the Movement to Revive Native Foodways and How Western Science Might Support—For a Change
Such efforts to reclaim food sovereignty as a way to recover health, in all its dimensions, among the nation’s survivors of a traumatic campaign of Native American genocide is gaining momentum, and particularly so among the TCU network, known colloquially as “Native American Land Grant Colleges and Universities,” or even more eccentrically, the “1994s.” Ironies are plentiful in explanation. As Europeans colonized North America from the east coast westward, they established infrastructure and institutions to facilitate their settlement project.

First Nations in Sports (in the News)

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: We honored sports teams with racist mascots. Not anymore.
Though one might not think of racism and discrimination as factors in health, the clear science tells us otherwise. They impact the physical, emotional and psychological health of people, especially children.  More specifically, research shows deep psychological consequences caused by the perpetuation of American Indian stereotypes — whether they are deemed “offensive” or not. As University of Washington researcher Stephanie Fryberg and colleagues found, “American Indian mascots are harmful because they remind American Indians of the limited ways others see them and, in this way, constrain how they can see themselves.”

Tomahawk Chops and Native American Mascots: In Europe, Teams Don’t See a Problem
For years, these teams were insulated from the vigorous discussion about the use of this type of imagery by sports teams in the United States, where critics long ago deemed the practice offensive and anachronistic. This year, the Cleveland Indians announced that they would stop using their Chief Wahoo logo on their uniforms beginning in 2019, continuing a decades-long trend in which thousands of such references have disappeared from the American sports landscape.

Native American lacrosse teams kicked out of S.D. league amid racial tension
Lacrosse is considered America's oldest sport — an important part of Native American cultures long before the arrival of Europeans. It's still used to teach Native youth about culture, values and life skills like keeping emotions under control. It can also be a path to college for players who often come from impoverished reservations.

Lacrosse is considered America's oldest sport — an important part of Native American cultures long before the arrival of Europeans. It's still used to teach Native youth about culture, values and life skills like keeping emotions under control. It can also be a path to college for players who often come from impoverished reservations.

The primarily Native teams expelled from the Dakota league — Susbeca and 7 Flames are the others — say they were kicked out after asking the league to address their allegations. They provided copies of letters they said they sent to the league and to U.S. Lacrosse in 2016 and 2017, detailing the cellphone-toting parent incident and other specific instances of racial slurs and overly rough play.

"Racism kind of goes across the board with all sports," he said. "It's the attitude and belief that people in the Dakotas have always had to the indigenous population, for hundreds of years."

Palestinian Group Asks Iroquois Nationals to Withdraw from Lacrosse Championships in Israel
Because they have similar issues of colonization

Monday, November 12, 2018

First Nations in the News 2018

Sterilizations happened as recently as 2017, Saskatchewan lawsuit alleges

Cherokee Nation citizenship is a legal determination based on a person's ability to trace his or her ancestry back to the Dawes Rolls. These lists were created by the U.S. Dawes Commission when the Five Civilized Tribes - Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole - were forced to agree to a land allotment plan. For those who would like to become citizen of the Cherokee Nation, finding an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls is the only way.

"If a mom and dad are already enrolled and they're just enrolling their children, all of the legwork has been done, and we don't have to go very far," said Derrick Vann, interim tribal registrar. "The paperwork has already been done, the child has their birth certificate, so stamp it and go on to the next one - that one's already complete."A treaty between the U.S. and Cherokee Nation in 1866 stated that all African-American slaves who were taken as property by the tribe would become citizens. But in 2007, the tribe held a special election, and citizens voted to exclude the Cherokee Freedmen descendants from citizenship unless they met the "Cherokee by blood" requirement.

In August 2017, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen do have the right to tribal citizenship. However, because generations of Freedmen descendants never applied to for Cherokee Nation membership, it takes more paperwork to prove their claims.

Thursday, CN Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said people should understand the existence of the Cherokee Nation is a result of "our people enduring the Trail of Tears, and rebuilding a society, and rebuilding a government in what is now northeast Oklahoma." "It's more than simply having a DNA test that indicates you may have North or South American Native blood," said Hoskin. "It is about your connection to a people that have had a continuous presence on the continent as an identifiable tribe in a continuous government to government relationship with the U.S. Those things are important, so it's way beyond simply family lore or having some DNA test."

Indigenous Feminism: Healing the World of Patriarchy and White Supremacy
Changing Women Initiative: “We are focused on developing a culturally centered reproductive wellness and birth center. By creating a physical space for education and healing for Native American women, we will reclaim cultural identities through birth and motherhood that has been shaped through our cultures”

Indigenous Goddess Gang: Colonial tactics like divide and conquer and patriarchy have impacted women by pitting us against one another. There is a narrative that is fed to women that we must compete with each other for everything; a man’s love, for validation, in beauty, in success, and this is normalized to nausium by the media. This way of thinking is based on a patriarchal belief that women aren’t enough or that we are somehow lesser than. Patriarchy also works to have women believe that we belong in certain roles, that we must obey and so on. In Indian country, through colonization some of our matrilineal societies have been turned into patriarchal societies, and these patterns and behaviors play out and destory families and relationships. To challenge this entire system, the Indigenous Goddess Gang has formed a collective of femme Indigenous artists, writers, thought leaders, designers, and activists to not just lift up the voices and the incredible work of Indigneous femmes and queer folks, but also to revitalize and build sisterhood as a form of resistance to patriarchy.

Native Women Lead: As I mentioned Indigenous or tribal communities are not void of patriarchy. In fact, native women experience a unique challenge when it comes to patriarchy because there is often cultural or traditional beliefs that surround these dynamics between men and women, so it becomes extremely sensitive for us to assert our power as women. Outside of our communities, native women experience a drastic gap when it comes to equal pay. September 27th marks #NativeWomensEqualPay Day and what this day represents is that on average Native women are paid 57% of what white men are paid. To transform this status quo and to empower women to be leaders, not only in our communities but also in the business sector, the project Native Women Lead has been founded by a group of native women business owners and social entrepreneurs.

Did Colonists Give Infected Blankets to Native Americans as Biological Warfare?
North American colonists’ warfare against Native Americans often was horrifyingly brutal. But one method they appear to have used shocks even more than all the bloody slaughter: The gifting of blankets and linens contaminated with smallpox. The virus causes a disease that can inflict disfiguring scars, blindness and death. The tactic constitutes a crude form of biological warfare—but accounts of the colonists using it are actually few.

Repatriation Comic (How to explain NAGPRA to students)

Dina Gilio-Whitaker Posted on Facebook 11/12/18
A bit of a long post here, on the topic of changing historical narratives in K-12 education. I have been engaged in a project I was invited into a year and a half ago. ICivics is an educational non-profit founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that creates online games for kids to supplement US civics education. Their newest game is called the Ratification Game, which as its name implies is about the ratification of the constitution. The project directors wrote an NEH grant to fund the creation of the game.

I was asked to participate for my expertise in Native studies; not that I'm an expert in Native history of that era, but since they asked I said yes. They got the grant, and we have been in the design stages for months now, which includes designing topics, characters, dialogues, stuff like that. I have spent months boning up on Native history during that time period, including a thorough understanding of the "Iroquois influence theory." Those familiar with it know it is quite controversial.

The game designers made sure to include a diverse group of characters, including women, Blacks, and NA's. It was good that they wanted to include Native perspectives, even though Natives weren't technically part of the US at the time. We actually decided to create two Native characters--actual historical Native people--representative of both southern and Northern Native groups, since the experiences of those groups were so diverse. One of the characters is Molly Brant, whose perspective as a Mohawk woman is very telling. The other character is Alexander MacGillivary, the Creek warrior and political leader.

Anyway, in this process, perhaps inevitably I've collided with the usual triumphalist, exceptionalist rhetoric so characteristic of K-12 US historiography. Some of the rhetoric includes pro-constitutional "insights" that "A stronger unified nation would be more successful at engaging (and pacifying) the native tribes throughout the nation" and "A strong and unified government with a national military could be used against all
threats- foreign or domestic."

Obviously there are huge problems with this kind of language. So I had to break it down for them:
"One of the biggest sins of conventional American history-telling, especially at the K-12 levels, is the sanitizing of US violence against Indian nations in order to present a more palatable story, in the interest of building a sense of patriotism and civic pride. Simply including Indians in the story of constitutional ratification is not enough to balance this out this kind of historiography. In this game, we have an opportunity to do a better job at presenting a more fair and accurate portrayal of the way the US in actuality handled its Indian relations. Remember, it was Indians whose lands were invaded. They didn't ask for Europeans to come to their lands and live with them. It was they who were defending themselves against relentless encroachment into their territories, sparking unwanted violence on both sides, especially as MacGillivary's perspective demonstrates, and Molly Brant's revelation that her people were pushed out of their homelands. Yet the conventional histories are typically written with terms reflecting the justification of American imperialism such as the US's need to "pacify" the Indians; Indians are the prime "domestic or foreign threats" to the republic of the moment.

'A stronger unified nation would be more successful at engaging (and pacifying) the native tribes throughout the nation' really means the ability to 'be more successful at dispossessing Indians of all their land throughout the continent by any means necessary,' and it was no secret in this particular era that continental domination was the endgame. Let's not sugar-coat that. There is nothing honorable about it, especially within a conversation whose core tenets are supposedly democracy, liberty, and 'all men being created equal.' The phrase 'foreign or domestic threats' really translates, on one level, to 'Indian tribes are impediments to US expansion (i.e. imperialism)'. Let's be honest about it.

I think we should not back down from language that reflects a different but more accurate narrative, about violent, imperialistic US aggression, as the conversations with Brant and MacGillivary imply. I don't doubt the possibility this will raise conflict with many of the people on your team, but I do want to be heard on this. I am deeply uncomfortable with the phrase "A strong and unified government with a national military could be used against all threats- foreign or domestic." This ignores the fact that in reality, the US was a far bigger threat to the Indigenous populations."

We'll see how this plays out. I've had moments of wondering "why oh why did I agree to this project?" But in the long run I suppose it is about the possibility to help shift educational narratives and de-sanitize them.
I am a strong Métis womxn. If there ever comes a time when I disappear and I go for groceries and don’t return, or when I go to raise my fist in solidarity and don’t return... please know: I would never voluntarily leave my sons, my companion, my family. I would not be out partying or doing drugs. I would not die by suicide. I am an activist and therefore more likely to suffer violence at the hands of the Police State. I am more likely to be targeted by racists and/or Industrial interests who favor the status quo. They will continue to try to silence me. If I ever DO NOT return home...know that someone took me against my will. Don’t make excuses as to WHY I might have not returned home, because it is a lie. Look for me. Please.
Being a Native womxn, there’s a target on my back. I feel it! Far too many of our Native womxn are disappearing.
💔 #whoismissing
#nomorestolensisters #nomoremurderedmothers
*Copy & Paste*
Dear White People: Here’s how to be a REAL ally instead of just playing one on social media
1. LISTEN when marginalized people are talking
2. Don’t dismiss lived experiences that are unfamiliar to you
3. Stop taking attacks on white supremacy personal
4. Acknowledge your own internal biases so you can dismantle them
5. Speak up when other white people act like donkeys

10 things every white teacher should know when talking about race
1. Racism is not necessarily about holding hate in your heart toward other people or consciously believing you are superior because you’re white.
2. There is no such thing as reverse racism.
3. There are different rules for white people and people of color when talking about race.
4. It is not racist (nor is it “creating division”) for people of color to talk about how they experience the world differently than white people. Colorblindness is not a thing to aspire to.
5. If you have been told that it IS racist to see or talk about color, that was probably in a situation where you were pointing out race in a completely irrelevant context.
6. Use descriptors of race that are both inclusive and empowering.
7. Develop a listen-first ethic when a conversation turns to race, rather than insisting that race is irrelevant.
8. You can prevent knee-jerk defensiveness by actively working to de-center your experiences as a white person in conversations about race.
9. When someone hits a sore spot and you realize you’ve said, done, or felt something that you didn’t realize could be insensitive, avoid rationalizing your actions.
10. The solution is not to “stop making everything about race” and just all come together as one. We have to be anti-racism, not anti-talking-about-race.

How Can We Build Anti-Racist White Educators?
1.     White people have a responsibility to work with other white people to build anti-racist identities and practices. It is not the burden of people of color to do that work for us. We can (and should) talk critically about racism and white supremacy, even if there isn’t a person of color in the room.
2.     True anti-racism training must be ongoing, and it must involve networks to support us in this practice. If we are going to confront racism and white supremacy in our lives and work, we are going to have to get uncomfortable and deeply question long-held beliefs. We’ll need to build and maintain relationships with other folks in the work with us. While one-off implicit bias trainings are a useful step, they are not enough. The work of building identities and practices that push back against white supremacy in our society must be an ongoing process. 
3.     This work must be accountable to the people of color who find themselves targeted by racism on a daily basis. Though we as white people can challenge each other, this work should not and cannot be divorced from the experiences of people of color. We must be open and transparent about this work and these conversations with our colleagues of color. 
4.     Humility must be central to this work. We must learn from and listen to people of color, especially our colleagues and students. We should also approach our work with fellow white educators from the perspective of fellow learners, rather than as experts. 
5.     Talking about racism and white supremacy isn’t enough—conversation alone won’t change the oppressive conditions people of color face daily. However, discussion is an essential part of this work. Anti-blackness is something that we have learned over the course of our lives, and unlearning will take a lot of introspection and conversation.

How Well-Intentioned White Families Can Perpetuate Racism

Hagerman is a sociologist at Mississippi State University, and her new book, White Kids: Growing Up With Privilege in a Racially Divided America, summarizes the two years of research she did talking to and observing upper-middle-class white families in an unidentified midwestern city and its suburbs. To examine how white children learn about race, she followed 36 of them between the ages of 10 and 13, interviewing them as well as watching them do homework, play video games, and otherwise go about their days.

But the best answer I can really give is that the micro level potentially could shape what goes on at the institutional or structural level. I really think—and this might sound kind of crazy—that white parents, and parents in general, need to understand that all children are worthy of their consideration. This idea that your own child is the most important thing—that’s something we could try to rethink. When affluent white parents are making these decisions about parenting, they could consider in some way at least how their decisions will affect not only their kid, but other kids. This might mean a parent votes for policies that would lead to the best possible outcome for as many kids as possible, but might be less advantageous for their own child. My overall point is that in this moment when being a good citizen conflicts with being a good parent, I think that most white parents choose to be good parents, when, sometimes at the very least, they should choose to be good citizens.
Six irrefutable pieces of evidence that prove climate change is real

How our colonial past altered the ecobalance of an entire planet
Most scientists accept that humanity is now influencing our planet in ways that match geological forces such as tectonic plate movements. We are mining the planet’s surface, acidifying our oceans, creating new rock layers laced with plastic; and exterminating many species. The consequences of all these actions will be detectable in rocks for millions of years. This new epoch has been named the Anthropocene.  However, scientists disagree about the date on which the Anthropocene began. Some say it started with the explosion of the first atomic bombs, events that triggered a technological revolution while also leaving radioactive records in Earth’s rocks. Others say it is more recent in origin and point to plastics that now cover the planet and which, mixed with rocks, are forming their own distinct geological layers. Either way, the Anthropocene’s origins are viewed as being relatively recent.

This is the marker – in 1610 – that really defines the Anthropocene, argue Lewis and Maslin. And it was not just the movement of pathogens by colonialists that triggered the event. So did plants and animals.  Within decades of the discovery of America, Europeans were eating its potatoes and tomatoes, while China and India were consuming its peppers. These imports also had a profound impact. “In China, for example, the arrival of maize allowed drier lands to be farmed, driving new waves of deforestation and a large population increase,” say the authors.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Welcomes Home NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving
The family connection to Irving comes from the White Mountain family (also known as Mountain) of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The White Mountain family comes from the Bear Soldier District, on the South Dakota side of the reservation. His late mother, Elizabeth Ann Larson, was adopted out of the Tribe when she was a child. Irving’s grandmother is the late, Meredith Marie Mountain, who is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. His great-grandfather is Moses Mountain and great-grandmother is Edith Morisette-Mountain.  During the Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline, Irving gave his support to the Water Protectors.

Non-Native Albuquerque Man Given Six-month Sentence for Selling Fake American Indian Jewelry

343 years ago on Aug. 30, the Massachusetts Bay Colony issued an order that resulted in the incarceration of Native-Americans. Some want to make sure that blot on Massachusetts history is never forgotten.
Official recognition of Native-American internment is long overdue, McCann said, especially in light of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned a decision that upheld the constitutionality of Japanese-American internment.

How a new wave of Indigenous cinema is changing the narrative of Canada
Let's start with an old question, the "Dances with Wolves" question. Do films about Indigenous people need to be made by the community, or is it good enough to have content out there in theatres? Lisa Jackson: Indigenous films need to be made by Indigenous people, and I'll tell you why. When Dance With Wolves came out — even though it was a white man here to save the Indigenous community and there were problematic things about that movie — Indigenous people were so happy to see themselves portrayed for once as not murderous or oversimplified, that they flocked to that movie. Now, in 2018, we have many more Indigenous filmmakers and many more stories to tell. we're at a point now where so many films have been made about us, without us, that they're just telling the same stories over and over again.

Forgotten Women: The conversation of murdered and missing native women is not one North America wants to have - but it must

Massachusetts tribe dealt 'tremendous blow' by feds
The decision says the tribe doesn't qualify because it wasn't under federal jurisdiction when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed in 1934.  The Cape Cod tribe received federal recognition in 2007.  The department took about 300 acres into trust for the tribe in 2015, but a federal judge ordered the agency to reconsider the decision in 2016 after local residents sued.

Why I’m Not a Shaman, and Neither Are You
1. Are you indigenous, and/or are you in authentic relationship with indigenous people/s?
2. Are you part of an intact tribe?
3. Are you aware of cultural appropriation, and your privilege as a white person in benefiting from it?
4. Are you a shaman or medicine person?
5. How do you honor your responsibility to be in right relationship with all beings?
6. What medicines of the earth do you work with, and what shamanic techniques do you use?
7. How were you called to shamanic work?
I’ve heard many white new age folks try to say that the word ‘shaman’ is universal, but let’s face it: the term “shaman” comes with an implied sense that connects a person using it to the power and authenticity modern people attribute to their idea of indigenous cultures. In fact, that’s largely what draws modern people to wanting to use it. Tribal connotations are exotic for many white people, and carry a nostalgia for a simpler but purer time, much like ideas of Native American people as ‘noble savages.’ So when white people call themselves ‘shamans’, they are generally cashing in on the apparent authenticity other white people associate with Native cultures (and let’s remember, there are hundreds of distinct Native cultures out there, not a generic ‘Native American’ etc.), BUT generally without any real relationship to them, or respect for the current lives and struggles of the peoples within them. Ironically, usually white folks using this term are often not connected to the indigenous practices or ancestral ways of their own peoples, let alone the ones they’re appropriating from.

Podcast putting Native American musicians back into the story

Donald Trump Says ‘Our Ancestors Tamed a Continent' and ‘We Are Not Going to Apologize for America’

The Long History of Child-Snatching
African-Americans were not alone in suffering separations. Starting in 1879, tens of thousands of Native Americans were required to leave their families and attend boarding schools. Richard Pratt, an Army officer who founded the first one, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, in Pennsylvania, summarized his philosophy this way: “A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead.” He declared, “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

Honoring 33 Native Tribes who Served As Code Talkers to Save the U.S
In 2000, Navajo Code Talkers were honored with Congressional Gold Medals for their services in developing and implementing their traditional Dine’ language as a secretive code of communication on the battle fields in both WWI and WWII.  “However, many Americans do not know that members of nearly 32 other Indian tribes served as codetalkers in World War I and World War II and have never been formally recognized for their service to our country,” said Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado at the Senate Hearing on Code Talkers  During this hearing on the “Contributions of Native American Code Talkers in American Military History, Senator Campbell lists 32 other tribes to serve as code talkers during both the Pacific and European campaigns as; Comanche, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Osage, Lakota, Dakota, Chippewa, Oneida, Sac and Fox, Meskwaki, Hopi, Assiniboine, Kiowa, Pawnee, Akwesasne, Menominee, Creek, Cree Seminole Tribes and Other unlisted tribes...

White Ally Toolkit
If anti-racism allies are going to change any minds, empathetic listening will likely be important.But, the anti-racism movement should not expect POCs to empathetically listen to white racism skeptics.White people are in a much better position to execute listening-based strategy with people who are skeptical about whether racism is real.

Columbus Day is a celebration of the erasure of Indigenous peoples like me from the story of American colonisation
By the age of six, I came to realise that I was not welcome in my own country. Indigenous Peoples Day, the holiday that has replaced Columbus Day in dozens of American states and cities, is a first step in addressing this harm. The day offers Americans a chance to examine their history from a more truthful perspective, one not coated with the veneer of American exceptionalism. Read more: | Facebook:

Why don’t anti-Indian groups count as hate groups?
Anti-American Indian groups have received little-to-no public scrutiny, compared to their anti-black and anti-Latino counterparts. Yet the number of hate crimes against Native Americans in 2016 was 4 percent nationwide, even though Indigenous people represent around 2 percent of the population. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading civil rights organization that monitors hate groups, does not include anti-American Indian groups in its annual accounting of hate groups, currently at 954 nationwide. A Southern Poverty Law Center representative told High Country News that they will examine whether CERA “fall in line with our hate group criteria as we work on finalizing our 2018 count.”

This Essay Was Not Built On an Ancient Indian Burial Ground
Horror Aesthetics within Indigenous cinema as pushback against colonial violence
The Indian burial ground motif, heavily featured in horror film cycles of the 1970s and 1980s, is an example of how mainstream cinema renders Indigenous people both hyper visible and invisible. This contradiction is what Michelle H Raheja refers to in her book Reservation Reelism as “the violence of invisibility”.

THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE Native American Is Not My Race—It's Who I Am
Elizabeth Warren may feel vindicated about her ancestry, but defining Native American identity by race often results in dangerous challenges to Indigenous rights and sovereignty.
As a Cherokee citizen, a Blackfeet descendant, and a mixed-race woman, I’m tired of measuring my identity. Non-Native strangers demand my pedigree upon meeting me, asking “How much Native American are you?” Or, they say, “Hm, you don’t look Native American,” their eyes narrowing at my light skin. Their words give voice to a blood quantum system they couldn’t name themselves: Historically in the United States, blood quantum is the problematic legal metric that defines Native people based on the fraction of their “blood” that can be traced to Native ancestors. To much of the world, my worth as a Native woman only extends to the fraction of my ancestors that I can trace to government enrollment lists or through flawed genetic science.

This public debate about the validity of Indigenous relationships based on phenotype or genetics has created frustration among some Native people. Several Native writers have opined on how to more accurately label Warren’s Native identity, including some saying she is not, in fact, Native, which “is about belonging to a community,” as Julian NoiseCat writes in HuffPo. The Cherokee Nation has also issued a statement clarifying that “Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong.”

Identity, especially as it relates to communities of color, has long been regulated by the settler state. Colonial leaders of a young United States, dependent in many ways upon the labor of enslaved people, had an interest in recognizing as many people as Black as possible; the resulting policy was the one-drop rule, which meant any amount of African ancestry rendered someone Black by definition. Meanwhile, the US government used an alternative system, aimed at discounting Native American identity. Unsurprisingly, White Americans benefited from discrediting Native identity at the same time they did enforcing Blackness: When the developing US government expanded into Indigenous nations, it signed treaties that created lasting obligations between the American government and the descendants of those tribes. As a result, the US developed a vested interest in defining the smallest number of Native individuals as possible in order to reduce its legal burden. Native Americans were then subjected to the blood quantum policy. As Native identity became defined by fractions, it is unsurprising that mail-in DNA kits presented additional challenges for Native communities.

International Commission Investigates and Will Monitor Violence Against Indigenous Women in the U.S. – High Level of Violence Against Alaska Native Women Astonishing
“Many indigenous women in the United States disappear, are murdered, or experiencedomestic violence, sexual assault, and other forms of gender-based violence at alarmingly highrates,” said said Lucy R. Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’sResource Center. “The murder rate for indigenous women is ten times the national rate onsome reservations.” Federal officials have recognized that Native Americans are a vulnerablepopulation to human trafficking yet hard data is scant. “Oil and gas development on and neartribal lands also raises the already high risk that indigenous women will become victims ofviolence, murder, and sex trafficking,” added Simpson. “The U.S. must not ignore its humanrights obligations to respond to, investigate, and address these increasing cases of missing andmurdered and sex trafficked indigenous women with due diligence.”

I Refuse To Let My Kid Dress Like Black Panther For Halloween & Here's Why
A February 2018 article in The New York Times explores various sides of the issue, and it's clear that the debate about white kids dressing as Black Panther is far from black and white. For some, it's yet another example of cultural appropriation. White people have been borrowing (and outright stealing) the costumes, music, food, ideas, religious traditions, and innovations of other cultures since the beginning of recorded history. My white kids are over-represented in the media, have virtually endless options to choose from, and, honestly, can probably benefit from hearing the word, "no" once in a while.

In the end, I decided that I was not OK with my son choosing to be Black Panther for Halloween. You might disagree with me and that's OK. I mean, for the record, my husband does. But I think it's time to let kids in the Black community have something wonderful to themselves. My white kids are over-represented in the media, have virtually endless options to choose from, and, honestly, can probably benefit from hearing the word, "no" once in a while. Maybe, in a future where there are more black superheroes, I might feel differently, but for now my answer stands.