This blog was added to the Top 50 Native American Literature Blogs. Scroll down to the "Rest of the Best" after the Top 5

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Great-great-great-great Grandmother was a real European Princess!

My friend, Don, made a joke about this real issue when he posted it as his status on FaceBook. It's funny to Native People. We live it. Here is the serious side (in no particular order, and just what I can think of on the top of my head):

1. People are proud of one drop of NA blood, but not typically one drop of African blood. This is a cultural issue because NA's are often "idealized," while AA's are "demonized."

2. It *IS* sad when NA's can't document their heritage, but it is more important that we focus on being a "practicing" NA because we want/need our culture to survive for the next 7 generations. So when we hear that phrase, the questions to ask are, "Is that person "practicing"? Are they also experiencing the attached prejudice and racism? Are we in solidarity together?

3. It's a HUGE problem that we need to prove who we are in the first place. People have had to prove who they aren't (ie: Jews in Nazi Germany) and people have to prove their nationality (country connection through passport, etc.), but proving one's ethnicity (especially in the United States) is reserved for the reservation people!

4. Unfortunately, the way racism works in this country (and other places in the world at this point), is that lighter skinned folks have more privileges/advantages than darker-skinned folks (see Peggy McIntosh). So that means the person with the NA GGGGrand mother probably isn't experiencing the same oppression (racism, prejudice, discrimination, assumptions, etc.) that the person with the NA parent is!

5. Why is it always a GGGGrand mother? What about those GGGGrant fathers? Well, sometimes we hear, "…was an Indian chief." Same issues apply.

6. And, finally, there weren't enough princesses to go around and there wasn't "one" havin' all those dang babies!

Note: If you got down to this part and still don't know what I'm talking about… This is a response to the comment that we, Native Americans, get from folks who look like they are white, European Americans. The comment is, "Oh! I have a great, great, great, great grandmother who was a Native American princess."