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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Excerpts from "On Card Carrying Indians and Those Indians Who Don't" by Warren Petoskey

On Card Carrying Indians and Those Indians Who Don't

I am a card carrying member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, but the truth is that I was Indian before I was ever issued a card. There was a racist gang of boys in the little town I grew up in who made sure that I was aware of my ethnic Indian origins.

My wife is Choctaw and Cherokee. Her tribal affiliation cannot be proven because the archival records list her ancestors as white, I was going to say that is a questionable coincidence, but it isn't if one is somewhat aware of the diabolical, inhumane plan to exterminate us, if by no other way than to render us racially unidentifiable. Because we cannot provide documentation as to how much Native blood our children have, they are not eligible to be members of my tribe. I can tell you from firsthand accounts it hurts them to think their own tribe will not recognize them.

My tribe has refused to identify or recognize the conditions which have been intentionally developed to ensure our "eligibility" as tribal people to our treaty rights are denied. My tribe refuses to recognize my children and grandchildren even as citizens of the Waganakising Odawa Nation. This is how legal prejudicial conditions are advanced and how our tribes ingrain these practices into their daily operations as a tribe.

The tribe who so generously allows me to have one of their cards does little to address the conditions that have developed that are intended to end our legal existence and the federal government's obligations by treaty to us. If they are allowed to determine when we will suddenly disappear because of the lack of their standards for blood quantum than we, as tribal members, have done little to establish and protect our origin of sovereignty. Sovereignty was and is not the gift of men, but the gift of the Creator. Somehow we have allowed me to dictate who we are or who we aren't. This is prejudice at its highest effort.

In closing, I hope I have given the reader of this an idea of how historical trauma has advanced itself in our midst and how our own people promote the assimilation efforts by a non-native, prejudiced, power.

A card issued by some tribal government under the authorization and approval of the BIA does not quantify or validate who you are. 

Indian status and bloodlines;postID=4494367943529970529

An interesting read - excerpt below:
I was born to a First Nations (Tsilhqot’in) man and to a non-First Nations woman. At the time of their marriage, the Canadian government was issuing Indian status to women who married native men, so my mother became "Indian" with all of the rights and benefits when she married my father.
'This blood quantum stuff is complex, and leaves me vulnerable as it’s difficult to discuss, especially in polite conversation.'- Lisa Charleyboy
I am thus considered to be a “full blood” Indian, also known as R(1) status. This means that even if I married a white guy, my children will have Indian status and be considered “50% First Nations,” also known as R(2) despite that fact that their actual blood quantum will be 25%.

Who is an Indian and Who Decides?
THE Simonds family can document their roots going back to White-Eye Simon, an Indian listed on a Mashantucket Pequot land-claim petition in 1725, and Simeon Simons, a Mashantucket Pequot who served as George Washington's bodyguard and servant through the Revolutionary War.  Yet today, none of the 300 or so Simonds clan members may live on Mashantucket Pequot land or share in the tribe's enormous wealth.  The Simonds are no longer even recognized as Mashantucket Pequots, although their known and documented ancestors (whose names have various spellings) are frequently mentioned in the tribe's official history.  Although nobody disputes the pedigree, the extended family does not qualify for tribal membership because the last Simonds stopped living on the reservation sometime in the 1860's. Most of them now live in southeastern Connecticut or in the three southern counties of Rhode Island.