African-Native American Genealogy Forum
Re: United Cherokee Nation, The Answer!!
In Response To: Re: United Cherokee Nation, The Answer!! ()
In order to understand that statement you must first understand that the term Indian has, in a legal sense, mostly lost it racial connotation.
Indian, under the law, is a person who is an member of a federally recognized tribe. Anyone else is, like all other Americans, merely descendants of ethnic identities.
In a social sense, using the constructs of race, I can accept or reject as Indian anyone I choose. You can do the same thing. Your and my definition can be as strict or liberal as may serve our personal agenda. I'm sure you can see the potential for conflict in that because it is so subjective. Using my social constructs the only people I see racially as "Indian" are people who actually look like Indians. On the other hand, under the law, I accept as Cherokee ALL who are citizens of the Cherokee Nation.
And it is my duty as a loyal and patriotic citizen of my Nation that I protect it from intruders and those who would attack our institutions and inherent rights. That is why I am described by some as a "Cherokee Nationalist." I believe the rights of the tribe are paramount over the rights of the individual. Is that unAmerican? Perhaps, but what is American is not indigenous, its European. Individualism is a Euro-American concept foreign to the tribes. So which is really American?
It is hypocritical for someone to claim to be Indian and then reject the culture and institutions that come with that. There is nothing wrong with someone saying they have Indian ancestry. There are lots of people out there who do. But under the law, unless they are members/citizens of one of the Indigenous governments, they aren't Indian themselves; merely descendants.
I have Italian ancestry, am fascinated by it and talk about it often. But I'm not an Italian because I am not a citizen of Italy. I joined an Italian-American Society here in Tulsa, ate some really good Italian food and met some really cool people. But I never, NOT ONCE, attempted to impact the policies and laws affecting the nation of Italy.
On the other hand, people who are descendants of Indians but not eligible for citizenship constantly try to impact our tribal governments, change the laws that affect us, pretend to be us to promote their view of our culture, heritage and art and otherwise make a nuisance of themselves.
I have said it before and I will say it again. The problem here is the difference in thinking between tribal people who defer to the group and Euro-American individualists who care nothing about that and only want what they can get or take for themselves.
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