African-Native American Research Forum Archive
Re: Fake Indian Tribes
In Response To: Fake Indian Tribes ()
This message comes at a very appropriate time. There are many efforts currently underway by many persons to lure individuals into various organizations under the guise of being "Indian" or "Native inspired".
There is an abundance of "plastic" Indian groups that are emerging among people from both the Caucasian as well as African American populations.
Persons seeking to "bond" with their native pasts forming tribal circles clans rings etc imitating the structure of many of the Plains Nations are growing by the day. The plethora of persons claiming ancestry from Indian people east of the Mississippi yet draping themselves in the clothing of the Plains Nations with full headdress and war paint continue to abound. All persons are encouraged to read very closely the fine print when joining such organizations especially when money is asked for to join.
It is wise to find out what kind of solid historical references texts documents and primary sources the "history" being alluded to
However when membership is being solicited at these events with no history of the organization having been demonstrated one should be very careful. Often persons are dependent on those who do not read the history of the people with whom they are "bonding". By doing so one may find that they are embracing clothing worn by nations 2000 miles from the nation they are claiming ancestry to. How many persons claming Cherokee ancestry will quickly adorn themselves in chokers from the Cheyenne Nation and feathers of the Apache nation with jewelry from the Hopi nation? An ecclectic combination is a kind description.
In addition many of the current members of the nations that "platics" imitate find those imitators to be merely comical imitators at best and opportunistic exploiters of their culture at its worst.
Sadly with many persons having a strong emotional need to find acceptance through membership in a group many are coming into harm's way physically and psychologically. There are many groups that are preying upon many persons taking money promising "recognition" and selling anything from headbands to pencils and pens and buttons. Until recent years this affected mostly white Americans seeking some spiritual link. In the last 2 years I have met African Americans who have attended sweat lodges been "adopted" by various groups and who have begun to put time energy and money into some of these organizations. There is nothing wrong with some aspects as it is a good thing to learn about the culture of others. However some are beginning to cross the line and could wander into another arena financially.
The word to the wise is to be cautious before opening your wallet.
[9 Aug 1999]