October 16, 2006

Indians = Palestinians?

Give Virginia Indians a fair dealI am so tired of hearing that all we want is a casino and the "evils" that are associated with it. How two-faced the forked-tongued white man is!

We have legal gambling in this state, with the state-owned lottery and horse racing. No tribe has plans for a casino. What we want is the legal recognition that we have been denied and the respect associated with being recognized.

My tribe--the Chickahominy (I am an enrolled member)--had a reservation, but that, too, was taken from us in the 1700s.

We are the Palestinians of Virginia, a people in their homeland without legal recognition.

29 comments:

Not a Sioux said...

"We are the Palestinians of Virginia, a people in their homeland without legal recognition."

With some important very important differences, including that the Virginia Indians don't (unlike the Palestinians) have an elected government that has a stated goal of conquering all of Virginia and exterminating the non-Indian Virginians. (Never mind that the white government in the past wanted to do this to the Indians!...that only adds to the irony and points out that the letter writer used a rather poor analogy).

However, opening casinos might be a good idea for Palestinians to do in Gaza and the other occupied Palestinian territories. It would provide jobs and a lot of needed income. Opportunities for gaming-type entertainment are rare in that area of the world; it would surely be quite popular.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is a "real" Indian tribe or if this is a case of white people with minuscule Indian descent forming their own tribe and asking for recognition. These types of so called "tribes" seem to be springing up all over the East and South.
I tried to look them up on the Internet and found a web site for the Chickahominy which was asking for donations. I could be wrong but after re-reading the statement from Ms.Canaday it sure sounds like they are a wannabe tribe to me.

Not a Sioux said...

from "http://indians.vipnet.org/tribes/chickahominy.cfm":

"The Chickahominy Indian Tribe was among those which witnessed the coming of the colonists in 1607. At that time the Chickahominy lived in villages along the Chickahominy River from the James River to the middle of the current county of New Kent. The tribe, governed by a council of elders, was considered an ally of Powhatan and his paramount chiefdom..."

Rob said...

There are six tribes seeking federal recognition in Virginia. All have been around since the beginning. Here's a little history on them:

http://virginiaindians.pwnet.org/history/1700s.php

In the early 1700s, relations between the Indians and the English were tense. Cultural differences were a major cause of the tension between the two groups of people. The Indians felt the English and their alien culture had been forced against them for almost 100 years. The once mighty Powhatan chiefdom was reduced to a tributary status, being required to make yearly payments to the colonial government as a sign of dependence. They also lost all lands between the York and Blackwater Rivers. In 1677, another treaty was made with the colonists. The Indians along the coast lost their remaining land and were confined to small reservations. Many of the tribes were extinct by 1722. The Rappahannock tribe lost its reservation shortly after 1700; the Chickahominy lost theirs in 1718. These groups and the Nansemond, who sold their reservation in 1792, faded from public view. Only the Pamunkeys, Mattaponis, and an Eastern Shore group kept reservations, although their land constantly shrank in size.

Not a Sioux said...

part 2) I don't know what Chickahominy blood quantum requirements are, but I did want to check out the assertion that this tribe was basically "white". One way to check this might be to look at some members.

Some Chickahominy are seen in this photo:

http://spec.lib.vt.edu/archives/diversity/amindian/popup/ai_02.html

They don't look that "lilly white"/Anglo to me.

Rob said...

Along with the differences, there's one huge point in common: having an oppressive foreign power occupying their homeland.

See Why Don't "They" Like Us?: Israel for more on the Indian-Palestinian connection.

Not a Sioux said...

Sorry the above link got busted. The picture is supposed to show a row of people, 2 or 3 are Chickahominy. They have more of a Russell Means look than a Dick Cheney look.

Rob said...

Your links are intact, "not a sioux," even if you can't see the entire link. You just have to be sure to highlight the whole link before copying it to your browser. (Hint: Don't try to move your cursor to the end of a long link. Move it to the next line instead.)

This may be the Chickahominy's official website:

http://www.chickahominytribe.org

Even if tribal members have intermarried with whites (or blacks), it doesn't mean they're not directly descended from the tribe's original Indians.

Carole said...

How tedious and unoriginal to ONE MORE TIME have one group with legitimate grievances be compared to another group in a sorry effort to bolster their argument.

The tribes in Virginia may very well have a legitimate argument (I'm deferring since I don't have enough familiarity with all the particulars of the debate)but comparing it to what is going on between the Palestinians and Israelis? Uh uh. Not only is it not apples and apples it's not even apples and oranges. More like apples and footballs.

A poor debating point used by a writer with little ability. And come on, already. The minute you succumb to using "we" and "they" and resort to blanket racial stereotypes, you lose whatever validity your argument might have had.

Rob said...

I'd say the letter writer made his comment more for the shock value than as a serious argument. And it seems to have served its purpose. It got our attention, right? We're already up to 10 comments on the subject on the first day.

Rob said...

Nevertheless...you don't see any similarities between the two cases? Let's see: One is an oppressed group of indigenous people unable to rule their own land because of an occupying power controlling their destiny. The other is an oppressed group of indigenous people unable to rule their own land because of an occupying power controlling their destiny.

Hmm. That doesn't sound like apples and footballs to me. At worst, it sounds like apples and some kind of fruit. (I leave it to you to determine which one.)

Incidentally, when the Ghost Dance religion swept the West around 1890, some Indians claimed it would end with the removal of Euro-Americans from the land. If you were an insecure white man, you easily could've interpreted this as the equivalent of today's "terrorist talk." So did the government's genuine concerns justify the violations and crimes that followed (including Wounded Knee)? Why not, if the Ghost Dancers intended to wipe America off the map?

Carole said...

Okay. One difference. One BIG HUGE difference. Jews are also indigenous to the land under dispute.(A point that seems to get lost in the argument among certain factions, probably because it's an inconvenient truth.) The Palestinian conflict is more like the struggles in Nations where you have ethnic strife of peoples of the same region--like the Kurds and Turks, for example.

Palestinians and Indians?
Apples and Footballs.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The Ghost Dance was a 'messianic' religion that sprang up in the far west after almost all Native tribes either had been destroyed or devastated and captured. Its basic tenets came from Wovoka, a medicine man among the Paiute people. He claimed direct contact with 'the Grandfather', a superior spirit who told him of a vast calamity that was to strike both New World continents. The white man and his civilization would be swept away in a whirlwind, all the dead Natives and animals would be brought back to life and all of those sick would be cured. The ground itself would be covered by new land six times the height of a man, and thick sweet grasses would grow on this land, which would be the new home for Native people and the animals. Horses and bison in great herds would run over the new land and all would live in peace and harmony.
The so-called 'Ghost Dance' then swept through the west and into the north and the east. Its main tenant was to 'cause no trouble with the white man', but merely to wait until all of the predicted matters had come to pass. And then the fifth generation would be there to hold the white man's head when he breathed his last.
At first, the Europeans mostly laughed at such outlandish ideas. Somewhere in all of this, the Mormons went to Wovoka and began to try to convince him that they believed the same things, only that it was the white man's god who was the grandfather and Jesus Christ who was going to be the whirlwind. Wovoka resisted such ideas for a long while, but then even he began to listen to what the Mormons had to say. After that, new successive waves of Ghost Dance knowledge went out, and the words and names had bcome changed. It was 'God' who was going to sweep away the white man and it was Jesus who was going to renew the land and bring back all of the dead people and animals. Whereas the Ghost Dance had been seen as tribal foolishness, then it became something else again: blasphemy! And the whites attacked, despite the Ghost Dance being taught as a peaceful philosophy, over and again until at last, the Hunkpapa Sioux were attacked at Wounded Knee. The Ghost Dance finally died after that, as broken and bleak as the people themselves.
The basis of "Fifth And Last Horseman" is that the Ghost Dance still is true in our modern times, only there was a single, central misinterpretation: the people were not supposed to 'wait for the animals to be returned' so much as to cause the return of the animals themselves, and so they do. A vast catastrophe is coming to strike man's overpopulated numbers, a worldwide pandemic of virulent influenza. Thus, what the Ghost Dance was teaching was the means by which the Native peoples would escape the extinction of all other races of humankind. When writerfella wrote that story in 1973, it was science fiction; today, the tribes are doing the things the story said must be done, and now even writerfella is not so sure that it was fiction after all...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
POSTSCRIPTUM: when writerfella attended Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, in the early 1960s, there were several Chickahominy young people from Virginia and North Carolina enrolled there as well. Their principal racial stock and appearance was Black, as are the Lumbee and Pequots.
Even after all these years, that one apparent factor likely has not changed all that much.
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

The Local Crank said...

"part 2) I don't know what Chickahominy blood quantum requirements are, but I did want to check out the assertion that this tribe was basically "white". One way to check this might be to look at some members."

Hmmm, well being Cherokee I should probably refrain from comment here, huh?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Um, er, uh, what is that old phrase, "It is the wise child that knows its own father?"
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Not a Sioux said...

to local crank, if you don't mind me asking, what % Cherokee "blood" are you?

Not a Sioux said...

Carole: Excellent point.

Consider these situations:

You have an indiginous people living there for millenia, with its own traditions and faith. Suddenly, hundreds of years ago, a rapacious military empire invades, killing large numbers of the natives and forcing many to convert to the invaders' faith under penalty of death for refusing. As part of the justification, the invaders have writings about how evil and inferior these natives are. (This vast empire is flush with power and arrogance, and subjugates much of the world in a relatively quick time).

A very long term occupation ensues. The invaders/occupiers work under the idea that the natives will inevitably "vanish" eventually. The occupying empire desecrates or destroys most of the places sacred to the natives. Even the most sacred native places are appropriated by the invaders, who convert them to serve the invader religion. The invading empire enforces laws that discourage/criminalize the expression of the natives' own spirituality at the expense of the invaders "dominant culture". The remaining natives (those who dared to live and/or refuse to submit to the "dominant culture") are treated as second-class citizens, or worse, and are expressly denied participation in the top levels of government.

In more recent times, those who hold to the old dream of the empire and its assumptions of superiority and "manifest destiny" object strongly when the native culture (what is left of it, changed as the result of persecution) re-asserts itself in the invaded land.


-----------
This is true of both Native Americans, and of the Jews who have tried to maintain a persistent presense in a small area near the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Interesting! And from the Kiowa point of view, there is more truth to all of that than mere discussion could reveal. On their ways north in spring or south in fall, the Kiowas made temporary camp in what is now southwest Oklahoma, while still trailing the migrating bison. And the place where they stopped was what is known as the Medicine Bluffs, where the medicine men greeted the dawn at the vernal or autumnal equinoctes and opened the Ten Grandmother medicine bundles to gather power from exposure to the sun and the spirits. In 1869, during the Plains Indian Wars, Gen. Philip Sheridan staked out a location nearby the Medicine Bluffs that became Ft. Sill, from which cavalry patrols and raiding parties went out to battle the Kiowas and the Comanches. When the Kiowa were subdued and captured for a last time, they partly welcomed being incarcerated at Ft. Sill because of the proximity to Medicine Bluffs. Slowly, the military installation grew and absorbed more land, until the Medicine Bluffs were assimilated and the Kiowa no longer could go there without permission. When the Kiowa, Comanche, Wichita, and Kiowa-Apache reservation was broken up around 1901, the Medicine Bluffs remained within the installation and Kiowa visits there became extremely limited in frequency and duration. At last, nine of the Ten Grandmother medicine bundles were returned to the earth itself, as the twice-yearly ceremonials no longer could be performed. One such bundle remains in Kiowa hands and it is, um, er, uh, -rumored- that it alone has its equinoctial renewal performed regularly and on time. Past the time of 9/11, this likely has become problematical indeed but it still goes on.
However, except for vestigial knowledge still being passed through the generations, most of the original Kiowa medicine practices have ceased, which may have been the original intent of seizing the Medicine Bluffs in the first place...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Not a Sioux said...

very interesting. Now I know 10 times as much about the Kiowa than I did before.

Anonymous said...

Well, everyone it's been fun and thank you for the history lessons. But I still stand by my original statement about the Chickahominy. Please go back and re-read the statement by Ms. Canaday, especially the part where she writes "How two-faced the forked-tongued white man is!" Give me a break, no self respecting Indian would make such an inane statement.

Not a Sioux said...

Now they are a fake tribe of whites because Ms. Canaday said this sentence?

Anonymous said...

Let me make this a little clearer for you. I think they are people with "minuscule" Indian descent forming their own tribe and asking for recognition. I believe they are marginally descended from the Chickahominy and this may be why they have been denied federal recognition. I could be wrong,(correct me if I'am) but this is the second time they have been turned down for federal recognition.
And I will stand by my second statement "Give me a break, no self respecting Indian would make such an inane statement."

Not a Sioux said...

Perhaps this person is not a self-respecting Indian. Or perhaps real Indians say a wide variety of things, including inane statements, deying someone's stereotypical perceptions about what is real Indian speech and what is not.

Anonymous said...

To not a sioux, I don't think I understand your last statement. Maybe you can clarify it for me. Also, why does my opinion anger you so? I have a sneaking suspicion with all the talk of minuscule Indian descent, marginally descended from and wannabe has hit a nerve with you.
This will be my last post on this subject, not a sioux you may have the last word. And, oh yes I stand by all my statements.

Not a Sioux said...

Sorry if that looked like an angry tone. I didn't feel angry, and didn't mean to express any.

(I might have a nerve to be hit if I claimed tribal status or even wannabe status, but I don't)

Rob said...

Jews were indigenous to Palestine once. But the millions who arrived because of the 1948 UN mandate were immigrants, not natives to the land.

Because of the Jews' historic roots in the region, the decision to let them return was arguably just. What wasn't just was their subsequent invasion and occupation of Palestinian territory during the Six-Day War. It's this that makes the comparison between Indians and Palestinians apt.

Rob said...

I don't know that the Chickahominy have been denied recognition once, much less twice. I'd have to see the documentation on that one.

The criteria for recognition is tough. The feds can deny it for several reasons, but racial purity isn't one of them. More likely, the tribe lost its continuity during the middle of the 20th century when the government was trying to terminate tribes (often successfully).

If the Chickahominies were dispersed like other tribes were, it doesn't mean they became less Indian and more white (or black). It means they didn't have an effective government for a spell. In other words, the racial group continued to exist but the political entity didn't.

Rob said...

To reiterate, the Indian/Palestinian comparison isn't because the Israelis and Palestinians are contending for the same land like non-Indians and Indians are in the US. It's because the Israelis invaded Palestinian territory during the Six-Day War and continue to occupy it despite international opprobrium. End the illegal occupation and the comparison ends also.