Here's another good article on who's an Indian and who isn't.
I went back to my friend, the editor, and said, "Hey, this story looks OK, except for this part about Sequoyah being 'part-Cherokee'." "Well, he was, wasn't he?" my friend responded. "No", I said.
"His father was a white man, right? That means he had some white blood in him," she added. "That's not the point," I said. "He was Cherokee in every sense of the term. Whether he had a white parent or relative is immaterial...and besides, he didn't even know his father!"
She stared at me blankly and I threw up my hands. Try as I might, I just couldn't make her understand that the term 'part-Cherokee' doesn't mean anything. I even told her that if she used that word back home, the elders would laugh and ask, "So, what part of you is Cherokee? Your nose?"
But, hey, what did I expect. How do you explain to someone that there's no half-way point being Cherokee? You either are or you aren't. It's not a question of how many Europeans vs. how many Cherokees one has in the ole' family tree. Most all of us can play that game.
It's not even a question of where you live. It IS a question of loyalty. You either have a loyalty to our people, or you don't. It IS a question of commitment. That means getting involved and not letting self-interested individuals take the people for a ride while you sit by. It means that no matter where you go, you come home to family and friends and you want to make a difference. Its the way you live and the way your family has lived. It's knowing who your relations are and where you fit into our society.