There's a huge difference between being an Indian, or being a person who has Indian blood. No man can serve two masters.
You cannot be a little bit today, more tomorrow, and none this weekend. Or vice versa.
It has nothing to do with your facial features, cheek bones, what you wear, your fancy beaded stuff or the plates/Bradford Exchange items you have all over your house walls.
Nor does attending powwows, doing "sweats," giving yourself an "Indian name" count, no matter how much you talk about your "spirituality," do "elder speak"--you get the picture.
It has everything to do with how you live, what you live for, with whom you are close and family, friends, with how you react, to what is taught, said, to your children, Elders, in the news, reply to a racist remark, an historical untruth in what may appear to others as an innocent program, statement.
It's your mind set, the very programming that refuses to allow you to be anything else. It's in your heart, mind, very bones--and no government, country, church, family or school can erase it.
Ideally, I'd say being an Indian should require a genealogical component--i.e., ancestry. But as most of us know, tribes occasionally adopted non-Indian captives or runaways and made them full-fledged members. If that's possible--and the historical record shows it is--being Indian is not a genetic condition. Having the genes may give you a huge head start, but it's not an absolute requirement.
For more on the subject, see Indians of Many Shades and Educating Russ About Who's an Indian.
Writerfella here --
The thesis is that, if you choose to be American, you are American. While that may assuage the Americans, it is not so and never was during the 250,000 years preceding the arrival of Cristobal Colon. Blood is blood and flesh is flesh, and claiming either when none is present is somewhat like this blogmaster claiming he invented blogs...
The thesis of today's tribes is: If a tribe recognizes you as an Indian, you're an Indian, regardless of your blood quantum. Tribal membership is a political decision, not a biological one.
Writerfella here --
Aha, so that is why YOU joined the Sycamores! It was political rather than biological...
This is your idea of a joke, obviously. I haven't joined any tribe of Indians or trees.
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