When is it okay for me to write about Native issues and when isn't it okay? Apparently it's okay only as long as I don't offend, upset, or annoy a single Native. If I disagree with a Native, it's more important for me to keep quiet and respect his or her experiences than to speak.
Suppose a Native writes a movie or comic book, tells us about Robinson Crusoe or Star Trek, or theorizes about the origins of Indians. Suppose he couches these in terms of his experiences. According to you, I can't criticize anything he says. His "Indian-ness" means whatever he says is "right" by definition.
The problem with this is that Natives will never agree 100% with my position. There will always be a Native who thinks Quileute werewolves are cool, "redskin" isn't a slur, and Johnny Depp is as authentic as Sitting Bull. Therefore, you're basically telling me to stop writing about Natives.
That isn't going to happen. So I suggest you make your peace with my choice of topics and styles. It's a waste of time to tell me I have no right to criticize any Native. If you don't like it, you're free to leave.
Rob doesn't know Natives?
In fact, the vast majority of Natives have always supported what I do. I haven't seen any change in that percentage since I began in the early 1990s.
So who are these Natives whom I've allegedly offended? Cite and quote their claims of being offended.
No surprise if you can't or won't do it. As far as I can tell, you're just making up these charges.
Moreover, who says your experiences are the same as those of other Natives across the land? If my employer and friend is a Pechanga Indian and you've never talked to him or his people, it's ridiculous for you to claim you know his experiences better than I do. That's your arrogance speaking: that your mystical Native intuition means you know best.
In general, I've erred on the side of inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness. About the only individuals I've dismissed are (alleged) frauds like Ward Churchill and David Yeagley, New Age wannabes, and hobbyists in Germany and elsewhere. Virtually the only "tribes" I've dismissed are a few unrecognized Cherokee splinter groups around the country. Like most people, I accept the 560-plus federally recognized tribes and their members as Natives.
Again, these positions are the same as the positions held by most Natives. My position reflects theirs. Repeat: I'm not making the policy, I'm repeating the policy I've read and absorbed from thousands of Native sources. Only once in a great while do I take a position that differs from the standard Native position.
So again, where's the evidence that I've dismissed "numerous" individuals and tribes? What do you call "numerous"--two or three? I'd say numerous means a number in the dozens, at least. If that's what you mean, you're wrong.
Rob dismisses the Pequots?!
As for Johnny Depp, you're right. I've dismissed him because most Indians dismiss him as an Indian. Deal with it.
I spelled out my criteria for who's an Indian in "Actual Indian" Defined, and one criterion is acceptance by one's Native peers. If you think you can show that most Indians accept Depp as something other than a white man with a little Cherokee blood, go ahead and do it. If you succeed, I'll revise my opinion accordingly.
But don't tell us you know all about Depp's Indian-ness unless you actually do. Again, facts and evidence are the only things that matter here, not unsubstantiated opinions. Your opinion that your opinion is better than mine is worthless unless you prove it.
Now you've learned the identity that I've never hidden. Suddenly I no longer have the right to express the opinions I expressed before. They're exactly the same opinions, but they've magically changed from acceptable to unacceptable.
Sorry, but I don't buy it. I support all my positions with as much knowledge and expertise of Natives as possible. If these positions were valid before, they're still valid. Nothing has changed except your perception of my "right" to take them.
Rob decides who's Native?
If you want to embrace every huckster, fraud, and plastic shaman, every wannabe who has a drop of Indian blood, be my guest. Start your own blog and welcome the all the phonies and pretenders you want.
I'm not going to do that here. I'll continue to operate based on the standard I've articulated--the one used by most Indians. If you don't like it, tough.
For more on the subject of including people who are part Indian, see Rob Doesn't Understand "Mutts"?
Again, I'm reflecting what most Indians say and think. I'm not doing anything they don't do. My opinions can't be more destructive than theirs because they're the same opinions.
I think you've made your position clear. For about the fifth time, you've attacked me by saying I've made up positions that aren't held by most Indians. For about the fifth time, I've corrected you. I've told you that in most cases my positions are the positions held by most Indians. Example: Most Indians oppose "redskins."
Would you like to make it an even half dozen? Why don't you tell me again that I shouldn't express an opinion about Native issues? Because that's what your position amounts to. If a single Native on the planet disagrees with something I've written, I should "respect" her feelings and stop. Even if the rest of the Native universe agrees with me.
A few = "numerous"?
Given that I try to reflect Native positions as often as possible, what exactly do I need to rethink? The offensiveness of the word "redskins" to Native people? No. When I've accurately restated a Native position, I don't need to rethink anything.
If you want to rethink anything, rethink why you're defending an ethnic slur against your own people. Tell us why it's okay for Sheena Wassegijig to call Indians "redskins" even if many consider it akin to "nigger." Good luck with your answer...you'll need it.
For more on the subject, see Rob the Presumptuous White Man? and Wrong to Point Out Stereotypes?
Below: If some actual Indians are Cleveland baseball fans, I can't tell them Chief Wahoo is racist and stereotypical? Because their "experiences" trump my opinions? Stupid, illogical, and wrong.