April 07, 2008

Sequoyah not a real Cherokee?

I don't think anyone has called Tiger Woods or Barack Obama "part-black"--at least not recently. Yet people are willing to say something similar about Indians.

Here's another good article on who's an Indian and who isn't.

PART Cherokee?I couldn't believe my eyes. The line on the screen said "Sequoyah, the part-Cherokee silversmith..."

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.


The Local Crank said...

And John Ross, the longest serving chief in Cherokee history, was "only" 1/8th. As the saying goes, Cherokee blood is like gold; precious no matter how thin it's stretched. Since I'm a thin blood, I frequently get variations on the "what part of you is Indian?" question, to which I usually respond, "Two fingers on right hand, left ear, left kidney, right and left knees, three toes on right foot, two on left foot."

what said...

if sequoyah was so red whats up with the threds