"Indian is as Indian Does"
These are questions that have echoed through my own lifetime and thus are likely questions that have been asked within and outside of Indian Country at least since the first shipment of commodities reached the remotest regions of Indian Country.
Does "Being Indian" mean a state of mind? Does it mean a cultural/historic tribal awareness? An ability to speak one's tribal language? Or does "Being Indian" mean possessing the requisite amount of blood quantum so as to qualify for a tribal pedigree? Does it have to do with appearance? With conforming to a Hollywood depiction of an Indian? Does it mean qualifying for tribal social services, a per cap, driving an Indian car or powwow van and never having a fixed address but migrating from Rez house to Rez house among friends and family? Perhaps it may also mean being recognized as a member of a community or nation of Indians?
While no historic documents exist (at least as defined by the White Man), I rather think that events in the natural world across the millennia of time has forced significant changes for Native peoples. All of our Native forebears necessarily had to adapt and change their ways and culture even some 600 years ago. What we know of our traditions, customs and even language had to continually evolve in response to changes in the natural world. I thus think that our Native visitor would recognize if not appreciate that contemporary native peoples were forced to adapt and change largely as result of the coming of the White Man.
I think then, that our Native visitor might deduce from all of this that, "Indian is as Indian does". Native peoples will always change and adapt to fit and survive natural and human changes and conditions. Blood lines, ceremonies and language will continue to be important but traditions and ways change and adapt. Who we are as Native people is a continually evolving thing.
Writerfella here --
"Indian" means that living NovaMu8ndian Natives today HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH 'India.' That glaring misnomer comes from Cristobal Colon. Whether such a misnomer is written in the US Constitution or not is indefensible before The World Court. You yourself have represented here on this blogsite that the term has legal standing, if only because it is written within national law. You profess that 'stereotypes' deny that Natives either still exist or only find existence in 'stereotypes.' Sorry, but that means that you wish to embrace BOTH sides of the question, that Natives still exist as physical entities, or whether they exist because EuroMan says that they do. Oh, look! YOU are a EuroMan! Who could have guessed? Liar, liar, pants on fire, that is, if you wear pants...
Writerfella, is it news to you that when Rob refers to "Indians" here, he almost always is referring to Native Americans?
Or are you one who might go to one of the numerous Native tribes with "Indian" in their official name and get all mad if they can't read Sanskrit?
Writerfella here --
writerfella does not read Sanskrit, either, so dMarks' observation merely is fodder for the squirrels.
That article by J. D. Colbert likely is the best written and thoughtful essay that writerfella ever recalls encountering. That Natives adapt and thus continue simply explains why we still are here. A singular biological characteristic becomes a main determinant as to who is Native and who is not. And that would be a much demonstrable lack of genetic diversity. All Natives alive today arose from survivor groups, at times of only 50 at worst. Their DNA, therefore, almost is cookie-cutter identical within a tribe. As aboriginal (pre-Columbian) Natives had zero percentile presence of blood type B, now Natives lack genetic markers differentiating them from their other living tribesmen. writerfella employed that genetic characteristic as a part of the testimony given by a DNA defense expert he hired for his adopted brother's 1993 trial for murder. The prosecution had no counterargument as their own FBI expert during questioning agreed with the defense witness about the singular lack of genetic diversity among Natives. That had the effect of discounting the DNA evidence being used by the prosecution, among other factors. writerfella's adopted brother was acquitted...
I have no idea what the first three sentences of your first comment refer to, Russ. They sound like the ravings of a drunk or a madman.
You're the first person to mention India in this thread. Unless you explain the relevance of your apparently irrelevant remark, there's no point in responding.
Re "You yourself have represented here on this blogsite that the term has legal standing, if only because it is written within national law": This sentence doesn't make much sense either. I guess it refers to our debates about who's an Indian. Readers can follow the link to follow the issue.
If you're saying that I've said "Indian" is the constitutionally or legally correct term for the continent's first inhabitants, you're flatly wrong. I've never made such a claim. The only thing I've said along those lines is that "Indian" is the term Natives prefer.
DMarks is correct that many tribes use the word "Indian" in their official names. But that doesn't make the term constitutionally or legally correct for every Native. Proving the point, the US government uses the terms "American Indian" and "Native American" interchangeably, as do I.
Re "You profess that 'stereotypes' deny that Natives either still exist or only find existence in 'stereotypes'" and the rest: Again, this is so poorly written that it's a waste of time trying to decipher it. I suggest you learn how to write plain English, and soon.
As for what I imagine your point is: Clearly Natives continue to exist despite the stereotyping that tries to deny their existence. Nor have I ever said otherwise. Your stupid mistake if you misunderstood my position.
Writerfella here --
You have no idea simply becuase you have no understanding of anyone else's ideas but your own. The word 'Indian' cannot occur without the word 'India,' given Cristobal Colon. Unless of course it was an accidental misnomer but that exactly is what writerfella said that it was. Yes, writerfella has said that 'Indian' has legal standing BUT only after YOU, Rob, pointed it out.
dMarks is wrong, in that most tribes either say, Indian' or 'Nation." Now, guess which term has the most legal standing, as far as tribes are concerned?
No, I have "no idea" because you're a mediocre writer at best when it comes to expressing yourself in prose. I'm not sure about fiction, but I could kick your butt in any nonfiction writing contest.
Indians were named after the East Indies, not India, according to most accounts. In any case, you're the first person to bring up the origin of the word "Indian" as well as the country of India. Neither is relevant to this posting.
Re "writerfella has said that 'Indian' has legal standing BUT only after YOU, Rob, pointed it out": If you're saying that I've said "Indian" is the constitutionally or legally correct term for the continent's first inhabitants, you're flatly wrong. I've never made such a claim.
Nor do I need to ask to know that you can't and won't document your vague claim. As we've seen, you're as bad at supporting your arguments as you are at making them. Pathetic is the word for it.
None of this is relevant to the article's point, which is simply that Indian cultures evolve over time. As usual, Russ, you've provoked a conflict where none needed to exist. Way to go, Mr. Confrontational. Your record as a nattering nabob of negativism continues.
P.S. Does anybody think Russ's response makes sense? Speak now or forever hold your peace.
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