RED LAKE, Minn. — The Red Lake Band of Chippewa in Minnesota is aiming to increase its enrollment, even as some members want to stick to the status quo.
This fall, the Red Lake Tribal Council approved a resolution loosening its rules on blood quantum, a system that identifies Native Americans by their percentage of ancestry in a tribe.
Now, the tribe has hundreds of new citizenship applications under consideration as it seeks to avoid what Tribal Secretary Sam Strong described as “mathematical genocide.” Other tribes across the country are also looking into ways to approach the blood quantum system to avert dwindling enrollment.
According to the blood quantum system, a “full-blooded” Native American of a certain tribe, who marries a non-Native, would have "half-blooded" children. A “half-blooded” person who marries a non-Native, would have children with quarter-blood. And so on.
“The only things described in pedigree are dogs and horses, and we’re not that,” Strong said. “It’s time we stop using this system that’s offensive and meant to eliminate us.”
Red Lake still requires every tribal member to be quarter-blooded. Under the new resolution, everyone who was counted as a tribal member in 1958, no matter their blood quantum, is now considered “full-blooded.”
That means Gary Nelson, who was born in 1956 and is a half-blooded Red Lake member, would now be considered full-blooded, or 4/4 blood degree.
Nelson, a Tribal Council member, is one of three representatives who voted against the measure. The other seven members voted in favor of it. He lives in the town of Ponemah, Minnesota, which sits on the north side of Lower Red Lake. The town is “more traditional with the Indian ways,” he said.
“A lot of the elders in Ponemah say leave it alone, and we don’t want to bother it,” Nelson said. He worries about what will happen when non-members become enrolled and someday get voted onto Tribal Council. “What if they open up Red Lake and want to start selling our land?” he said.
Strong, who brought the resolution forward, said “membership is our future.” The tribe currently has about 12,500 enrolled members, both on and off the reservation. Following the resolution, Strong said about 600 people applied for membership and are now under consideration.
“There’s no benefit to having less people,” Strong said. “Nations are built on the strength of our people. They’re our greatest asset. They’re the ones that run our community, maintain political power and our workforce.”
Wayne Ducheneaux II, executive director of the Native Governance Center in St. Paul, said the U.S. government invented the idea of blood quantum as a way to minimize Native Americans’ ability to “survive long-term.” Under it, there are going to be “extinction dates” for tribes.
“There could be a day in the near future our tribes cease to exist based on this arbitrary rule not based in any practice and incongruent with our tribes,” he said. “There’s no self-determination or tribal sovereignty exercised through blood quantum laws.”
Ducheneaux said prior to colonization, tribes determined membership, not on blood degree, but on “your kinship, your tie to culture, your tie to language.”
Because tribal nations are sovereign, they can bring about the determining factors of being a citizen. Other tribes in Canada and the U.S. have begun to re-evaluate their citizenship laws, changing from blood quantum to factors surrounding what it means to be a member of their tribal nation.
Ducheneaux, a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation in South Dakota, said in traditional Lakota culture, “you could be white, black, Cheyenne, Arikara ... if my family took you in as a relative, you were recognized by our nation.”
It’s an “act of self-determination” to decide who’s a citizen and who’s not, Ducheneaux said, and there are many ways tribes can approach citizenship.
As for Red Lake, resetting the requirement was just the first step, as it simply moved the end date down the road. “The reality is we have to take multiple other steps,” Strong said. The new rule “alleviates the immediate concerns but won’t solve our problem forever.”
Strong said his idea for a long-term solution is to base membership on lineal descent, meaning that someone with a tribal member in their family tree could also be a tribal member.
“I don’t think about myself in percentages,” Strong said. “I’m a Red Lake Band member 100 percent, and I maintain our way of life and keep it strong. And I hope everyone starts to look at themselves in that way.”
We're sure you've had this argument before. You are talking about how indigenous people suffered genocide, oppression, and other atrocities, only to have some settler pooh pooh it with a tale about how white people also suffered - particularly the Irish, who were slaves treated worse than African chattel slaves - and your indigenous ancestors' suffering was nothing by comparison.
Well, that is complete rubbish! Because the the Idea Of Irish "slavery" can be tracked down to a Holocaust denier's book.
It's hard not to notice all the memes on various Facebook pages pushing the myth that Irish people were also once enslaved - especially during Native American heritage month or Black History Month, so how come you never hear their descendants complaining about it? Probably because they weren't slaves, and you fell for a stupid, racist meme.
While the Irish certainly had it rough and were an exploited underclass, they were not slaves, and by no measure did they have it "worse" than indigenous or black people.
The practice of slavery was highly specific and unique in world history. It was chattel slavery based on race, and it was hereditary, meaning that blacks weren't forced to work for a set period of time like other groups -- it was supposed to last for generations and generations, until the Earth crumbled.
Indentured servants, on the other hand, might have been exploited, but they were at least seen as people, not property. Plus, after you gained freedom, you also gained equality before the law. Hell, Ben Franklin was an indentured servant, and he did pretty well.
It's not a coincidence that you mostly see "I'm not racist, but" people sharing the idea of Irish suffering as a way to negate the real suffering of indigenous and Black people. Irish historian Liam Hogan tracked down this myth to a 1990s book by Holocaust denier Michael A. Hoffman II, which was a big hit in white supremacist circles.
In 2000, the myth was given more credibility by a book called To Hell Or Barbados, written by a non-historian who unfortunately wasn't too clear on the definition of "slavery." He also claimed, with zero evidence, that the Irish were branded like cattle, and that Irish women were sold to "stud farms" for breeding purposes, among other exciting and false details.
Anyway, we're sure this clarification will make the people who shared these memes with no ulterior racist motives stop at once! But on second thought, it probably won't.
Adapted from Cracked.com
A run down of news about fake Natives and fake Metis across North America.
In Colorado Springs, Colorado, a man who often identified as a "Native American shaman," according to Colorado Springs police, was arrested for sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact.
The arrest happened on Sept 5, and on Friday police sent out a release stating there could be more victims.
Detectives first learned of 57-year-old Richard Ortega on May 30 when several women reported he sexually assaulted them during what Ortega claimed were "holistic healing sessions." Over five months of investigating, police gathered enough information leading to an arrest.
According to arrest records, Ortega is facing multiple charges including sexual contact during a fake medical exam and unauthorized practice of massage therapy.
Police believe Ortega met most of his victims through events and community groups tied to the Native American community.
Read the original story Here
Passing off mass-produced tchotchkes as authentic Native American crafts could soon be illegal in Cherokee following Tribal Council’s unanimous vote to approve the Native Arts and Crafts Act last week.
The legislation, submitted by the Office of the Attorney General with support from outgoing Wolfetown Representative Jeremy Wilson, states that it will be unlawful to “offer, display for sale, or sell any good in a manner that falsely suggests” it is made by Cherokee people or by Native Americans.
“The purpose of this is to take action on things that are being sold here on the Qualla Boundary that don’t identify who we really are, and I think if we’re going to be making the attempt to strive for more cultural appropriation for us, and our identity, then I think that actions like this are to be needed,” said Wilson.
It is already illegal to dishonestly represent non-Native goods as indigenous creations. The federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act prohibits such actions. Nevertheless, the resolution accompanying the proposed ordinance stated, “these laws have not prevented inauthentic Cherokee goods and goods falsely purporting to be of other tribes from being displayed and sold.”
Read the rest of the story Here
Recently in Canada and the United States, a small but vocal minority of white French-descendants have used an ancestor born between 300 and 400 years ago to claim an “Indigenous” identity. Most of these claims are to a “Métis” identity, though many also claim “Abenaki” and “Algonquin” identities.
Since 2014, Professor Darryl Leroux been researching this shift into an “Indigenous” identity, which has been especially noticeable since a series of Supreme Court of Canada decisions between 1999 and 2003.
His new book, Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity, see his research into 12 years of online genealogy forums. One of the most surprising findings was how the same French women were transformed into Indigenous women on different forums in both French and English.
Learn More HERE
For many Canadians and Americans, there is something attractive about being a “little bit Indigenous” and being able to claim to be Indian or Metis.
For instance, according to the 2016 Canada census, people claiming to be Metis rose exponentially from 2006 to 2016, with places like Nova Scotia seeing increases of over 200% and the overall indigenous population rising by over 500,000 across Canada. In the US, the 2010 census showed more than 5.2 million Americans self-identifying as Native American, but at the same time, data from the Bureau of Indian Affairs lists the total population of members and descendants of the 561 federally recognized Indian tribes to only be about 1.9 million. So, why the discrepancy?
The easy answer is that being Indian (or indigenous) is cool, but the actual answer may be more difficult and complex.
For some, the claiming indigenous ancestry might be used as a way to further their career (like author Joseph Boyden, or US Senator Elizabeth Warren), for others it might be used to basis to apply for scholarships or to get minority status for their business, while others might have more noble (albeit misguided) reasons such as a retreat from white guilt.
Both Canadian and American scholars are researching this phenomenon. Canadian researcher Darryl Leroux has long researched what he calls race-shifting and aspirational descent, whereby people in eastern Canada and the northeastern US are claiming indigenous status based on one (or a small handful) of Indian ancestors – some of whom might not even be indigenous at all – as a means of staking claims and seeking indigenous rights for themselves. In the US, scholars like University of Texas anthropologist Circe Sturm are examining the same issue. In her 2011 book “Becoming Indian”, Sturm wrote that for many people, whiteness is seen as being responsible for indigenous dispossession and the lack of societal connection that characterizes modernity and it indigenous people are seen as having morals and virtues that transcend many of the modern problems of our industrialized world. Both Leroux and Sturm believe that people who are claiming indigenous identity without prior affiliation or identification (i.e. race-shifters) are actually people seeking some connection to an identity outside whiteness – despite the flimsiest of evidence – as having some connection that can assuage the discomfort of being a white settler, erase their personal history as settlers, and reinvent themselves.
While such ideation is relatively harmless, some race-shifters take the quest for an indigenous connection to the extreme. Knowing that they lack a real connection to an indigenous community, they sometimes strive to join “pop-up” groups that claim to represent indigenous people. These “tribes” or “Metis” organizations are often run by some of the more vehemently outspoken race-shifters who often give themselves the rank of “chief” – sometimes even giving themselves outrageously ridiculous Indian names. These groups often charge money – up to several thousands of dollars – to people seeking recognition of their indigenous claims, and they promise the right to exercise indigenous hunting rights, to apply for things like scholarships, to possess raptor feathers, and even to not pay taxes.
The growing popularity of do-it-yourself DNA test kits has only made things worse. While the tests can show ancestral DNA, they definitely cannot prove genetic affiliation with individual tribes and in some cases can give a false result because there is such a small sample of actual Native American DNA to compare against in DNA databases. Even if a person might show some measure of Native American DNA in their profile, it probably wouldn’t satisfy any actual criteria for tribal citizenship with any recognized tribe. This is because most tribes require direct descent from individuals listed in historic government “Indian rolls.” More so, the notion that an individual can discover their tribal affiliation through a DNA test reinforces the white supremacist notion of race as a biological trait tied to a specific gene – as it renders indigenous identity to an individual issue rather than a group, political one.
For more information on this phenomenon, Metis Nation News suggests readers look to some of the following articles and publications:
Māori tribe bans replica of Captain Cook's ship from docking
A Māori tribe has banned a replica of Captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour from docking at its village next month, during a national commemoration of the British explorer's first encounter with indigenous New Zealanders.
The head of the Ngāti Kahu iwi, or tribe, said his group were not consulted by the government about plans to bring a replica to the region.
The ship is set to form part of a flotilla that will travel around New Zealand in October, under a celebration called "Tuia 250" or "Encounters 250."
"They never approached Ngāti Kahu," the iwi's chief executive Anahera Herbert-Graves told CNN affiliate RNZ. "I don't think it occurred to them to contact Ngāti Kahu."
"Cook never came into our rohe [territory], he sailed by, and apparently cast his eye to the port and said, 'oh, that's Doubtless Bay.' It's a fiction for him to 're-visit' us because he never came," she added.
"He was a barbarian. Wherever he went, like most people of the time of imperial expansion, there were murders, there were abductions, there were rapes, and just a lot of bad outcomes for the indigenous people.
"He didn't discover anything down here, and we object to Tuia 250 using euphemisms like 'encounters' and 'meetings' to disguise what were actually invasions," Herbert-Graves said.
Cook, the preeminent British explorer of the Pacific in the eighteenth century, has connections with many of the UK's former territories in the region, including New Zealand.
But his legacy, and that of the often brutal imperialism and colonialism which came in his wake, has long been opposed by indigenous communities and has increasingly come under wider scrutiny in recent years.
Following the announcement by the Ngāti Kahu iwi, RNZ reported that other tribes in nearby regions said they would not be holding welcoming ceremonies for the flotilla.
The Tuia 250 event has been organized by New Zealand's Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
The ministry's chief executive, Tamsin Evans, told RNZ it had thought it had support from the iwi for its plans, which had been discussed with the area's promotions trust, including with a representative they believed was liasing with the Māori tribes.
"We always knew that Tuia would cause some mixed responses. We fully appreciate the mamae [the hurt] that exists very strongly still in some communities. Our job is to open the books, let's look at all the history, and let's start to talk about this."
The event's website describes the Tuia 250 commemoration as an opportunity to "recognise and commemorate two extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures -- each with their legacies and technologies, opportunities and vulnerabilities."
"But most importantly, Tuia 250 ki Tūranga will make room for conversations, some of them awkward, all of them vital to forging a shared future," it adds.
STORY VIA THE-CNN-WIRE™ & © 2019 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
A new group calling itself the "The Turtle Island Tribal Nation" (Website Here) is causing a stir by promoting itself as a sort of all-encompassing tribe that will include anyone with a drop of indigenous DNA into their ranks.
To register for tribal membership in this new "nation" you must meet a 1% requirement. They state that: [a registrant must have] "...1% of Turtle Island Indigenous Blood found within your DNA will likewise be found in the DNA of every cell of your body and therefore you are in-partitionable and fully indigenous and joint heir to Turtle Island."
As a requirement, new members are supposed to complete basic/beginner language, culture and traditions training from a Tribal Elder within the first 2 years of acceptance, although it is not certain what tribe or who such elders might be.
Leadership of this new nation include a man named "Mide Ogichidaa Winini" who claims to be Grand Chief of an unknown "Peace Pipe, Friendship and Alliance Treaty", Tom Dostou, who is the "Sub-Chief of Grand Chief William Commanda", and Nenookaasikwe Shairl Acquin, who is designated as their "Traditional Chief of the Metis Peoples", among other leaders who are self-appointed to lifetime positions.
The group's membership cards claim to provide the ability of a member to carry eagle feathers, a right that is only afforded to members of Federally recognized Indian Tribes - potentially setting up people who join and acquire such feathers to be subject to federal criminal charges.
The site is currently causing a stir on social media and among groups who work to combat cultural appropriation by non-natives.
Quite often, you will find various Facebook or Twitter posts by people claiming to be Indigenous (First Nations or Metis) whining about how their claims (almost always false or coming with zero connection to the nation they claim) are met with scorn or "lateral violence."
So what is lateral violence and do their whines of victimhood have any merit?
Lateral violence is displaced violence directed against one's peers rather than adversaries. Lateral Violence occurs within marginalized groups where members strike out at each other as a result of being oppressed. The oppressed become the oppressors of themselves and each other.
Using this definition, it would seem that many of the non-Indigenous people claiming to be victims of "lateral violence" or "racism" due to their false claims of indigeneity not being believed by the people they hope to be part of (i.e. Metis or Indian) are simply wrong. You simply cannot be laterally violent or laterally racist/oppressive against someone who is not part of your group. Considering that settlers making false claims to being Metis or Indian are not Metis or Indian, receiving criticism from actual Metis or Indians who oppose false claims of these settlers as part of their nations is justified.
We would love to hear your opinion on this matter.
Some First Nations tighten membership criteria in response to Bill S-3's extension of Indian statusSocial Sharing
Some First Nations are tightening their membership and residency codes against the thousands of people across Canada who could potentially gain Indian status as a result of recent changes to remove remaining sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act.
Bill S-3 received royal assent over a year ago but some of its provisions aimed at eliminating all remaining sex-based discrimination before the creation of the modern Indian registry in 1951— the removal of what's called the 1951 cut-off —were delayed to allow for a year-long consultation process with First Nations.
The remaining provisions were brought into force by the federal government earlier in August.
The changes could extend eligibility for Indian status to potentially hundreds of thousands of people by opening up registration to descendants of women who lost their status due to marriage dating back to 1869.
READ THE STORY AT CBC INDIGENOUS
Eve-Lauryn Little Shell LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) (Film/Video, Art MFA 14) was among the six artists selected earlier this year by the Sundance Institute as a New Frontier Fellow. Fellowship recipients participate in the Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab, a week-long experience at the Sundance Resort in Utah designed to empower creatives through “individual story sessions, conversations about key artistic, design and technology issues and case study presentations from experts in multiple disciplines.”
LaFountain, who also serves as the Senior Admissions Counselor for the School of Film/Video, developed her multimedia work Re/Dis Location during the Story Lab. According to the Sundance Institute’s announcement, LaFountain’s piece investigates the “complicated personal histories and legacies of the Indian Relocation Act of 1956.”
“[The project is] focusing on my family’s story of when my grandparents moved from our reservation in North Dakota to Los Angeles as part of the Relocation Act when our reservation was targeted to be terminated,” LaFountain told the 24700 blog during a recent email interview.
“When I moved to Los Angeles, my grandmother was happy to see her dream of living here live on through me. I was surprised that she felt that way because I always thought that she went back to our reservation because she missed her family and homelands. Her time in Los Angeles was great for her though, she had five of her 10 children in the city and saw a lot of potential for a better life in the city. The family moved back because of money and the hardship of raising a growing family in an expensive urban area. My grandmother passed away a few years ago and that’s what propelled me to make a project in her honor and to explore our paralleled stories of migrating to Los Angeles. As I began to develop the project I realized that a traditional documentary would not be the right format. I want the viewer to be transported from one place to another, which is where virtual reality came into the mix.”
Re/Dis Location serves as a portal through which the user may travel through time and space while “investigating the idea of home.” The multimedia work employs audio, video and geo-aware content, pieced together from an archive of film, recordings and photographs of her family and reservation that LaFountain amassed over the years. Re/Dis Location takes a further look at LA’s indigenous histories and communities, misplaced by industries and carried along by a “flash flood in a concrete river.”
Interim Director of the New Frontier Lab Programs and fellow CalArtian Ruthie Doyle (Film/Video MFA 13) co-led the Story Lab with Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Founding Director Michelle Satter. According to Doyle, the program’s roster of advisors and mentors (ranging from Academy Award-winning documentarian Laura Poitras to RYOT Studios Director of Immersive Development Jake Sally) work alongside fellows to support their artistic vision in their projects and beyond, fostering connections across “dislocation, diaspora and mediation.”
LaFountain’s work has been exhibited internationally, including venues like the Autry Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Venice Biennale and the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in New York City. LaFountain is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including a REEF Maker City LA Artist Residency, a Flaherty Film Seminar Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Scholarship and an Inaugural Mike Kelley Foundation Artist Project Grant.
READ AT 24700 Blog
The Cherokee Nation wants a representative in Congress, taking the US government up on a promise it made nearly 200 years ago
The Cherokee Nation announced Thursday that it intends to appoint a delegate to the US House of Representatives, asserting for the first time a right promised to the tribe in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government.
It was a historic step for the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation and its nearly 370,000 citizens, coming about a week after Chuck Hoskin Jr. was sworn in as principal chief of the tribe. The Cherokee Nation says it's the largest tribal nation in the US and one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes.
The move raises questions about what that representation in Congress would look like and whether the US will honor an agreement it made almost two centuries ago.
The Cherokee Nation's right to appoint a delegate stems from the same treaty that the US government used to forcibly remove the tribe from its ancestral lands.
As a result of the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, the Cherokee were ultimately made to leave their homes in the Southeast for present-day Oklahoma in exchange for money and other compensation. Nearly 4,000 citizens of the tribe died of disease, starvation and exhaustion on the journey now known as the Trail of Tears.
A delegate in the House of Representatives was one of the ways the US government promised to compensate the Cherokee Nation.
READ MORE AT CNN.COM