1. Post #1
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    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
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    (CNN) – The recent controversy over Massachusetts congressional candidate Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry, where the campaign of her opponent for a senate seat called for her to release documents claiming her Cherokee ancestry, has caused some to ask: What makes someone "legitimately" Native American? And who gets to make that determination?

    "Fundamentally, it's the tribe’s right to determine who its citizens are and are not. If we don't know (whether someone is American Indian), we can ask the tribe," said Julia Good Fox, professor of American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University.

    Good Fox furthermore points out that citizenship is distinct from ancestry. Tribes have the sovereign right to determine who is and isn't a citizen, just as France and the United States have their own rules about citizenship. Anyone can claim ancestry, but those who do so can't always claim citizenship, Good Fox said.

    Determining who is and isn't a member of a tribe can be complicated, and the answers don’t always come in a binary form of "yes" or "no." Part of the reason such determinations can be controversial is because tribes' own rules for establishing membership can vary widely.

    Many tribes use parentage as a means of defining membership. Known as "blood quantum," the practice defines tribal membership according to the degree of "pure blood" belonging to that tribe. For example, a person with one grandparent belonging to one tribe and three grandparents not belonging to that tribe would be considered to have a "blood quantum" of one-quarter. The minimum amount of blood quantum required can be as little as one-thirty-second (equivalent to one great-great-great-grandparent) or as high as one-half (equivalent to one full-blooded tribal parent).

    But it hasn't always been that way, says Renee Holt, a doctoral student at Washington State University who studies cultural studies and social thought in education. Her research of different traditional indigenous tribal practices indicates that most tribes did not use blood quantum as the primary determinant of who was a member and who was not. In the case of the Nez Perce tribe, of which Holt is a member, belonging to the tribe meant you spoke the language and followed cultural practices. One did not necessarily have to be of 100% Nez Perce blood to be part of the tribe – cultural affinity was considered more important.

    As an example, Holt mentions her uncle, who was adopted as a boy by her great-grandmother and raised alongside her aunt. The uncle lived among the tribe throughout his life, spoke Nez Perce fluently, had a traditional tribal name, and participated in ceremonies and rituals. He was white – but his skin color didn't prevent him from being considered a member of the tribe. Upon his death, he was given a traditional funeral.

    "I just thought that was amazing. How do you tell somebody like that that they're not Nez Perce?" asked Holt.

    Good Fox said that using blood quantum as a criterion for tribal membership is a fairly recent concept.

    "Blood quantum was imposed upon the tribes by the United States. We never had blood quantum a thousand years ago," said Good Fox, who is herself a member of the Pawnee tribe.


    Some historians believe this was a way of diminishing the number of "actual" Native Americans that the government would then be obligated to count when calculating federal money and land disbursed to the tribes. Among some 19th and early 20th century politicians, there was also the hope that eventually, Native Americans would intermarry and assimilate with whites to the point that they would no longer have the power of a cohesive group – and would no longer have a right to land and monetary payments from the government.

    "It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is just this of intermarriage, and the gradual fading out of the Indian blood; the whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears, they lose all of the traditions of the race; there is no longer any occasion to maintain the tribal relations, and there is then every reason why they shall go and take their place as white people do everywhere," said Anthony Higgins, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, in 1895 congressional testimony.

    Many tribes began using blood quantum after the passage of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which allowed tribes to establish their own governments. But others continued to define membership in other ways- including by lineal descent (being able to prove that you had an ancestor listed as a member of that tribe, regardless of your actual percentage of tribal blood), residence on tribal lands, knowledge of tribal language and culture, or membership in a recognized clan.

    It's an issue that Holt is personally invested in – being one-quarter Nez Perce, she’s at the minimum threshold for membership in the Nez Perce tribe with which she is enrolled, according to current rules. Her children are also one-quarter Nez Perce, and if they marry someone outside the tribe, their children – Holt's grandchildren – would be unable to claim membership despite their connection to Nez Perce culture.

    "If my children do not have family with a Nez Perce, I won’t have any Nez Perce grandchildren," Holt said. "And there’s a sadness there, there's a hopeless feeling that it's ending with me; it's going to end with them. I tell my children, 'You must be with a Nez Perce'…When you start thinking like that, you're going crazy."

    Good Fox said the popular perception of Native Americans is rooted in stereotypes – the idea that a "real Indian" looks and acts a certain way, and that anyone who doesn't conform to that image is somehow "less Indian." But the truth is more diverse – different tribes can have different physical characteristics, and intermarriage among other ethnic groups mean that Native Americans often have a multiracial background.

    "I think people still have this perception that all American Indians look like this image of Plains Indians from the 1800s," said Good Fox. "We don’t look like how we would have 200 years ago either, so to expect Indians to look the same (as they did then) makes no sense.

    "There’s this ignorance about Native American citizenship," said Good Fox. "And what are we learning about American Indians grades K-12? It's all in past-tense, and we don’t get a sense of what an Indian today looks like. That can really be confusing to people."
    Source: http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/...s-complicated/
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  2. Post #2
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    Vasili's Avatar
    December 2007
    10,947 Posts
    "It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is just this of intermarriage, and the gradual fading out of the Indian blood; the whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears, they lose all of the traditions of the race; there is no longer any occasion to maintain the tribal relations, and there is then every reason why they shall go and take their place as white people do everywhere," said Anthony Higgins, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, in 1895 congressional testimony.
    I always find this amusing when the west complain about their cultures dying or being invaded by immigrants because it was common practice for whites of that period when occupying or invading other countries, its ironic. Does the US government still give support to native indians or was that stopped?
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  3. Post #3
    Proudly supporting the JIDF
    Dennab
    July 2010
    22,111 Posts
    Tracing ancestry to a single group of people as your main ancestors is gradually getting more and more silly.

  4. Post #4
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,752 Posts
    Tracing ancestry to a single group of people as your main ancestors is gradually getting more and more silly.
    I'm roughly 50% German, 25% Polish, 24% Irish and 1% English.

    I usually just say I'm German because it's the majority of my blood and my last name is German.
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    Vasili's Avatar
    December 2007
    10,947 Posts
    I'm roughly 50% German, 25% Polish, 24% Irish and 1% English.

    I usually just say I'm German because it's the majority of my blood and my last name is German.
    I dunno why Americans say that its kind of retarded

    My grandmother and grandfather on my dads side were Irish
    Grandmother and grandfather on my mothers side Scottish
    My great grandfather on my mothers side was Norwegian
    My mother and father are English
    And I was born in Germany and raised in England, but I don't go around saying I'm 30% Irish, 30% Scottish, splash of Norwegian and a dollop of German with a heavy dose of English.

    It just something Americans seem to do to appear unique or (from what I have seen) get out of racial arguments.
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  6. Post #6
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
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    I dunno why Americans say that its kind of retarded

    My grandmother and grandfather on my dads side were Irish
    Grandmother and grandfather on my mothers side Scottish
    My great grandfather on my mothers side was Norwegian
    My mother and father are English
    And I was born in Germany and raised in England, but I don't go around saying I'm 30% Irish, 30% Scottish, splash of Norwegian and a dollop of German with a heavy dose of English.

    It just something Americans seem to do to appear unique or (from what I have seen) get out of racial arguments.
    Because everyone in America, save Native American Indians, are all "from some place else"
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  7. Post #7
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    Vasili's Avatar
    December 2007
    10,947 Posts
    yeah being ashamed of their nationality was also another thing.
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  8. Post #8
    ZeDoctor's Avatar
    July 2011
    210 Posts
    i guess im from someplace else then :(

  9. Post #9
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    Lachz0r's Avatar
    August 2008
    12,361 Posts
    a real native is someone who's willing to die fighting for his country there's nothing more to it
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  10. Post #10
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    Conspiracy's Avatar
    May 2007
    1,129 Posts
    I'm Roman by ancestry on one half and nomadic Saudi Arabian on the other. Pretty odd mix but I feel much more Arab than I do Italian. Though now that I think about it, Italians and Palestinians have a hell of a lot in common in their food, family structure and culture... Weird.

    On topic: I think 'home' is subjective and lies wherever you feel connected to, and though it's lame to deny your own bloodline it's even stupider to try to force it. "I'm 1/8th Asian okay?!" just sounds annoying.

  11. Post #11
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    Lachz0r's Avatar
    August 2008
    12,361 Posts
    i was born in new zealand, my father was born in new zealand and his father was born here too. that makes me a native new zealander, i dont give a crap about europe and they don't give a crap about me cause i ain't no european!!! thats how i think ancestry works i think its stupid as hell when people try to claim they are something like I'M TOTALLY HELLA IRISH or whatever when they weren't even born there and they family ain't even lived there for like hundreds of years
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  12. Post #12
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    Conspiracy's Avatar
    May 2007
    1,129 Posts
    I'm roughly 50% German, 25% Polish, 24% Irish and 1% English.

    I usually just say I'm German because it's the majority of my blood and my last name is German.
    Non-caucasians usually tune out at this point of a conversation and think "Okay. You're white. I get it." haha. Never understood why it's so common that caucasian/white people like to get so 'this percent that percent' about where they're from especially if its unvaried in terms of ethnicity.

    I guess it's nice to distinguish yourselves since caucasians like to move around a lot to different countries over centuries; where in the middle east it's often as simple as "You are from where your dad is from (probably where you live)" cause Arabs don't like to move around a lot; and if they do they bring their culture and dialects with them proudly - never to be forgotten over generations.
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  13. Post #13
    If life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic.
    Liem's Avatar
    November 2011
    7,079 Posts
    I was born and raised in Canada, As far as I'm concerned I'm as Canadian as they come. Sure, Some of my ancestors were from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, But me, I'm Canadian.
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  14. Post #14
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    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,752 Posts
    Non-caucasians usually tune out at this point of a conversation and think "Okay. You're white. I get it." haha. Never understood why it's so common that caucasian/white people like to get so 'this percent that percent' about where they're from especially if its unvaried in terms of ethnicity.

    I guess it's nice to distinguish yourselves since caucasians like to move around a lot to different countries over centuries; where in the middle east it's often as simple as "You are from where your dad is from (probably where you live)" cause Arabs don't like to move around a lot; and if they do they bring their culture and dialects with them proudly - never to be forgotten over generations.
    Well, there's a difference between ethnicity and skin color.
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  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    Mabus's Avatar
    July 2007
    5,135 Posts
    As an Irish person, I can safely say that it annoys the hell out of my when people who claim Irish ancestry have all sorts of bizarre notions on how we behave and what knowledge they have about the "home country"

    It's fantastic that your great great grandfather was from Louth etc.. , but seriously enough with the ridiculous stereotypes and weird ideas. Are things really that bad were you live that you have to attach yourself to another cultural identity?
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  16. Post #16
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    Conspiracy's Avatar
    May 2007
    1,129 Posts
    Well, there's a difference between ethnicity and skin color.
    I meant ethnicity in its primary sense. African, Caucasian, East Asian, Middle Eastern/North African, etc.
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  17. Post #17
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,752 Posts
    As an Irish person, I can safely say that it annoys the hell out of my when people who claim Irish ancestry have all sorts of bizarre notions on how we behave and what knowledge they have about the "home country"

    It's fantastic that your great great grandfather was from Louth etc.. , but seriously enough with the ridiculous stereotypes and weird ideas. Are things really that bad were you live that you have to attach yourself to another cultural identity?
    America hasn't much of it's own cultural identity, so many stick to customs and such that were passed down in their family from those who came across the pond.
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  18. Post #18
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    Negrul1's Avatar
    November 2007
    5,326 Posts
    a real native is somehow who's willing to die fighting for his country there's nothing more to it
    In that case I am most definitely not a native of anywhere, and hope never to be.

  19. Post #19
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    Lachz0r's Avatar
    August 2008
    12,361 Posts
    In that case I am most definitely not a native of anywhere, and hope never to be.
    yeah it's just a quote from gangs of new york by bill the butcher the leader of the federation of american natives

  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    DesolateGrun's Avatar
    July 2008
    6,268 Posts
    I'm 1/16 Cherokee
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  21. Post #21
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    RR_Raptor65's Avatar
    February 2006
    3,356 Posts
    I'm 1/16 Cherokee
    Same here, I'm also adopted. I'm told there was a big shitstorm when it was found out that I was part Cherokee, as if that made me more valuable to the adoption agency or something.
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  22. Post #22
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    Lachz0r's Avatar
    August 2008
    12,361 Posts
    a real native is someone who's willing to die fighting for his country there's nothing more to it
    you know what even though this is a movie quote i don't get why it's so bad. i'm not talking about phoney american die fighting for your country as in dying making war on iraq or afghanistan, i'm talking about world war 2 both my granddads got fucked up fighting to protect new zealand from the japanese who actually wanted to invade us and i consider that a good thing
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  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    DesolateGrun's Avatar
    July 2008
    6,268 Posts
    Same here, I'm also adopted. I'm told there was a big shitstorm when it was found out that I was part Cherokee, as if that made me more valuable to the adoption agency or something.
    yeah but I'm not though

  24. Post #24
    "If something happens, be assured it was planned this way"
    Singo's Avatar
    April 2010
    1,971 Posts
    I have Native American ancestry, now give me a casino
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  25. Post #25
    I SHOULDN'T OWN A FIREARM
    GunFox's Avatar
    May 2005
    7,545 Posts
    I have Native American ancestry, now give me a casino
    A very small percentage of native Americans run casinos. An even smaller percentage do well with them.

  26. Post #26
    -nesto-'s Avatar
    September 2007
    3,864 Posts
    I'm 1/16 Cherokee
    What's sad is tons of people claim this shit in the midwest. They really embrace the culture by adorning their trailers with cheap dreamcatchers from hobby stores and posters of wolves
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  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    cecilbdemodded's Avatar
    January 2005
    6,588 Posts
    A very small percentage of native Americans run casinos. An even smaller percentage do well with them.
    Well any time you try to generate income with a casino it's a gamble.
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  28. Post #28
    Gold Member
    jgerm529's Avatar
    April 2009
    2,068 Posts
    I'm 1/5 Mowhawk Indian which is one of the tribes that made up the Iroquois Nation.
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  29. Post #29
    MBB

    February 2012
    356 Posts
    I'm 1/16 Cherokee as well. Not a citizen of the tribe or anything though.

  30. Post #30
    Gordy H.'s Avatar
    April 2010
    1,206 Posts
    Half Ojibwe and member of the Leech Lake Tribal Band. GIVE ME SOME RECOGNITION DAMNIT.
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  31. Post #31
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,752 Posts
    Half Ojibwe and member of the Leech Lake Tribal Band. GIVE ME SOME RECOGNITION DAMNIT.
    You're a tribal citizen?
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  32. Post #32
    Gordy H.'s Avatar
    April 2010
    1,206 Posts
    You're a tribal citizen?
    Yep, I'm a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. I don't live on the reservation or anything, but obviously I do meet the 1/4 blood quantum rule the band has.
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  33. Post #33
    USER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM REALITY - RETRY CONNECTION IN 5 MINUTES
    Dennab
    February 2006
    22,239 Posts
    I'm roughly 50% German, 25% Polish, 24% Irish and 1% English. I usually just say I'm German because it's the majority of my blood and my last name is German.
    I can't even say what I am. I have some Greek in me, my biological grandfather was actually from Greece, so assuming he was 100% Greek

    -which is silly to say, because who the fuck is Greek? Would someone Arab who lived in Greece during Ottoman reign be considered Greek? What about someone who can trace lineage to the Romans? Does someone have to trace back to Classical Greece to be considered Greek? But I digress. -

    That would put me at 25% Greek, but I don't know how "Greek" my grandfather was. I am also partially Norwegian because apparently my mom can trace some ancestry back to Norway at some point in time, god knows how long ago. I am also somehow Native American, since my grandfather is either "full" or "half" Native American, but fuck me if I know what tribe it is, he used to say Lummy but now he says some Aleutian tribe in Alaska, but that puts me at a quarter or sixth max. I am also probably English of some sort.

    Oddly enough, I have no German(that I know of), but my last name is German. Go fucking figure, right?

    Tracing lineage is one of the most silly things imaginable in this day and age. If you're a human being you can trace lineage to Africa anyways, so I guess I can say that I'm African-American too. It's sort of ridiculous.

    Edited:

    Holy shit fuck this computer I'm going to fix the paragraphs on my other computer brb.

  34. Post #34
    Gold Member
    luverofJ!93's Avatar
    August 2007
    1,374 Posts
    Nez Perce, one of the best exp. of my life, was at a Nez Perce reservation in Idaho, had a session in a sweat lodge in the village, one of the coolest(hottest) things ever. Was with around 8 close friends including some of the village elders, we would strip down naked and then go into this sweat lodge and periodically, slowly, one of the elders would pour water onto the smouldering rocks and it would get hotter, and hotter, and hotter. They also would burn sage making the most wonderful smell and tell old stories of the tribe. After about 15 minutes(and trust me you can't last any longer than that) we would all go out and dump frigid water on ourselves and take a break and get ready for another session a few minutes later.

  35. Post #35
    I'M A SHAAARK!
    Lambeth's Avatar
    October 2009
    14,840 Posts
    I am 100% shark
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  36. Post #36
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,752 Posts
    I can't even say what I am. I have some Greek in me, my biological grandfather was actually from Greece, so assuming he was 100% Greek

    -which is silly to say, because who the fuck is Greek? Would someone Arab who lived in Greece during Ottoman reign be considered Greek? What about someone who can trace lineage to the Romans? Does someone have to trace back to Classical Greece to be considered Greek? But I digress. -

    That would put me at 25% Greek, but I don't know how "Greek" my grandfather was. I am also partially Norwegian because apparently my mom can trace some ancestry back to Norway at some point in time, god knows how long ago. I am also somehow Native American, since my grandfather is either "full" or "half" Native American, but fuck me if I know what tribe it is, he used to say Lummy but now he says some Aleutian tribe in Alaska, but that puts me at a quarter or sixth max. I am also probably English of some sort.

    Oddly enough, I have no German(that I know of), but my last name is German. Go fucking figure, right?

    Tracing lineage is one of the most silly things imaginable in this day and age. If you're a human being you can trace lineage to Africa anyways, so I guess I can say that I'm African-American too. It's sort of ridiculous.

    Edited:

    Holy shit fuck this computer I'm going to fix the paragraphs on my other computer brb.
    No, there isn't any real practical use of tracing heritage (other than for Native Americans said in the article) but I still find it fascinating to know where and what my ancestors were doing during WWII, WWI, the Civil War, etc.

  37. Post #37
    USER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM REALITY - RETRY CONNECTION IN 5 MINUTES
    Dennab
    February 2006
    22,239 Posts
    I personally think that tracing lineage is sort of dumb even for Tribal Citizenship. I think ultimately the question should be if you are a contributing member and resident on Tribal Lands. Can you imagine the backlash the US would face if they only accepted people who could trace lineage to England? It's pretty useless. Why should Native Americans be so concerned over preserving their bloodlines? Shouldn't they be more concerned preserving their traditions and their land? If someone is completely English, but contributes heavily to the Skokomish Tribe, shouldn't he be considered a Native American?