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Old 07-19-2020, 05:45 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Hello!

Greetings everyone!

My name is Kayden Womack. My grandmother on my mothers was part of the Yunami tribe in Panama which was actually one of the last undiscovered tribes in the Americas. I know that I have other tribes in my blood as well, and my great-great-grandmother on my Fathers side had kids with, as far as I know, a Cherokee affiliated person (something that was extremely frowned upon in Lousiana). I feel a strong connection with the vast culture and was always taught to be proud of my blood. I definitely want a DNA test soon as well.

I know that a lot of reservations are going through very difficult times through this pandemic especially. I hope that things get easier for everyone, and that Elders are able to pass on as much information as possible to younger generations.

I am very happy I found these forums. I am taking a American Indian History class right now, and I have a final paper coming up. I do not have many contact with Native Americans outside of my immediate family on my mom's side. It would be wonderful if anyone here could open some discussions with me or point towards where I should go on this website.

If anyone can give me their personal or communal perspective on the following question:
What factors determine Indian identity in modern America?

Thanks so much,
Kayden
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Old 07-19-2020, 08:37 PM   #2
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Hello Kayden. Welcome to powwows.com.

Unless I'm misunderstanding, you're here to research your final paper. If I am misunderstanding, forgive me and ignore the rest of this paragraph. The former college prof in me has to ask if you're in compliance with your institution of higher education's policy on human subjects in sociological research? Various American Indian communities and individuals have been exploited as publication fodder since las Casas. Some folks may not take well to being used for a quickie term paper.

That said, as I've already told you, I'm a former college prof. Thus I love the sound of my own voice. So, I'll bite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinynothing View Post
What factors determine Indian identity in modern America?
You don't believe in starting in the kiddy pool.

I'm going to start with some words from Faces in the Moon, by Betty L. Bell (Cherokee), University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

I have always been confused by who talk and talk of their religious beliefs or Indian identity. As far back as I can remember, I belonged to a secret society of Indian women, meeting around a kitchen table in a conspiracy to bring the past into the present. I listened, their stories settling forever into my blood...

They heard, and taught me to hear, the truth in things not said.... "Ifn a man's gotta tell ya he's got," my momma said, "he done already lost it."
(pp 56-57.)


"This here's the Reverend Tom Cottonmouth. Speakin' to ya from the national I Wannabe a Cherokee network...

Ifn your [sic] having a little tribal uncertainty... Ifn y'all had bad credit, a turn a bad luck, think to yourselves, Indian brothers and sisters, maybe y'all need a new identity. An' ya can have it right here, no questions asked an' no references needed. Ya'll had grandmommas, ain't no more needed than that.

For just a ten-dollar bill, no checks please, we'll send ya a authentic certificate of Cherokee blood....

Cherokee. We mean Indian."
(pp 57-58)


This is a question with cultural and political implications. To be honest, I've discussed my views before. So I'm going to send you to those other posts.

Definition of American Indian

why is there no....

zeke lives!



Then I'm going to send you to the library:

Eva Marie Garroutte, Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America, University of California Press, 2003.

George Pierre Castile, "The Commodification of Indian Identity," American Anthropologist, 98, 1996, pp. 743-749.

Also you may want to look at the work by Dr Kim TallBear on genetics and Native communities.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:38 PM   #3
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Smile

Of course, I am sorry if I came off as someone looking for some quick information for a paper. I am extremely interested in building cultural understanding because I think there's so much importance to learning about the vast history. I didn't mean to be facetious and naive with my statements from before, and I know that I have little actual experience. I greatly appreciate you sharing all of this information & these sources though, I will definitely look into it.

This is not just for a paper also. I am at a point in my life where I feel like I want to connect more to a spiritual side of myself that "mainstream society" chooses to ignore. I believe many people are living in a state of spiritual injury and I have always felt like it is something I was given the potential to see and heal in any way I can. I understand that no healer has built themselves to a good standing without learning from the past though.

I just really think that a lot of what I feel like I need to learn is not easy to find information for. I previously wanted to go to actually learn in person to understand how others have developed themselves spiritually. However, I know that this is not the time. I am asthmatic, and I know that reservations can't let people in without essential reason. Still, I discovered this form, and I just wanted to try and open the door for even starting conversations.

I greatly appreciate your reply and your patience with me,
Kayden
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:23 PM   #4
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How's the reading going?
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