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  • Indian unification a pipe dream?

    Since February is Black History Month, and we're being inundated with those messages on TV, it got me to thinking about the mythical concept of Indian Unification. Is this possible?

    Blacks were able to unify because they identify themselves by a race, not a culturally-specific group. They were able to sidestep many of the problems associated with tribalcentrism. Sure, American Indian is a race, but we are members of tribes that, for the most part, are very different from each other. Many tribes still carry prejudices or feuds with other tribes.

    Another wedge preventing unification within Indian Country is the issue of residence. I have lived and currently do live on a reservation, but I have also lived in a farming town, a city, and a college town. My blood quantum didn't go down when in the city nor up when on the rez. But, many feel this way.

    Issues of Indianess abound and serve to drive these wedges deep into Indian Country. Not only residence, but blood quantum, knowledge of language, and to some degree - economic success. How many of you put down per cap Indians?

    Then, the biggest wedge is pure, unadulterated jealousy. This has been discussed in these forums many times before, but I believe they serve to stifle any unification efforts out there.

    Do I believe Indians will ever be in a unified state? No.

    What do you think?
    I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

  • #2
    Originally posted by Singerdad
    Since February is Black History Month, and we're being inundated with those messages on TV, it got me to thinking about the mythical concept of Indian Unification. Is this possible?

    Blacks were able to unify because they identify themselves by a race, not a culturally-specific group. They were able to sidestep many of the problems associated with tribalcentrism. Sure, American Indian is a race, but we are members of tribes that, for the most part, are very different from each other. Many tribes still carry prejudices or feuds with other tribes.

    Another wedge preventing unification within Indian Country is the issue of residence. I have lived and currently do live on a reservation, but I have also lived in a farming town, a city, and a college town. My blood quantum didn't go down when in the city nor up when on the rez. But, many feel this way.

    Issues of Indianess abound and serve to drive these wedges deep into Indian Country. Not only residence, but blood quantum, knowledge of language, and to some degree - economic success. How many of you put down per cap Indians?

    Then, the biggest wedge is pure, unadulterated jealousy. This has been discussed in these forums many times before, but I believe they serve to stifle any unification efforts out there.

    Do I believe Indians will ever be in a unified state? No.

    What do you think?
    Your'e words are very sad but so very true. Youre exactly right! How can we ever be unified when we ourselves are so worried about how brown each other is or how traditionally one another was raised? It seems to me that we have forgotten what caused division amongst our people in the first place. Our ancestors were driven out of thier homes and onto reservations, thier children were ripped from thier arms and thrown into boarding schools forbidden to speak thier native tongue and practice thier traditions. Our ancestors NEVER asked for any of this to happen and they sure didnt ask for thier offspring to suffer the consequences for it especially from thier own kind, other Natives.

    Should we not have patience and compassion for those that have been lost to find thier way back rather than condemn them for a life they did not choose for themsleves? Should we not be grateful that the yearning to return to Native roots is so strong in our people that when those that have been taken away always fight to get back home? Are we not to share our culture with others so that they will know the truth and that thier thinking will no be lead by false history? Instead of holding each other back shouldn't we be rejoicing in the accomplishments of our own people because we know that it is progression? Shouldn't we be taking the same steps as our ancestors did by taking action when wrong has been done to us and fight for that which we know is right?

    I just know that lately I have been asked to prove myself and i dont feel i have to prove anything to anyone, as long as I know who i am and where i come from and what i have done in my OWN life i am content. I think too many people are rapped up in what each other is doing that it fogs the mind as to the true purpose of what our people are meant to be doing. I believe that Native peoples a whole have so much to offer the world and so many lessons to teach but no one will listen because we do not even listen to each other, instead we try to find fault in each others words and actions which will only cause us to go backwards rather than forward.

    ~~~ Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. ~~~


    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Singerdad
      Since February is Black History Month, and we're being inundated with those messages on TV, it got me to thinking about the mythical concept of Indian Unification. Is this possible?

      Blacks were able to unify because they identify themselves by a race, not a culturally-specific group. They were able to sidestep many of the problems associated with tribalcentrism. Sure, American Indian is a race, but we are members of tribes that, for the most part, are very different from each other. Many tribes still carry prejudices or feuds with other tribes.

      Another wedge preventing unification within Indian Country is the issue of residence. I have lived and currently do live on a reservation, but I have also lived in a farming town, a city, and a college town. My blood quantum didn't go down when in the city nor up when on the rez. But, many feel this way.

      Issues of Indianess abound and serve to drive these wedges deep into Indian Country. Not only residence, but blood quantum, knowledge of language, and to some degree - economic success. How many of you put down per cap Indians?

      Then, the biggest wedge is pure, unadulterated jealousy. This has been discussed in these forums many times before, but I believe they serve to stifle any unification efforts out there.

      Do I believe Indians will ever be in a unified state? No.

      What do you think?
      I don't think that we'll ever be in a unified state until the Crow Fair becomes integrated then that should be the basis of how to get along. Otherwise, we'll just be kept to our certain partitioned tipi campground.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by quicksilverwade
        I don't think that we'll ever be in a unified state until the Crow Fair becomes integrated then that should be the basis of how to get along. Otherwise, we'll just be kept to our certain partitioned tipi campground.



        I don't want to sound like I'm trying to defy you or anything, but if you could, can you elaborate on this?
        And yeah, I don't think Indians could ever come to a unified state....but then again there's alwayz hope.
        Put me in tha rez with crazy N-Dens and I'll survive
        Put me in tha city with crazy Whites and I'll die

        Comment


        • #5
          Recently I caught Tex Hall on CSPAN....It was the state of Indian Nations Address, or something like that. Tex had some real positive thinsg to say and touched on some good points. Certainlty there are negative conditions out there, but I try to pull from what is positive. It's ultimately frustrating to see Indian peoples being petty (we can talk about that all week) Our young are the beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. The children seem to make such a difference. I for one see Tribes unified and some not, it varies. What I appreciate though is how Skins come together in certain settings and stick together. I noticed this in College...I've also noticed that when things get rugged folks stick together? Ever notice how many relatives you see at a Funeral?
          Last edited by Coyot_In_The_House; 02-07-2005, 07:00 PM.
          "She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses". But, of course, she's lying."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by crow_reza
            I don't want to sound like I'm trying to defy you or anything, but if you could, can you elaborate on this?
            And yeah, I don't think Indians could ever come to a unified state....but then again there's alwayz hope.
            Sure, by the way do you know Deanne Milda from Crow Agency? I've never been to the Crow Fair but from what everybody says is that they segregate each and every tribe at the tipi campground. Now if there wasn't any worry about separating each tribe then that would be the point of harmony, right?

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh, this is a minefield.

              As an urban born, white educated, mixed-blood who can only look from the outside at beauty of Oglala ways and pray that they continue, I am deeply bothered by this issue.

              First, I think comparison to the Black experience is far fetched. Not to play a game of "who had it worse", but.... Blacks were transported half a planet away from their tribal lands. The geographic separation from sacred lands and the dispersion of tribal members, made it nearly impossible to maintain the coherent tribal identity which Indian people have been able to sustain. Few modern African-Americans can identify their tribal origins, but most Indian people can -- except for victims of trans-ethnic adoption and severe acculturation. Blacks, in essence, were forced to create a "tribe" of lost birds, with shared institutions produced of African and European roots.

              Also, such unity is illusionary. It is but a vision from outside. The African-American community has as much dissent, and much color based internal bias, political division, etc. as Indian Country.

              I am afraid we'd have lost the battle if we thought of ourselves as Indians instead of Oglalas, or Dine or whatever.... Pratt and his soldiers of cultural genocide tried to make us over as "little brown Americans". But, the thing that shines in the tales of boarding school survival are the moments of tribally specific resistance -- the mouthful of traditional food, or secret whispered word in the Native tongue. Our ancestors were beaten, raped, killed, imprisoned, wrongfully-committed, and starved to save who they were as a unique tribe-specific culture. We are one step closer to Pratt's safe "little brown Americans" if we let outside pressures make us over into homogenous mass.

              This is not to say there are not political areas common all Native people: health-care, sovereignty, self-determination, resource preservation, intellectual property protection, and so on. And there is much to be gained by presenting a united political front on such issues. Here is the arena for Native unity.

              And there are cultural similarities; things which allow us to make communities away from home, where none have previously existed. But these arise from our tribal mores and ethos. And in my opinion, they are tools of individual survival and not the basis of a generic Indian identity.

              Further, should we conform to the dominant culture's unified "Indian" identity, are we not allowing them to reduce us for political gain? Do we not come one step closer to being defined and ultimately constrained by non-Indian conceptions of Indian identity? Already it is difficult to tell our history outside the framework of European contact and conflict. What happens when our children can't tell their tribal ways from pan-Indian ways?

              Thanks for letting me prattle.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by quicksilverwade
                Sure, by the way do you know Deanne Milda from Crow Agency? I've never been to the Crow Fair but from what everybody says is that they segregate each and every tribe at the tipi campground. Now if there wasn't any worry about separating each tribe then that would be the point of harmony, right?



                Oh....ok, ok. lol now I get it. Yeah, sorry but I don't think I know her, if she's an older women then I probably don't. (lol I'm probably related to her too)

                Segregation of tha tribes during Crow Fair isn't meant to be that way (of course). You see, I grew up all my life with Crow Fair because it means so much to us Apsaalooke. So, it's kind of hard for me to see the segregation of tha tribes. If people look at Crow Fair as segregation then I'm sorry, it's not meant to be that way. Then again, I haven't seen anything like that, but if it's what people say then you can be the judge. Crow Fair, the way I've been knowing it and continue to know it, has been about family and friends coming together. When the old ones can say to their children "let your kids go and play". Without any worries from the parents, children can ride their bikes and their horses and be back before grand entry. Where families from different parts of tha rez can come together and put up camps together, and have supper ready before invited guests and anticipated friends arrive. I could go on and on about Crow Fair, but I think you get the idea of it. You know, all the GOOT stuff of pow-wows. I guess what I'm tryin' ta say is even though the undertone seems to be "segregated", the point of it all is to strengthen the bond between friends and family. And the way I see it, if we could all jus' recognize each other as friends and forget old conflicts of tribes, then we might be able to be unified. But that might be askin' too much.

                Hey, we should ask the question of why we can be unified at DC, and "Gathering" and not for the forward movement of all Indians.
                lol sorry for blabbin' away
                Put me in tha rez with crazy N-Dens and I'll survive
                Put me in tha city with crazy Whites and I'll die

                Comment


                • #9
                  Being unified on specific occasions is truly a sight to see. I've been to many demonstrations, protests, roadblocks, takeovers (some peaceful, some not so peaceful) where our native rights are threatened. It didn't matter what nation. People came together for one common purpose - to help each other.

                  I can see this happening in the near future around the Great Lakes as the future of the lakes is at risk. It has already begun with a series of meetings. Look for this in the media and websites like this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by crow_reza
                    Oh....ok, ok. lol now I get it. Yeah, sorry but I don't think I know her, if she's an older women then I probably don't. (lol I'm probably related to her too)

                    Segregation of tha tribes during Crow Fair isn't meant to be that way (of course). You see, I grew up all my life with Crow Fair because it means so much to us Apsaalooke. So, it's kind of hard for me to see the segregation of tha tribes. If people look at Crow Fair as segregation then I'm sorry, it's not meant to be that way. Then again, I haven't seen anything like that, but if it's what people say then you can be the judge. Crow Fair, the way I've been knowing it and continue to know it, has been about family and friends coming together. When the old ones can say to their children "let your kids go and play". Without any worries from the parents, children can ride their bikes and their horses and be back before grand entry. Where families from different parts of tha rez can come together and put up camps together, and have supper ready before invited guests and anticipated friends arrive. I could go on and on about Crow Fair, but I think you get the idea of it. You know, all the GOOT stuff of pow-wows. I guess what I'm tryin' ta say is even though the undertone seems to be "segregated", the point of it all is to strengthen the bond between friends and family. And the way I see it, if we could all jus' recognize each other as friends and forget old conflicts of tribes, then we might be able to be unified. But that might be askin' too much.

                    Hey, we should ask the question of why we can be unified at DC, and "Gathering" and not for the forward movement of all Indians.
                    lol sorry for blabbin' away
                    One day I will go to the Crow Fair and enjoy what you've experienced. But, since the Crow Fair conflicts with my rez powwow in Fort Thompson, SD, I'll have to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by OLChemist
                      Further, should we conform to the dominant culture's unified "Indian" identity, are we not allowing them to reduce us for political gain? Do we not come one step closer to being defined and ultimately constrained by non-Indian conceptions of Indian identity? Already it is difficult to tell our history outside the framework of European contact and conflict. What happens when our children can't tell their tribal ways from pan-Indian ways?

                      Thanks for letting me prattle.
                      This is exactly what I was trying to get at in my original post - that tribal identiy and pride are what makes an Indian an Indian, but it is also what keeps "Indian" people from unifying. Some tribes do get together on certain issues - mainly gaming these days - but there is very seldom an all-out concerted effort to unify for a common cause.

                      Personally, I don't see this as a bad thing. Many do, and I know many Indian activists who will go to their graves frustrated, but I see individual identity as more important than the whole.

                      I just have to say I'm impressed by the number of educated, intelligent people who post on this site.
                      I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Singerdad
                        I just have to say I'm impressed by the number of educated, intelligent people who post on this site.
                        Agreed.. alot of good insights from good minds.

                        ~~~ Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. ~~~


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Growing up an urban ndn I just want to point out that blacks are not as unified as people (even blacks themselves ) like to think they are. Gang violence is a prime example of the epidemic of black on black crime. I would also like to point out that from every thing I have ever heard there has always been intertribal warfare on this continent. Ndn's have never been unified, to me it is a pipe dream to think that ndn unity could ever come to pass. Human nature is in direct opposition to ndn unity. There will always be envy and greed and pride and dishonesty in the ndn (and other races too ) community. These are all obstacles that we as humans (as well as ndns) face. America itself is not united, the whole premise of this country is to get rich and enjoy the good life. An underclass is needed to support the upper class. Who do you think the intended under class might be? We are worrying about the wrong issues.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Menomineegirl
                            Growing up an urban ndn I just want to point out that blacks are not as unified as people (even blacks themselves ) like to think they are. Gang violence is a prime example of the epidemic of black on black crime. I would also like to point out that from every thing I have ever heard there has always been intertribal warfare on this continent. Ndn's have never been unified, to me it is a pipe dream to think that ndn unity could ever come to pass. Human nature is in direct opposition to ndn unity. There will always be envy and greed and pride and dishonesty in the ndn (and other races too ) community. These are all obstacles that we as humans (as well as ndns) face. America itself is not united, the whole premise of this country is to get rich and enjoy the good life. An underclass is needed to support the upper class. Who do you think the intended under class might be? We are worrying about the wrong issues.
                            If I would've said that we are worrying about the wrong issues, I bet you that The Others (Blackbear, Coyote in the House and Snowbird) would've hounded me into submission until I became part of their collective, lol.
                            Last edited by quicksilverwade; 02-14-2005, 08:02 PM.

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                            • #15
                              a "revolution" could occur among ndns, but it's doubtful- one thing's for sure, we'll band together as soon as anyone from an outside race/group tries to put their 2 cents in - wish the trend could continue past that

                              i agree w/ a lot of what OLChemist brought up..........
                              and i think it's much harder for us to unify, considering all the government's done (and continues to do) in pitting us(tribes) against each other

                              it's all a hoax - the elite continue to exploit & make themselves richer while at the same time actively keeping our country's bottom 90% unorganized, subservient, and basically poor
                              No one can make you feel inferior w/o your consent-Eleanor Roosevelt

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