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Submissions are welcomed by REAL Native people who want to discuss some of the issues we talk about on here.
My question is for the author the psost from 4_27. Do you think that it is not possible for some tribes to be prejudiced in thier enrollment practices? I believe in a tribes right to determine it's membership but I do think that it can be prejudiced. I'm not talking about the Cherokee either. I would like to hear the opinions of others.
We did not state that there was no prejudice within any type of decision making processes. However, we are trying to provide awareness about the issues affecting connected and accepted Native people and Native communities which is why many of the issues discussed on this blog will provide information about that specific side of an issue.
We did not create this blog to state that there are no issues of racism, prejudice or discrimination within communities but rather to promote the fact that connected Native people can often have different viewpoints and experiences that also need to be discussed openly. There are numerous blogs on tumblr alone that discuss how being of mixed ancestry is difficult and the issues those people encounter, which is good, but we feel that other viewpoints need to be discussed at the same time.
Native communities are diverse and bringing up only the issues affecting people who are not connected or accepted is not promoting equal understanding of all of the issues affecting Native people.
People are so quick to judge and assume that Native people are oppressive for not allowing simply anyone to join their communities. An oppressed group is finally allowed to define identity in their own communities but yet we are the ones oppressing others by not accepting you?
There are too many biased opinions being circulated about Native identity and it’s relation to things like blood quantum and identity policing. A lot of Native people tend to notice that many of the people who so often speak out against the use of identity policing or blood quantum standards are people with very minimal ancestry, people who are unable to trace their ancestry and people who have been rejected from their own communities.
Do people not see an issue with that biased opinion? If you are not considered a member of your community or you don’t have the requirements to be considered a member of your community then of course you will not be rooting for the use of identity policing or blood quantum. You will be looking at it all as an outside who’s trying to get in.
If you qualify to be a member of your community then maybe there are some serious issues within your community that are holding you back from getting recognized. If you are connected to the community, the culture and the language, and you meet the ancestry requirements for the community you should now be disregarded or rejected.
On the other hand if you have neither of those things then why don’t you begin to look at why a community would feel the need to reject you or not accept you instead of imposing your opinions about your situation on others. If everyone continues looking at only the opinions about Native identity from one perspective then everyone will be continuing to oppress Native people who are connected and accepted in their communities.
There are often many cases of people with supposed Native American ancestry who tend to change their stories about specific ancestry. A lot of people notice these discrepancies and begin to question their identities and real ties to community.
There is nothing wrong with saying that you “have Native American ancestry (or an ancestor) but you and your family are not aware of the full history” or “research needs to still be done to determine information about my ancestry” or even “we just don’t know all of the details yet”. Saying things like that are admirable and respectful. It’s honest.
It’s not good to make up elaborate stories or to try and piece together information on your own. Even if the historical information is difficult to find it does not mean that stories need to be created within a family to validate ancestry.
A lot of people also just make assumptions about their ancestry. They assume that because their one ancestor lived in a specific area that they must have come from the closest Nation. To do this erases not only your own history but the history of your ancestor’s people. Native people have been getting displaced for centuries and not all Natives living in one region necessarily originally came from that region.
There are many historical documents and oral stories that discuss mixing of Nations or the integration of entire groups into other communities. The history for each Nation and each family will always be unique. Assumptions shouldn’t be made about an individual or a Nation.
If you are able to respectfully say that you’re simply not aware of all of the details about the specific ancestry or ancestor it’s much more honest and positive. It means that you may be genuinely interested in learning about this ancestry and that you are not willing to infringe upon the rights and identity of Native people in this era. People may also be much more receptive to this, especially if you are attempting to approach communities that are more resistant to accepting outsiders.
if people do not want to read this blog, then that is understandable and it means you should not follow us.
This is the short and general version seeing as how this topic can be further discussed in many ways.
Prior to contact with Europeans Native American groups were always divided. They were often divided geographically or based on kinships. There were various groups that formed alliances with one another but the entire spectrum of Native Americans were not united. Each individual group had their own culture, their own language and their own viewpoints. Even within regional areas there were many groups that did not have identical or similar cultures.
This is why there was and there still is a divide in Native viewpoints. Even within larger alliances, such as some of the confederacies that are discussed in Native history, there were often differing viewpoints and special decision making processes had to be utilized to come to a conclusion or a final decision.
After contact occured with Europeans there was a further divide amongst not only Native identities but with the newcoming European identities. New identities, cultures and languages were imposed upon Native people. A generalized view of what Native culture, language and identity consisted of was made by many European settlers who were unable to understand and accept the differences between themselves and the Native population.
As colonization began Native people were often forced to rid themselves of any ties to their Native identity. They were forced to speak English, Spanish or French. They were forced to change their clothing, cut their hair, practice religions and relocate from their original territories. They became displaced and confused and many Nations, cultures and languages became extinct. Despite the overall goal of assimilation of Natives by many parties each individual Nations history became unique when colonization began. Not every Nation endured the same timeline, attempts at assimilation or relocation. Various Nations were exposed to contact centuries before other groups and some groups are still currently not in complete contact with the outside populations (such as some various groups in South America).
Defence mechanisms were often created by many Native Nations and individual Natives to provide safety to their families and communities. Some Nations and individuals hid the use of their cultural practices and the use of their languages. They often met secretly or had a system set up in order to keep utilizing these things without getting in trouble with the outside population. Others accepted assimilation and rid themselves of their culture and languages. Some people even hid in areas that were not easily accessible by groups who were unaware of the territory. Different defence mechanisms were created throughout “Indian country”.
Acts and laws were created by governing bodies to attempt to identity police Native communities. They were often created to eliminate Native groups and communities. They consisted of unfair regulations and practices. Native groups were often not given the opportunity to change these laws and acts. They were imposed by these governing bodies.
However, now Native communities have gained access to control who is and isn’t a member of their community. They are allowed to choose blood quantum standards and enrolment standards. They are now making these choices for themselves. While the initial process of identity policing was imposed by outside governing bodies Native communities are now taking those rights back and making these choices based on what would work best for each individual community. Native communities are slowly beginning to take control over policies that were once imposed on them.
We are not living in an era where all Native communities are currently being forced to have to deal with identity policies that don’t fit well within their own communities. Each community is setting their own standards which is why you will continue to see very differing viewpoints on what is entailed with Native identity. Many Native people are embracing this new right and are using it as a tool to distinguish who is or isn’t Native in their own viewpoints. This is why some groups require higher blood quantums while other groups may look more at the cultural involvement of the individual. Each individual Nation has it’s own unique policies and definitions of what it mean to be a Native person from that Nation.
This is part of the many reasons why Native identity has now become so important to Native communities. We have endured a long history of being minimized and oppressed. We still continue to deal with many continued assimilation attempts by current governing bodies. We are still oppressed and will still have to deal with discrimination and racism. We are still attempting to heal from things like boarding and residential schools. We are dealing with intergenerational trauma and various health and social issues. However, we are also slowly receiving rights that we have not been able to access in previous time periods. We are taking the rights we are given and adhering them to our own cultural beliefs and practices.
Native identity is now being able to be defined by Native people themselves. This is an important part of our history. It does also cause some issues because many Nations are at different eras or stages within their development. No two Nations will have identical viewpoints about how to define Native identity. However, it is still important to realize that despite all of our negative history in relation to outside governing bodies we are now slowly receiving rights. We are continuing to protect and use our cultures and languages. We are now entitled to choose whether we want to share our cultures and languages or keep them private amongst only our own Nation. We are now allowed to choose who can be a part of our communities. We are choosing these things on our own and we are discussing them amongst our own people.
There have been a large number of asks recently, asking the members of this blog to “judge” whether or not they themselves are Real Natives or not.
Stop getting hung up on the word Real. It is a play on the Native Americans Take Over meme. Believe it or not, we do have a sense of humour.
This blog is not here to validate you or not. The people who contribute to this blog are recognized and accepted in their Nations. Unlike the wider Tumblr community, we have not merely taken it on faith that we are who we claim to be. We have verified.
Contrary to popular opinion, we are not here to decide who is a Real Native and who is not. The purpose of this blog is to have these discussions. The kind of normal conversations you have with someone new you meet, where you ask one another where you are from, who your relations are, and so on.
All of us began our time on Tumblr accepting the claims of those who identified as Native. It has become very clear that there are people claiming false identities, and others who are exaggerating their connections. This would be quickly found out in person, so why should we not start asking questions online? How can we have discussions relevant to us as indigenous peoples if people who roleplay a Native identity get to monopolize the conversation?
We have never said that being an urban Native makes you a fake.
Nonetheless, if you message us with your particular situation and ask, “Am I a Real Native”, you are not going to get much of an answer, if any. You cannot get “cred” off the internet. Stop trying to find it.
Every single one of us has had to struggle with identity issues to some extent. This blog is being written by those who feel that their experiences as people who are intimately and currently connected to their Nations, are being ignored. We are not saying that there are no other valid experiences. We do not accept that everyone claiming to be Native on the internet is truthful. We do not accept being represented solely by those who are disconnected. We do not accept that wanting to speak for ourselves is oppressive.
Like any community, there are different approaches on this blog depending on who is contributing. We support one another in those different approaches because we recognize that we come from different perspectives and realities. We might call specific people out on this blog openly, but we will not be directing anonymous and abusive messages to people, saying that they are fakes. Nor do we support those who take it upon themselves to do this.
In short, if you want validation for your identity, you have to go to the places all the rest of us do for that. Off-line and personal.
This blog was created to give a voice to the people who felt unable to discuss their viewpoints on Native identity or Native issues online, especially on a site like tumblr. Too many accusations and assumptions were made because some people were not able to understand any other viewpoint that differed from their own.
There are users who access the account and users who contribute. They come from different Native groups and are all recognized members of their communities. They are Indigenous from this continent.
This blog is being used to get out the viewpoints and frustrations of Native people about things like identity. There were several issues discussed by Native people about the issues occurring on tumblr surrounding Native discussions. There was often a huge lack of participation from fully recognized members from specific Native communities.
We want to make posts so people realize that we are frustrated and that we don’t like many of the conversations that occur on things like tumblr. We want people to understand what identity means to Real Native people.
We use the term “Real Native” because it means that all of the users and contributors are currently and have always been accepted members of their specific Native communities. We have higher quantities of Native ancestry and we are still connected to our communities even if we all don’t live within the communities itself.
If people would like to minimize our viewpoints by stating that no one on tumblr has caused anyone else frustration then that further proves our point that Native opinions are often being dismissed or not heard.
Most Native communities do not just willingly accept Non-Natives or people with minimal Native ancestry into their communities. We want to show people that this is how it currently works. We want to share the truth with everyone. We are tired of people with minimal Native ancestry and no real ties to Native communities speaking over us. We are tired of being told that we need to accept people with minimal ancestry as Natives because they choose to identify as Native. We are tired of the misunderstanding by people who are unable to accept any other viewpoints but their own.
We are all living people who practice our cultures. We will question your identity because we are allowed to. We deserve respect. Each Nation has it’s own rules for identity policing that need to be respected. We are not all part of some Pan-Indian culture where everyone is easily accepted, we are part of an ethnic group with many different types of Nations. We are all individual and we do not support the idea that all people who identify as Native should be simply accepted as Native.
We will call out people on this blog because that will happen in Real Life in Real Native communities. We will question people. We will argue. We will make posts that can be seen as rude or that can be misunderstood. We are here to take our rights back. We are here to get our voices heard.
How do you feel about white people (on and off tumblr) calling out other white people who are appropriating various parts of native culture or using stereotypes of natives? Is it helpful to have more people adding to the conversation or do you think it's not their place?
We feel that sometimes it is necessary for White people to call out other White people when it comes to things like cultural appropriation. As long as it is done to inform and provide valuable information about the issues Native people have with cultural appropriation.
It should not be based around their own specific feelings or opinions but it should be used as a way to keep Native voices active and heard. Their viewpoints should be kept subordinate. They should not add their own biases or viewpoints into any discussion of an issue that affects a culture or group they do not belong to, but rather they should provide meaningful dialogue that they have witnessed.
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