There's no easy answer to that question. I, too, resent the whole AKC registration feeling of the cards. But what are you gonna do? Here's my feeling. It's not about what you claim; it's about who claims you. "Race" is a pseudo-scientific fantasy, but Indian is not about race and never had been in the real world. It's about connection to a tribal community. The cards are one way of showing that (cards plural because there's the CDIB and then the tribal card). It's not the only way. When I was active in academia, I was concerned about the tendency to accept self-ID. It seemed and seems to me that if you are enrolled and somebody says you're not Indian, they should have to prove it. If you are not enrolled and you claim you are Indian, you should have to prove it. If you are a member of a community, it has leaders who can vouch for you. If you are not a member of a community, then all you have is proof of blood by standard genealogical methods. My personal opinion is that's absurd. If blood made you Indian, I could solve my problem understanding Cherokee verbs with a blood transfusion rather than having to ask for help. All culture is learned, not inherited. But that's just me. The reality is that academia tends to accept self-ID because they are thinking race, and when a question comes up they fall back on genealogy. That's why the Elizabeth Warren fiasco has come down the way it has.
Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 01:42