Just for the sake of discussion, perhaps this once it would be as well to take a page from the colonizers? If you are not currently recognized as American and you want to be, you must make an application, learn the language, pass a citizenship exam, and so on. So, if you want to be recognized as (insert the community of your choice, ie-Comanche, Navajo, etc.) then you must make an application to the relevant tribal authorities, learn the language and history of your community, perhaps participate in coming of age ceremonies and so on that you missed by not growing up there. I realize this process could take years, but I don't see that as a problem, membership in any community is a long-term and ongoing process. Once these requirements are met, the applicant passes, let's call it a 'cultural competency' test. There could even be a residency requirement, or whatever each community feels is most important in defining themselves. At the end of this you have someone who has been involved in the process and the community for a significant period of time, who speaks the language, knows the history, understands the issues facing their community, who has shown dedication to and respect for their culture. Why should they not then be Indian? And if you can trace some Indian ancestor through Ancestry.com but are not willing to go through this process, congratulations. You have some Indian ancestry, but you yourself are not Indian.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 00:28