Ruth, Your discussion regarding who is an American Indian is one that will continue to surface more and more, I believe. Intermarriage with non-Indians is an important part of this discussion, as is the issue of the increase in the number of Indian people living in urban areas. Cherokee scholar and demographer (UCLA) Russell Thornton has stated, "Intermarriage with non-Native Americans may continue to undermine the basis of the Native American population as a distinctive racial and cultural group . . . continued urbanization is likely not only to result in increased intermarriage as more and more Native Americans come in contact with non-Natives, but also to diminish further the identity of Native Americans as distinctive tribal peoples tied to specific geographical areas." (In CHANGING NUMBERS, CHANGING NEEDS, published by the National Research Council, 1996). Sociologist Eva Marie Garroutee, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, has written an interesting book (REAL INDIANS, published by the University of California Press, 2003) that explores the issues surrounding Indian identity. Also, anthropology professor at the University of Texas, Circe Sturm, has a book (BLOOD POLITICS ) which explores the racial perceptions and identity among members of the Cherokee Nation. These books address this controversial issue. Some, like Native scholar Taiaiake Alfred from Canada, have argued that Indian or Native people should not marry outside of their own tribal group. This may be more difficult as Indian people continue to move to urban areas.
Saturday, September 3, 2011 - 01:03