I'm 1/8 Native and 7/8 Black. I'm also enrolled member of my Nation, but I visually appear Black. My relatives are not very welcoming of me or my gram who is 1/2. I guess my question is "Is my blood-quantum so low that I shouldn't identify as Native?
Hi there! Thanks for writing in. 😊
Identity is a question that all of us have faced whether you’re aware of it or not, especially if you’re from different cultures. To make it even more complicated, Native’s have had to prove how Native we are as a result of colonialism. Blood-quantum laws came about so that the US government could hold back benefits like land or money from the sales of land.
In contrast, Black Americans had something called the ‘’One drop rule” – if you had one drop of black blood you were considered black. This was also done to exclude and segregate people.
Native identity also has the added barrier of lateral oppression – keeping each other down. These tactics were used to try and destroy our culture by Indian agents who moved onto reservations. Their master plan was to create dissension, competition, and jealousy amongst us by deliberately distributing food and resources only to some, ensuring there was not enough for all. What do you think happened next?
When you think about how you’re treated because of your race or ethnicity, remember where it came from. It came from a deep dark hole that was intended by some to destroy us. It was intentional. I was deliberate. And it has stuck with some, but it did not come from us.
Don’t let it stick with you. You’re ancestors are listening. They are listening to you. Talk to them, ask for their help and for the healing of your family, our communities, and people.
One of the hardest things to do is to wish for peace and happiness for those who have hurt us. See if you can find your power, growth, and freedom there.
Thanks for writing in. Take care.