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Who's a Native American? It's complicated
Claiming Native American ancestry is one thing, but claiming tribal citizenship is another.
May 14th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Who's a Native American? It's complicated

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – The recent controversy over Massachusetts congressional candidate Elizabeth Warren's Native American ancestry, where the campaign of her opponent for a senate seat called for her to release documents claiming her Cherokee ancestry, has caused some to ask: What makes someone "legitimately" Native American? And who gets to make that determination?

"Fundamentally, it's the tribe’s right to determine who its citizens are and are not. If we don't know (whether someone is American Indian), we can ask the tribe," said Julia Good Fox, professor of American Indian Studies at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Good Fox furthermore points out that citizenship is distinct from ancestry. Tribes have the sovereign right to determine who is and isn't a citizen, just as France and the United States have their own rules about citizenship. Anyone can claim ancestry, but those who do so can't always claim citizenship, Good Fox said.

Determining who is and isn't a member of a tribe can be complicated, and the answers don’t always come in a binary form of "yes" or "no." Part of the reason such determinations can be controversial is because tribes' own rules for establishing membership can vary widely.

Many tribes use parentage as a means of defining membership. Known as "blood quantum," the practice defines tribal membership according to the degree of "pure blood" belonging to that tribe. For example, a person with one grandparent belonging to one tribe and three grandparents not belonging to that tribe would be considered to have a "blood quantum" of one-quarter.  The minimum amount of blood quantum required can be as little as one-thirty-second (equivalent to one great-great-great-grandparent) or as high as one-half (equivalent to one full-blooded tribal parent).

But it hasn't always been that way, says Renee Holt, a doctoral student at Washington State University who studies cultural studies and social thought in education. Her research of different traditional indigenous tribal practices indicates that most tribes did not use blood quantum as the primary determinant of who was a member and who was not. In the case of the Nez Perce tribe, of which Holt is a member, belonging to the tribe meant you spoke the language and followed cultural practices. One did not necessarily have to be of 100% Nez Perce blood to be part of the tribe – cultural affinity was considered more important.

As an example, Holt mentions her uncle, who was adopted as a boy by her great-grandmother and raised alongside her aunt. The uncle lived among the tribe throughout his life, spoke Nez Perce fluently, had a traditional tribal name, and participated in ceremonies and rituals. He was white – but his skin color didn't prevent him from being considered a member of the tribe. Upon his death, he was given a traditional funeral.

"I just thought that was amazing. How do you tell somebody like that that they're not Nez Perce?" asked Holt.

Good Fox said that using blood quantum as a criterion for tribal membership is a fairly recent concept.

"Blood quantum was imposed upon the tribes by the United States. We never had blood quantum a thousand years ago," said Good Fox, who is herself a member of the Pawnee tribe.

Some historians believe this was a way of diminishing the number of  "actual" Native Americans that the government would then be obligated to count when calculating federal money and land disbursed to the tribes.  Among some 19th and early 20th century politicians, there was also the hope that eventually, Native Americans would intermarry and assimilate with whites to the point that they would no longer have the power of a cohesive group – and would no longer have a right to land and monetary payments from the government.

"It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is just this of intermarriage, and the gradual fading out of the Indian blood; the whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears, they lose all of the traditions of the race; there is no longer any occasion to maintain the tribal relations, and there is then every reason why they shall go and take their place as white people do everywhere," said Anthony Higgins, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, in 1895 congressional testimony.

Many tribes began using blood quantum after the passage of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which allowed tribes to establish their own governments. But others continued to define membership in other ways- including by lineal descent (being able to prove that you had an ancestor listed as a member of that tribe, regardless of your actual percentage of tribal blood), residence on tribal lands, knowledge of tribal language and culture, or membership in a recognized clan.

It's an issue that Holt is personally invested in – being one-quarter Nez Perce,  she’s at the minimum threshold for membership in the Nez Perce tribe with which she is enrolled, according to current rules. Her children are also one-quarter Nez Perce, and if they marry someone outside the tribe, their children – Holt's grandchildren – would be unable to claim membership despite their connection to Nez Perce culture.

"If my children do not have family with a Nez Perce, I won’t have any Nez Perce grandchildren," Holt said. "And there’s a sadness there, there's a hopeless feeling that it's ending with me; it's going to end with them.  I tell my children, 'You must be with a Nez Perce'…When you start thinking like that, you're going crazy."

Good Fox said the popular perception of Native Americans is rooted in stereotypes – the idea that a "real Indian" looks and acts a certain way, and that anyone who doesn't conform to that image is somehow "less Indian."  But the truth is more diverse – different tribes can have different physical characteristics, and intermarriage among other ethnic groups mean that Native Americans often have a multiracial background.

"I think people still have this perception that all American Indians look like this image of Plains Indians from the 1800s," said Good Fox. "We don’t look like how we would have 200 years ago either, so to expect Indians to look the same (as they did then) makes no sense.

"There’s this ignorance about Native American citizenship," said Good Fox. "And what are we learning about American Indians grades K-12? It's all in past-tense, and we don’t get a sense of what an Indian today looks like. That can really be confusing to people."

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soundoff (419 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Do you make the same complaint about history books saying that Columbus discovered America? Why do we even celebrate Columbus Day? It's really insignificant.

    May 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • consequence

      well, for some Indians, it marked the beginning of their extinction, for others the end of human sacrifice, for still others the introduction of reading and writing and we cannot forget the horse. For some who formed alliances, it meant victory over their ancient enemies, for others it meant being vanquished. For the rest of the world, it made the Americas as part of the global experience and made great fortunes for Spain and Portugal and opportunities for most of Western Europe. All of this was incredibly significant and rose way beyond the impact of most human lives – Columbus was a singular figure in the march of history, far more than he ever thought and he was a very proud man.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Allen Bair

    By that logic, no human being is a native of anywhere other than Africa as we are all migrants out of that continent by ancestry tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years ago. Using the logic that no one is native to the Americas in order to justify discrimination and ethnic cleansing (which, let's face it, is what the 1800s treatment of Native Americans was) is abhorrent.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Keith

    My family have been here over 650 years, I am more American than you are. I am only saying that to make a point. Every family has a story, that story is all we are. When you discount others stories you are saying they are not as valueable as you are.

    May 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen Bair

      That would have put your ancestors' arrival at 1360 or thereabouts. The first Europeans landed in 1492, and then only in the Caribbean. The Native American migrations occurred thousands of years prior. To what migration are you referring?

      May 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        Oh, sorry bad math, I have Cree, Micmac, and Delaware Ancestors pre colonist America, my first European ancestors were Conquistadors, My first Northern European ancestors came to Jamestown and then returned with the Mayflower. I have had Ancestors on both sides of every major battle ever fought in America. I don't put any more value on one over the other, they are all a part of my story. Immigrants are the story of America and I feel fortunate that my family have found husbands and wives with almost every wave of immigration except the Asian ones. Perhaps my children will add them to our story.

        May 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ravelbas

    What happened to the one drop rule? At one point that was all that was required to determine race in this country. By that standard she would be considered full Cherokee.

    May 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TreadsLightly

    My Native American brothers and sisters,

    There is something very important that I would like to point out to you. I identify as black, but there have long been stories handed down in my family that several of my ancestors were Carib and Cherokee, that they had actually run to the black communities to flee persecution by whites. Because black people had also experienced a lot of racism and persecution, we understood and mostly welcomed Native Americans into our communities during those times.

    I often see where Native peoples denigrate black people claiming Indian ancestry, because you think all we want is your money for school or to get into your casinos. Although I am sure there are always bad apples in any group who would exploit, I also think it is a mistake to jump to conclusions. Doing so makes you just as prejudiced as the people who once persecuted you. I work hard for a living and neither want nor need any of your money. All I have is love in my heart for you, and empathy for the pain you have endured. I may not know the ancient traditions, but that does not make me any less a part of who my ancestors were. I feel their spirits looking down and protecting me all the time. In the same regard, I don't care about a piece of paper - because what is important is that *I* know who I am.

    May 16, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Next part.

      Amen brother, but this world is based off what is written on paper. Lets take the paper away someday and see how they react.

      June 13, 2012 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. JF

    Natives don't all look the same for sure. For sure they came from different ethnic lineages that intermingled over the millenia. But they most certainly did not resemble Europeans or Africans in any way before first contact.

    May 16, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • J wolf

      I am a light brown haired grey eyed 50 percent Mi'kmaq native American Indian . My family came down from Arcadia nova scota to Maine sometime around 1200 we think it could have been earlier. Long before the colonists landed the Vikings landed the are legends from the people of the land of the dawn about them. Hell the movie the last pathfinder is a legend of my tribe. On tribal lands in Arcadia there are Celtic markings dating back to 10,000 bc. Our people dealt with European fishermen centuries before the colonists came some stayed some went home with the cod fish they caught and salted.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • NDNntheCupboard

        Awesome. There are rare instances of Pure Dine (Navajo) who are born with Green or Blue eyes. Even blonde haired or red haired ones! Just an FYI for all. 🙂

        May 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      There has been a lot of messing around in this country. America is more like a blender than a land of immigrants from different countries. The outcome is closer to that of a smoothie than a toss salad.

      May 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PaulC

    I as much a Native American than a person born in Canada is a Native Canadian. This whole hemisphere has been populated by immigrants so that would mean very few people can claim to be a Native anything.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • NDNntheCupboard

      that's why I refer to myself as "Dine" (pronounced Dinay) or, if push comes to shove and i get weird looks, I say I'm "Aboriginal America" ...it suits me. you're right about "native" ,; too general and overstated...there are old stories of a band of our people moving north to Canada. I hear-tell, they still exist out there and speak a similar Athabaskan dialect as the Dine.

      May 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • NDNntheCupboard

        I like "First Nations'. See, people can change their views. 🙂

        June 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tallulah

    I am part Choctaw and have long wanted to contact the tribe for possible citizenship however I am buttermilk white skinned and have no physical proof of heritage. The proof my great grandmother and my grandmother had was destroyed along with the house when a massive oak tree fell in a major thunderstorm. All I have is the memories of their stories and my given native name, Tallulah which means leaping water. My name came about one wet Mississippi morning walking the old dirt road en route to "the old place" which was the old location of the family farm. I asked grandma to give me an Indian name she smiled and said wait and see what the great spirit tells me. Several minutes later I hopped over a particularly deep rain puddle in the rutted road, and so came my name. She was Tintan for she was very tan. I've passed along the stories and traditions to my own daughter and named her at birth for the name revealed to me shortly before she was born, Shadow Arrow. Perhaps with time a new name will reveal itself as mine own did with the simple leap over the water.

    May 16, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. SixDegrees

    The United States and pretty much all other countries grant citizenship to anyone, after a few basic tests are passed – mastery of the language in some cases, basic understanding of the country's legal structure and so forth. None require blood lineage percentages that I'm aware of. It seems silly to impose this on what are supposed to be sovereign nations; it should be up to them who to grant citizenship to.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
    • PaulC

      The U.S. does not require mastery of English for citizenship.
      Walk through Hialeah, FL, and tell me how many naturalized citizens have even a rudimentary (more than 3 words) command of English.

      May 16, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
      • pinball907

        They should. But the measure naming English as our official language was struck down years ago.

        May 18, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
      • manycatsonekid

        Actually, the move to have ANY official language (Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be GERMAN) was shot down by the very first Congress as counter to the diversity and openness our country is SUPPOSED to stand for.

        May 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      This is another example of outdated laws. As I know it, all the non-naturalized citizens living today are native Americans. Native American means you were born in America, speicifically USA in North America. We should revoke that law as the nation of "Native Americans" do not incorperate all the other native Americans that exist now (i.e. the white kid born and raised in Kentucky all his life).

      May 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rex

        Labels are only just that, a means of identifying a social group or ethnic community. I have heard reference to Native Americans, American Indians, and a host of derogatory terminology that just keeps stereotypes blooming. The terminology could be sufficient with American Indian. I, like most of the people of Indian descent, would much rather shift the focus to more pressing issues, i.e.: racist mascots, health education, and so forth. "Would a rose, by any other name, be less sweet smelling?"

        May 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • little horse

      This was another attempt by the govt. to wipe out Native Americans. After awhile, those who married out of their nation, would have children that did not "exsist" per the gov.t way.
      Another attempt was the 3rd type of genocide by taking all the children they(gov't) could and adopting them to "white" families. This did not work so well either...this was from the 1950's to 1980's.
      Many attempts. Not much success. They did succeed in destroying ancestoral land and conitnue to this day to disregard any burials if a development is wanted. They just box and bag and store our relations in warehouses.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • krb

      Just for information's sake, I lived in Israel and if I'm not mistaken to become a citizen there you either have to convert to Judaism or prove a certain percentage Jewish blood on your mother's side (I think it's 1/4).

      May 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • CoryJ

      I agree sovereign nations usually set their own standards for citizenship however, most sovereign nations don't have dual citizenship with the nation(s) surrounding them nor do their citizens receive payments from foreign nations as a standard. I believe First Naitons tribes (my preferred term for American Indians) should be able to set their own standards for citizenship but if they want to continue to have their citizens receive payments from the US government, the US government has a right to some sort of standard to determine First Nations citizenship. In other words, if a tribe has 5,000 citizens with tribal blood/cultural affinity/or whatever the criteria is for citizenship, it would not be fair to the US government for the tribe to grant citizenship to 500,000 random people and expect payments for all 500,000.

      June 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AGrey

    I'm of the opinion that culture is more important than genetics in this issue and I think a lot of the federally recognized tribes would take that stance as well if there weren't federally imposed blood quanta restrictions on them concerning benefits and so on.

    May 16, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Renee

    So true. For my friends who are not Native, this may help you understand. Yes, there are full-bloods not enrolled and 1/32nd bloods that are...it goes beyond that. Can you speak the language? Are you involved with the people and culture?....Etc. Yes, there is pressure for us to marry within the tribes to avoid extinction, but then many of us run into the problem that if we do, there's a good chance we'll be marrying a cousin...

    CNN has done all these race specials like Black, Latino, and Asian in America. It's high time for it to do a Native in America one and educate the people where the education system has failed. We are many nations...

    May 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • linda

      in response to Renee...we are like the flowers that existed before "first peoples". Our pollen and DNA has intermingled so many times we are genetically fused.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Consider that everyone born in the United States is a US Citizen. If we accept that there are two types of citizens in the US, then what is next. Basically, the law enables a person who is "Native American" to have the right to be President of the United States while keeping a dual citizenship with their "Native American" country which resides on US lands.

      "Native Americans" should not be allowed to hold presidency if naturalized citizens are not allowed especially since most aren't even dual citizenshiped.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Sorry–meant to write that we NO longer seek acceptance (when my children were young they wanted a connection to their Native American ancestry, but after a rather cool reception in North Carolina–on their own, each of my children said they no longer wished any association and no interest in the tribe. Where we go–luck goes and those who have known us are always blessed. If Native people continue to spurn where their blood lies and the vessel that blood resides in–they may throw away some of the very best of their ancestry and never know that–which is only fine for pride, not for power or for the People.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. DM

    I am part Choctaw. I like the term used in Canada"First Peoples" to avoid the "native" nonsense that is used often in this blog to "be in the face" of First Peoples. I would like to see that term catch on in the US, too.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • manycatsonekid

      I use the term "First Peoples" and keep getting told I'm being pretentious. Oh, well...

      May 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • CatBat

      Aboriginal Americans, perhaps?

      May 16, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        Actually I'm 43/128 native american–that's what my tribal ID card says. If you go to an actual Reservation most people will look at you like a crazy person if you say anything but "Indian" or "Native American". While I fully realize both of these terms are not historically accurate and possibly carry a stigma, but that is the terminonolgy we use. As a civilization we are getting to PC.

        May 16, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      We of Madagascar also call ourselves the "first people" and since all other people descended from the African female–we hold that. We don't care what others may call themselves or what it means to them–but I am of the first people and my known ancestry is African, Madagascan, Cherokee and European (in the order of what is important to Me)

      June 6, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Janice

    Very well said dude1.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Criolla

    Native Americans should be any person that has proven asncestors registered in 1700 , not people that invent themselves many times to get benefits, there is a group of blacks that claim being native americans to get permit to sell cigarretes, etc, and they did not looked zambos at all[ native and black],
    It is like veterans from the Vietnam War, now many want and lied about being one. The Federal Govermnent and the Nations have their own rules, and now those blacks forced a tribe to accept them. Wrong.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • J wolf

      Enough with the registry garbage don't you see brothers and sisters are you still blind? Once more they are dividing us with the " I'm more native than you" crap. For the record tribes with casinos don't share with other tribes. Most casinos are only 51 percent owned by The tribe. Bill Clinton killed the free college tuition and tax breaks with a rider on another bill back in the 90's. There are no special privileges that cover all natives. You dip wads prove your ignorance thinking there is. As my great grandfather told his son my grandfather who told my mom who told me. You are a proud Mi'kmaq (MicMac). You don't need some government or their puppets to tell you what your blood is.....RED POWER

      May 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • manycatsonekid

        It's that registry thing that gets to me, too. I know that my great-great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were FULL Cherokee and that at least one grandfather was half. The family kept marrying others with at least some claim to the heritage, but because we didn't keep "tribal", we don't seem to count. I would love to participate, but waiting for some council to count my drops of blood to tell me what I already know is unmitigated BS.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • krb

      I don't think we need to argue about this these days...just do a DNA fingerprint and if you have a good database to compare to you can trace partial ancestry back many generations. Scottish people can trace how much Viking blood they have (remember the Viking raids there over 1000 years ago?) and Jewish people returning to Israel from the Diaspora can sometimes even show which tribe they were from. So IF blood quantum really matters, there are ways to get the data instead of quarreling about if people have a certain lineage whether or not they look like it.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      There are blacks who can legitmately claim Native American blood. I tell you this now–anyone who denies the blood of their ancestors just to spite the vessel or because the person is black or white or not "native enough" if your true ancestry flows through them and you deny it–you and your tribe are CURSED. And will never prosper. Think about it–if your ancestor sings in the blood of a black and YOU deny it–you deny Spirit, not skin colors.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. Carl

    I'm a native American. It's not like me or any of my ancestors, going back a good many generations, were born and lived somewhere else. I'm not Indigenous, however. I might be 1/16 Blackfoot but you'd never know. I have great sympathy for the plight of the mixed race indigenous. Even if the United States were looking at the situation *at all*, it would be very difficult to approach. For the vast majority of Americans it's something that's not even on the stove, much less the back curner.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Allen Bair

    My grandfather and great-grandfather were Cherokee. As far as I know, they're not on any tribal rolls or lists, but they were Cherokee nonetheless. I am at least 1/16th Cherokee by blood and my children are at least 1/32nd. Maybe that doesn't matter as far as benefits and tribal citizenship, but it doesn't have to because I've never sought either. It's enough for me to know that this is an important part of my heritage. 1/16th and 1/32nd doesn't sound like a lot, but it was more than enough when the US government forced the removal of the Cherokee to what is now Oklahoma. I would have been forced to abandon my home and land as well and pray that my family and I survived the Trail of Tears. Am I Cherokee? Am I enough Cherokee? I think the Trail of Tears answered that question for everyone a long time ago.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  17. dude1

    I cannot believe the ignorance of the people in these comments who have said things like "It has nothing to do with belonging to some tribe that did not have the wherewithall to defend its lands 100+ years ago." Do you think you are funny? Do you think you are smart? You show your total ignorance and lack of compassion to a race of people who's infant's heads were often dashed against rocks by the U.S. Cavalry. How would you feel to see your own toddler run over and trampled to death by horses before your very eyes. What the hell is wrong with you? This was not some fictional movie. These events really happened, all because the white people, settlers, were not satisfied until the Native Americans (a name which you do not have the priveledge to call yourselves in the true sense of the word) were exterminated. If you think this stuff is some kind of joke, or that you sound cool getting up on your soap box and spouting off that anyone who was born in America is Native American, and that because of this, Indians have no reason to claim any injustice done to their ancestors who "couldn't defend themselves properly," and that that term has no meaning to the race of people who WERE HERE FIRST, then you are a champion of ignorance. Go ahead and seal the deal of your stupidity by saying one contradictory word about what I've said here. You would be better off to read some history, and educate yourself, and learn some compassion. Otherwise, there is no hope. of Native Americans still suffer from this kind of ignorance. So discouraging and sad.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dood

      Yeah but no one has escaped some form of genocide or slavery if you look back in history.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janice

      Oops, needed to reply here.

      Very well said. The ignorance is horrible. I am glad that I grew up in Canada and did study more First Nations history as my principal of my grade school was First Nations and possibly had the power to give us more Native content. Bet even then I think things were still white washed. I am white, no Native blood that I am aware of, but I am very interested in Native history/culture and seek it out whenever I get a chance. Music, literature, art, baskets... jewelry, museums.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      I agree with you on almost everything you wrote but I feel compelled to point out that "First People" is inaccurate not because it is a PC phrase but because the "first people" in the Americas were NOT native American blood. Archeological evidence exists that clearly shows people living here 13,000 yrs. ago who disappeared and were followed by Clovis people. A couple of thousand years after Clovis, Native Americans arrived here replacing the first and second Americans, making them the Third People.

      May 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      How do you think people who have native American blood feel when they are the wrong ethnic group or skin color so the tribes reject them? Blood is blood and ancestry is ancestry you may think people denounce tribes who did not fight enough for their land–but many who could make tribes strong and help to bring them back are denied and for that–most tribes will continue to suffer and not achieve success. Somewhere along the way, Native people got caught up in the white man's game of colors and superiority and forgot Spirit and as long as they continue to subscribe to that, for every step forward they will take 2 steps back.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  18. Solo

    It's not complicated. It's expensive to the American taxpayer. We're shelling out millions of dollars for the 85% unemployment rate at Indian (the proper term) reservations, allowing tax-free revenues at casinos and other Indian-owned businesses, paying full college tuition for Indian students, etc.

    No one is "Native" in this country. As a country evolves in time, so do the occupants. You should not get a check because you showed up in line a bit earlier.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • manycatsonekid

      Seriously? A "bit earlier"? Try about 30,000+ years earlier as opposed to 500 or so years. BIG difference to MY ancestors!

      May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Solo

        Your "ancestors" are expensive.

        May 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • manycatsonekid

        They might be "expensive", but the United States doesn't spend nearly as much on the First Peoples as they do for a few drones to bomb people off the map. The disparity in spending is astounding, but there are some idiots out there who think ONE dime spent on them is too much. Are you one of them?

        May 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • queenbee10

        Why should the American government spend ANY money on Native Americans–dependency and hand outs only breed more dependency–if you see how much money has been poured into Reservations–WHERE did the money go and who has it all now? Whites say Blacks must stand up on their own two feet–Native Americans must also–the only thing people get from a crutch are lame feet.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • kimdian

      I am only 43 but I did tell a boy about 9 yrs old that I am an Indian...Native American...Anishnabe...and he asked me honestly "If thats so then wheres your horse and bow and arrows?"

      May 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • kamanakapu

      Why have a word like 'native' then? More importantly, why have a word like 'american'? Why not use terms like scots, irish, welsh, english, etc., and do away with the use of 'american'?

      May 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ferris

      But our population is tiny and getting smaller:

      In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 0.8% of the U.S. population was of American Indian or Alaska Native descent.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • queenbee10

        There would be more to claim IF tribes would accept and have DNA testing done–but then, you might not like some of the people who you would find had the strongest DNA markers.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Criolla

      Would you prefer that land is returned to the tribes? It is being done in Okinawa, and other countries, land taken by the US is being returned.
      It nothing what the Federal spends on education, health, roads, etc , do you know that there were mines in some tribal lands that has caused cancer and loss of children for years and nobody had forced the companies to clean? That their mortality is worse that a 3th world country. The genocidie commited against them is great, Israel gets monet from Germany, why not the Federal Goverment is not giving more the Native Americans? Charity starts at home, Visit the reservations, see how they live, many no running water, jobs? where?

      May 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • j-son

      That may not be THE most idiotic thing I've ever read online, but it's up there...

      My daughters are both legitimately1/8 (great-grandfather is full-blood) card-carrying members of the Cherokee Nation on their mom's side. They, nor anyone else in the family gets ANY assistance or money for college or anything like that.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Time to provide a little context to your statement.

      #1 – The U.S. Government does not pay for college tuition for American Indian kids. That "cost" is covered by the Tribal Nations.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • walela

      The ignorance expressed in the comment area truly reflects poorly on what has been taught in our schools. People have an issue with revisionist history, but events in our past are not forgotten and should be told. We know what has happened to our peoples and we do not forget. Not that it is passed down to encourage a bias against anglos, but we need to remember how we came to be in the areas where we have "landed." I am proud to be Cherokee, I have heard the stories told by my great-grandfather on how our land was taken after the Trail of Tears. I know the names of the white people to took our land in Georgia before the Trail of Tears. We tried assimilation. We lived in the same homes, we went to church, created our own language, and our own government. It still was not enough when the white man discovered gold on our land. As a people we have a very strong sense of place. Our land is sacred to us as are our families. Do not disparage nor belittle us. We are a very proud ethnic group and we are smart enough to recognize comments from mental midgets when we see them.

      May 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nativist

      Solo,why do you think it is appropriate for the United States government to fail to uphold those contracts it has established with sovereign Indian tribes? In addition, do you think it would be appropriate to end those treaties that the United States has established with sovereign Indian tribes? (We can do that, if you want...)

      September 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  19. WB651

    Blood quantum is real, alive, and strickly enforced. Don't believe me? Try getting a share of the casino profits with blood quantum less than 1/4.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  20. marctheduck

    Gotta feel bad for Native Americans. After everything else now people want to politicize them to one side or the other. Sheesh!

    May 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Native Americans have been politicized one way or the other for the past 200+ years. Nothing new.

      June 6, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  21. WhoCares

    Native Americian = born within the United States. It has nothing to do with belonging to some tribe that did not have the wherewithall to defend its lands 100+ years ago.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • walela

      Really? Feel free to return to the place where your slack-jawed ancestors came from.

      May 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Fuyuko

    The problem with claiming unverifiable native ancestry is that it opens up a world of ethnic and social privilige, especially in academia (scholarships etc). Thus it is important to verify tribal affiliation to make sure that this is not exploited.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  23. NDNntheCupboard

    Anyone wanting to know how it is to live like a real indian....come spend the weekend at my house. I'll show you the world in a new perspective. Bring water and sun screen. really....reply genuinely. This invitation lasts only for today and is extended only through the weekend. You can help me dig my outhouse hole. 🙂

    May 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  24. DBZ

    Vegetta, how many Indian Casino's are in the U.S? IT'S OVER 9000!!!!

    May 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • chief

      i guess giving them the right to open casinos is a fair trade for taking their land, stripping them of their culture, taking their kids away from the, and killing about 6 million of them...... and where do they get the money to open the casinos....

      May 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Presto88

        Yep They are a conqured people...can we quit feeling sorry for them now? You can blame the white man all you want for the past, but the prediciment they find themselves in now is on them. Highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome in the US is on indian reservations..and yet all they can do is sit around and blame the white man for all of their troubles, and yet not lift a finger to help themselves....pathetic.

        May 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • manycatsonekid

        Presto, my guess is that you forgot their land is still occupied and the treaties are still in force that we take care of them as the reservations are not considered to be "United States" land. Europeans rounded them up and forced them into the equivalent of "concentration camps", providing them with the poisons that hurt them now. The alcoholism is fostered in part by the whole "duty free" thing whereby they kind of end up selling that same poison to make a living.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • queenbee10

        A lot of reservation land is routinely up for sale–you can google it. In many states, large swathes of land are sold for tax purposes or just to sell it–may non Native people own acres of land on Reservations–I even went to look at some property on a reservation–it has not been owned by Native people in over 20 years.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  25. NDNntheCupboard

    To all. Yes, prejudice and racism does exist and at time is cold and abrasive. Visit Flagstaff, Sedona, and Kingman, Arizona (just to name a few)...you'll see "indian" this and "indian" that...tourist walking around with feathers in their hair, driving SUVs hauling boats. An economic boom of sorts in these primarily "White" towns but 50 miles out... desolation, hunger, "beyond thunderdome" conditions...on Reservations. Its sad. Believe you me...i live here. 🙂

    May 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • phyllis

      I call Sedona Hippie Vegas because that is what it is. When I worked at the Canyon, I saw a lot of ignorance about Native Culture. People would want to go on the reservations (mainly Diné, sometimes Hopi) and I would feel obligated to tell them about the poverty. I knew, through experience, that they were thinking that they would see what they saw in movies not what they would see. ) Though I would have loved to have spent more time on the reservation getting to know people and photographing it all because I fell in love with the land and the people. Through the people I met I could see unconscious traits that were passed down in my family.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • NDNntheCupboard

        Nice. Well, we're still here. Always will be. I am the red rocks, the high plains, the burning sun, the cool wind,... I am.

        June 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  26. guswhenta

    Artifacts discovered in the western portion of Canada and rediscovered in Europe lately were identically the same .When carbon dated the artifacts found in Canada pre-dated the European artifacts by 10,000 years .Quit using bad science to say Native Americans were immigrants. And in our history we were not just confined to North America. We are Nations who recognized the United States right ot exist and share freedom to the people that understood the contracts called treaties. You never conquered anything and any of these bogus contentions are just Ludicrous, Honor your words and make your corrupt system correct itself.I will hold tight to my traditions and my wampum Thank You

    May 15, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • LeslieW

      There are four main mtDNA Haplogroups A,B,C,D, which belong to Native Americans. There is a fifth, X, which may have been a reverse travel route. X is found in Europe, and in the Americas.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • skywoman

      😀 LELELELE

      June 4, 2012 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  27. kamanakapu

    How about a DNA search?

    May 15, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • JOSE A. GARZA

      ?? I GUESS I COULD DO THAT ?? I KNOW THAT MY GRANDMOTHERS FAMILY HAS BEEN TRACED BACK TO 1610 IN THIS AREA OF SOUTH TEXAS !!

      May 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Sky Chief

    I like getting my reparation check every year.....it's like having another Christmas.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  29. GaryS

    Unfortunately it seems that with time the Native Americans will disappear going by blood

    May 15, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  30. kamanakapu

    Natives are descendants of they who were first to settle the land. All others are invaders, intruders, interlopers, infiltrators, etc., etc., etc.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Tio Franco

      Haters gonna hate. 🙂

      May 15, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Nunya

      "Natives are descendants of they who were first to settle the land. All others are invaders, intruders, interlopers, infiltrators, etc., etc., etc"

      In which case, the tribes that were displaced by Europeans in the last 500-600 years simply are the most recent round of one set of intruders being replaced by a new set of intruders, because they clearly weren't the *first* any more than the current ones are.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • kamanakapu

        Where is your proof that the 2nd set of settlers were not cousins of the 1st set of settlers? After all, they all came from Siberia.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Fleiter

    The problem with Elizabeth Warren's claim to be Cherokee is that she clearly did so to take advantage of Affirmative Action set asides that helped her advance her career. Doing so is nothing short of fraud. It's long been known that anyone can claim any background to take advantage of the drive for diversity. That's what she did, and it made her rich and successful. It's also reprehensible.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Kind of like Obama claiming to be American to run for prez...

      May 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Sarah

    Do your genealogy. It takes work and time, but if it is worth it to you, then get to your local library, or sign up with a pro genealogist and find out. There are records, and there are people on reservations who remember family ties. get out there and do it.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  33. Sarah

    The whole thing about who is a Native American or not is a worthless word play. Native American is a generic name and means little since there is no tribe of 'Native Americans', rather there are 557 federally recognized individual tribes, and membership of any of THOSE groups is regulated. Someone who is Lakota will not want to be called Crow, and a Hopi does not want to be Navajo in the same way that someone who is English doesn't want to be called French. Each tribe is a sovereign nation and 'Native American' is a sweeping generalization... which is why people who understand entirely that it means people come from tribes, abuse the term to mean "I was born here too and I don't want to lose any advantage someone else may have".
    But to say 'I'm Native American because I was born here" denies the existence of cultures that are hundreds or thousands of years old, and implies these cultures are without value. So CLEARLY this is a misleading statement from folks with some apparent grudge. To those people who are scared that Indians may get rich from casinos (there are very few Native American casinos making the kinds of money you think they are – casinos are NOT the new buffalo) or who don’t like Indians getting free healthcare (they don’t – they pay taxes like everyone else if they can get a job on a rez with 78%+ unemployment, and in any case if you had to rely in IHS hospitals for your kids well-being and health, you might not feel quite as jealous of it) you should get out more. Come to the Northern Plains and see rez life for yourself. Come see the schools, the hospitals, the lack of infrastructure, the racism. But come see the vibrant cultures that remain, visit a powwow, learn something about connecting with the land. And decide if you really want, or have the right to take all that away by your artless use of language.

    The bare fact of the matter is that Elizabeth Warren never claimed to be a tribal member, she said she had Cherokee heritage. If you cannot understand the difference (or pretend not to) that is your problem, not hers. And making cheap political shots out of it is not the right thing to do.
    People could get along if they concentrated on similarities not differences. And there are lots of similarities – we all want the best for our kids, we want comfortable homes, we need healthcare, healthy foods... See, we're not so different, its just that some of us have different family backgrounds, cultural stories, spiritual expectations and historical experiences, and some of us have had the US government try to wipe all that out as part of a land grab while others of us haven't.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Sorry but you are just parsing words when you say Elizabeth Warren never claimed to be a tribal member, just that she had "Cherokee heritage." That is probably what Warren was hoping for too.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        No Bill, I'm not. The whole point is that tribal enrollment is not open to everybody, but folks who are not tribal members do not have to deny their heritage. There were MANY people over the last century who suffered greatly at the hands of various US government policies who quit their own ties to a tribal group – trying to make sure their descendents did not have to suffer the racism they themselves lived through. No-one should have to deny their own heritage, denounce their relatives or pretend they are part of another race to make their lives more acceptable to others. And the difference between enrollment and heritage settles that problem. Now all we have to do is get people like you to understand. There really is little advantage to being tribal outside of the deeply personal sense of place and culture and spirituality and belonging that comes with tribal membership, or heritage. Others (usually outsiders) want to place a monetary value on tribal membership, but they are wrong.

        May 15, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
      • manycatsonekid

        I claim my ancestry as a Cherokee, but don't maintain the tribal affiliation, although the blood quantum rules would allow me to do so. That doesn't make me less a Cherokee in terms of my heritage. So Warren's claim of ancestry is not that big a deal, no matter how stupid some want to get about it.

        May 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Logical Fallacy

        Bill: Not every "African American" is of African decent. So why do they all get to have "Roots", but Native Americans aren't allowed to acknowledge their ancestry and tribal heritage?

        May 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • queenbee10

        Logical Fallacy

        Bill: Not every "African American" is of African decent. So why do they all get to have "Roots", but Native Americans aren't allowed to acknowledge their ancestry and tribal heritage?

        What African American is not of African descent? Name one? And what of African Americans with Native American or European ancestry–they were NEVER allowed to claim it until white females started making biracial babies–and even then, they still had to (by law) claim to be black. You cannot name any African American that does not have African descent–in fact, you cannot claim any black that cannot be traced back to Africa.

        June 6, 2012 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • manycatsonekid

      Thank you, Sarah! I think Bill is jealous he can't claim such a rich heritage for himself.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Bob B

    She says she's 1/32 Cherokee, she's 100% American mutt like all of us. Science say's that modern man came from South Africa, so what does that make us all? I believe in Darwins belief in evolution. People of the earth have changed colors,shapes and sizes because of what part of the planet we are from and what we eat. What we believe in makes us from different tribes no matter where you live. The one sentence that makes some sense is (One did not necessarily have to be 100% Nez Perce blood to be part of the tribe-cultural affinity was more inportant). Yes it is complicated.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • LMNOP

      Early man walked away as modern man took control. Their minds were all the same. To conquer was their goal.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jennifer

    I hope you are not saying the murder of thousands of innocent people, including children was worth it?! You wouldn't be saying that if it they looked like you, or it was your ancestors.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  36. The_Mick

    I was born in America, my parents were born in America, and 3 of my four grandparents were born in America. As far as I'm concerned, that makes me a Native American. So what if my gene pool comes from Europe: the "Native Americans" gene pool comes from Asia. The ancestors of the so-called "Native Americans" came to America from Asia and there's some evidence that the language groups of the North American Indians stem from later ice-age Asian invasions that overran and displaced the original Asian groups who inhabited North America.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      So if The_Mick is right, argument solved people! All that counts is the last three generations of your family, and everybody can be judged by the same criteria? That means the argument about America not 'belonging' to original tribal people because they came across the land bridge is inconsequential. That means if your grandma says she is Indian, you are too. That means if you say you have German heritage because your grandparent was German, it doesn't matter if you have ANY other connection to Germany or not, you're German. And then maybe you have dual citizenship, right? And then we are back to the old argument about how much of a true patriot to the USA are you. Madness!!

      May 15, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
      • RocketJL

        I am an American, born and raised. My mother was Irish and my dad was Chinese. I can't rally claim any Indian money, but I say there is no one more American than I. I have fought in wars for her, at a great cost to my family. I would probably go again, if she calls me. If Indian tribes have set a criteria for who can claim membership to their tribe, I don't see a problem. We have tried to set some boundaries for our American tribe, but our president seems to favor illegal immigration. Good luck.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • kamanakapu

      Natives are the descendants of they who were first to settle the land. All others are intruders, invaders, interlopers, etc.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Patrick

        Ok... so who were the 'first' ?? Maybe a boat-full of people from Asia were the first, then all the others that came and formed different tribes were invaders just as the 'white man' thousands of years later. Where do you draw the line in time to say 'after this date, everyone else is not native' ?

        May 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drunk Mick

      lol no. Europeans themselves descend from Central Asian (and South Asian) lineages as they migrated westward towards the western part of Eurasia. Top that off with some African ancestry that journeyed into the Middle East (again Eurasia) and you have your modern "native" Europeans (Western Eurasians, really). LOL butthurt white people trying to claim Native status

      May 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Julie M

    My great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee. She traveled the "Trail of Tears" when she was a young teenager. In the 1940 census, her and her family are listed as "white". Many people don't realize that Cherokee's could be fair-skinned and have blue eyes. As long as they could get away with being white, they could get work. Survival at the time was more important than ancestry.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      If your great-grandmother was a teenager when she walked the Trail of Tears in the mid-1830s that would mean she was born about 1820. If true, I doubt she was included in the 1940 census.

      May 15, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
      • guest

        she may be speaking of the "2nd trail of tears" in oklahoma in the late 1800's...

        May 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Fair skinned and blue eyed Native indicated some European infiltration somewhere. Blue eyes are recessive to all people except Europeans to ever be recessive dominant someone had to have some European ancestry. Maybe someone in your family was a white person who went to live with the Indians at one time ....that did happen either willingly or kidnapped/adopted by a tribe.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  38. I have friends whose face is painted black

    does that count?

    May 15, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  39. Margaret

    My family came from two primary sources: one has been here for thousands of years, and I am very proud to have that heritage. I grew up hearing stories and with great respect for my ancestors. I am the first generation not to be born or live in traditional land. The other side came here in the 1600s. so that will, in a few years, be 500 years. I am very proud of that side, too. Both sides endured a lot and achieved a lot. Both sides are now "native american." But we all know that the term "native american" refers to specific etnic sets. It is no offence to use it in that manner. If it bothers people, use the wonderful Canadian term "first nations." I like that a lot.

    I think a lot of folks, in this era, are very interested in blood quantum simply because, making up for a history of exclusion and discrimination, they can now exclude the many people who suddenly want to call themselves "Indians," but whose ancestors weren't so interested in doing so. It is a kind of way of saying, "Take your games and play elsewhere. Let the people who suffered claim the name." Having said that, the heartbreak of losing the right to call your grandchildren members of the tribe is awful. There should be a way around that.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  40. dejahathoris

    What of the children forcibly taken from reservations and adopted out to white families? Their children know they are of Native American ancestry, but the tribes themselves don't wish to acknowledge them. This has happened in our family. We cannot even find out who our relatives are. An older relative of ours wishes to find word of his mother, but cannot, even though he knows where she lived, etc. The shame of denying these children their heritage BY the tribes is as bad as the shame of the white culture ripping them away.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • pandorashope

      It may be the adoptions laws that are blocking your attempts rather than the particular tribes I hope you are able to a least get tribe recognition if not specific information. Best wishes!

      May 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  41. scieng1

    Since Carter, it has been illegal to call yourself Native American if you are not listed on the government roles. The Dawes Act in the 1800's created those roles, and many Indians were not permitted to register–or refused to in fear of the government. Then, it was decided to use blood % to promote the ethnic role cleansing to eliminate the Indian status and government responsibilities. My ancestors were not permitted on the roles, but my cousin's ancestor was–so they got headrights, and my family didn't. Another case of regulation is more important than fact.

    May 15, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Excuse me, Scieng1, but it is not illegal to call your yourself native american if you are not on government rolls. My tribe (now called the Osage Nation) voted a few years back to include as citizens the descendants of all the folks that everyone KNEW were Osage, but whose ancestors hadn't registered for the rolls over 100 years ago, whether through fear or whatever. Prior to that, the tribe only recognized the descendants of the approx 2,200 who actually registered.

      The "law" is that each tribe or nation can determine its own criteria for membership. There is no central "government" list that determines the right to call oneself "native american," thankfully.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • jared

      We aren't on the rolls for this very reason. My great grandmother was full blood Cherokee, but she wanted to start over, didn’t register, and for the most part cut ties with the tribe.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  42. thedude

    What polittically-correct rubbish.

    We were first on the moon, does that mean we own it ???

    May 15, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  43. Seola

    No but people call Obama black, he's only 1/2. Some people claim they are black with 1/8th black, the whole point of the article is that the basis for it varies widely. If my great-great-great grandparents are German, does that mean I'm not because my great-great grandmother married an Irish man? No – I'm still part German.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • LeslieW

      Yes, but your German ancestors may not always have been German, and they may have come from another Country, so therefore, you would be part of whatever that Country is.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Kayla

    I lived in the Qualla – Cherokee NC, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, where the Cherokee once lived well and prospered. The Trail of Tears started there; ended there for many, and began the diaspora walk ending in Oklahoma for many. I am not Indian; not Cherokee, not formally Native American, but I am American through generations. My family was ousted from Israel, ousted from Spain, ousted from Poland and were exterminated in WW2 by other humans who looked to purify the white race. I am tired of listening to "who is full-blooded, half-blooded, quarter-blooded and one-thirty-second Indian-blood". By now, most Americans have every race in their "score-card". I do. my descendants will have white, red, yellow, and perhaps one day black blood mixing and flowing through their veins, and I don't see why, or care why, droplets of the red-stuff in our bodies should be divided up like that. We are who we are, products of this little blue planet, and perhaps, like others believe, we were planted here thousands of years ago by some other place who wanted to rid their planet of us ... our fighting, fear, crime – all the stuff that make up our history. Maybe we're all rejects. In Cherokee I saw signs "Domestic Violence is Not Our History". If it said it, it is there. We need to find peace, and it doesn't come in our differences, but in our sameness.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Beautifully said.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Saywhatyoumean

      Kayla that brought a tear to my eye, thank you. 🙂

      May 15, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • kerfluffle

      Right on.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • tessa

      I am 1/2 Cherokee and my family on my mothers side is listed on the dawes rolls. I am also French, Irish and English. I call myself "an American!" In the next 15 years or so, Hispanics will be the majority of the US population. It will be the first time that the white population will be the minority since they settled this land. We are a melting pot...which makes us who we are as Americans. Our History is what makes us who we are today and changing demographics means who we are may be different in the future. We will still be called "Americans" no matter our ancestry.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  45. chief

    for the cherokee, its about being on a roll written by the white man, kept by the white man, and used by the white man to herd them up to oklahoma.... i have read about 40 times on the us census where my heritage ended written as "he was taken by the white man in the spring and never seen again" thats eighteen thirty something.... god bless america

    May 15, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • chief

      and since i have no link to oklahoma or on a roll where they were herded up.... i'd might as well be irish... the indians hid, refused to sign anything for 2 reasons.... the whites broke 1500 of 1500 treaties and anything written in their behalf was something they couldnt read.......

      May 15, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
      • thedude

        To fully understand the necessity of the trail of tears, google "Ft. Mimms" and "Ft. Rosalie."

        May 15, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Charles

        This is actually to "the dudes" reply. The trail of tears was Cherokee, the incidents you referred to were not the Cherokees doing. The Cherokees were never at war with the US

        May 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lynn

        to THEDUDE;

        the Trail of Tears was "necessary" because then president Andrew Jackson wanted the Cherokees land for white settlers plus the gold that was discovered on it. It was fplain old-fashioned greed and nothing else.

        May 16, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
      • queenbee10

        People should stop acting like they do not understand part of the reason for the diaspora of the Cherokee nation. the "Trail of tears was a punishment but not only for rising up as Indians against the white man but also as punishment for fighting on the wrong side of the Civil war. You have two different Cherokee nation–one based in NC and one based in OK. The one in NC made recompense for having slaves or fighting in the confederacy. My great grandfather is on the Dawes roles– what is more he was given 40 acres and a mule in Georgia –so what does that mean? It meant my dad was 25% Cherokee and I was 1/12–and what does that mean? not a thing–but it does have a history for those of us who look.

        People want to negate the rapes and kids and mixing of blood of all the races and even Cherokee try to disown their past or negate it. My heritage shows strongly in my children who proclaim their blackness loudly –so loud in fact because in many ways they have never been allowed to claim their native American or European ancestry–even though they do not look black. Their mom does.

        June 6, 2012 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
    • kerfluffle

      My Native American ancestry commenced when a Scottish railroad worker met his wife out West, and when he brought her back to New Hampshire, her records all but ended, and his all but ended. And yet I have seen tin-types and early photos of her and have visited their gravesite in the Upper Valley of NH. The name 'Watters' does not appear to have any solid association with either heritage. It is both fascinating and in some ways, tragic.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  46. geneticist

    most americans have some native american dna.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Well I can say for sure that I don't. I'm actually willing to bet that most don't have any Native American ancestry.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
      • CherokeeBeauty

        I can prove my heritage and I have my Tsalagi information. My cousins were born in Oklahoma the Adairs but my Mills and Hesters did not sign over their land. My cousins and grandfather have their cards and Im working on mine.

        May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • karenvaughan

      It seems the first thing most of my European ancestors did was to marry Native, but then most of them came here early on. We don't qualify as any particular tribe but we have plenty of Indian DNA along with our European DNA.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • pandorashope

      DNA of course can show your ethnic background but not the cultural group you are assigned to. This can lead to a few surprises. Often we are not what we think we are as much of that information has been lost. I had a test, went to bed in one ethnic group, woke up for the most part in another. Then I had the misfortune of breaking the news to my family that their heritage included a genetic disease from a ethnic group they were not even aware they belonged too!

      May 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      NO they don't. A lot do–but often it is the legacy of rapes not of voluntary mixing. Same truth for European blood in most black African Americans.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  47. centeredpiece

    I agree – it's ridiculous to say Native American heritage is "complicated" when the person they are covering is 1/32 Cherokee. It might indeed BE a complicated issue, but 1/32 link is hardly sufficient in anyone's mind to give a credible claim to being Cherokee. Can you imagine the response if a conservative made the same claim?

    May 15, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Betty O.

      1/32 is the same heritage as the Tribal Chief of the Cherokee, Bill John Baker. It *is* enough, if you were *listed* before 1963, but not after. The contention point for Warren is that she was not registered before 1963, and since she was 12 at the time, probably had no idea she needed to. She didn't lie, she just didn't know the "Rules" and really, the Universities should be the ones under the magnifying glass for not doing *their* jobs in sufficient record checking. Any one can claim to be a Native American, but if the colleges are not checking this, they need to be held accountable.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  48. spud123

    Bias in the media???? Surely not.

    May 15, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • self interest

      the fact that you think the media would be bias free is funny all by itself, that is like assuming a congressmen does not take kick backs

      May 15, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  49. Bill

    If you were born in United States you are a Native American. You are native to the country that you are born in.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
    • 13directors

      You know that's not what we're talking about. I mean, come on.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
      • JusDav

        well, 13.... it is what they are talking about. they may all be "American Indians", but they are no more "native" than I am.
        I was born here just like they were. They are simply decedents of the FIRST IMMIGRANTS. nothing more, nothing less.
        I have no problem with the term American Indian, but "native"... no more so than anyone else born here.

        cheers
        JusDav

        May 15, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Bill

        I know. I am trying to start a new discussion. I just wanted to make the point that all Americans (born in America) can be considered Native Americans. America is a diverse society were everyone is equal. No one group of people should get any special treatment. We are not "BLANK"-Americans. We are all only Americans if born in the /United States.
        Diversity is self imposed segregation that creates racism.

        May 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

        Oh, give "Bill" a break. He cannot help his naivety. It is probably a product of his home schooling.

        May 15, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Acaraho

        To JusDave: Those who were born on Turtle Island but descended from non-American Indian lineage cannot call themselves Native Americans. It's a misnomer.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • MyTake

      very true.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • rose

      that statement is incorrect-Native Americans are a part of North America. That includes Canada & Mexico as well as USA-

      May 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
      • kamanakapu

        What were they BEFORE the european invasion? They certainly weren't indians! By the way, the europeans knew about the american continents long before 1492. But every time they tried to invade the land the natives drove them off. Than the white men acquired guns and it was with those treacherous and cowardly weapons that they succeeded in their invasion.

        May 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tlingit-Indian1976

      using that logic then Bill, anyone born in Mexico, or Canada, or even any country in South America...they're all American's too...after all, they were born on an American continent...

      May 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynn

      You could say the same for anyone born in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, etc...since they are all located on the american continent.

      May 16, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  50. Rodeo_Joe

    RWA people are uncomfortable with multicultural diversity. It's their way or no way.

    Americans are uncomfortable with knowledge that history will place them alongside Nazis for examples of Genocide.

    It's too late. Prayer will not change the historical record. People can change the future.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  51. Steve Thoner

    All I've heard the last few years is all about the poor Tibetiens. Actually just complaining monks wanting power back.You really never hear Tebetien citizens complain ? I completely forgot about the Native Americans. Where are they now and how are they doing ? Why don't we hear more about problems on this side of the planet ? I know this has nothing to do with the article.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • BFERGUS

      Steve, if you are interested in following the info and stories of the American Indian today see indiancountrynews.com. Relevant local, national, and international info on the Indigenous experience.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • because you don't hear about them?

      seems a low bar from which to decide importance, sort of the squeaky wheel gets the grease

      I think you're saying they need better lobbyists on 'K' street

      May 15, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • karenvaughan

      My son has been active in the Tibetan freedom movement and not only do you hear plenty of complaints against Chinese oppression, there have been a large number of self-immolations recently (people setting themselves on fire in protest). When the schooling language was changed from Tibetan to Chinese, the children protested vehemently. The Chinese are doing to the Tibetans exactly what the Anglo-Americans did to the Native Americans. I am descended from several Native tribes but my cultural connections have been lost due to cultural imperialism and racism.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Rodeo_Joe

    The "Blood Quantum" promotes ETHNOCIDE. Just another racist eugenic tool of a RWA Euro culture.

    Sovereign Nations need not keep it anymore. Wiki "Ethnocide" – another form of Genocide.

    May 15, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  53. Josh

    Remember that Keep America Beautiful ad campaign, where the "Indian" (Native American) cried when he saw litter?

    Remember that this "Indian" was played by an Italian actor, because the producers of the commercial thought that an Italian looked more like an "Indian" than any Native American.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Don't Spread Lies

      Josh....Don't spread lies about that ad...Here's the truth.....

      "On Earth Day, 1971, a PSA featuring Native American actor Chief Iron Eyes Cody and the tagline line, "People Start Pollution. People can stop it." aired for the first time. Iron Eyes Cody became synonymous with environmental concern and achieved lasting fame as, "The Crying Indian." The PSA won two Clio awards and the campaign was named one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th Century by Ad Age Magazine. In 1982, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Iron Eyes Cody, whose film repertoire included three Western films with President Ronald Reagan, with a star bearing his name on the Famous Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard."

      May 15, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Anthony

        Don't Spread Lies – Fact Check. "Chief Iron Eyes Cody" was born Espera Oscar de Corti, son of Antonio de Corti, and his mother was Francesca Salpietra imigrants from Sicily.

        He dubbed himself Iron Eyes Cody after getting work in the film business and was cast as an American Indian. Sicilians have a dark complexion, and the movie makers of his day considered him to be "Indian Looking" enough to play an Indian. He claimed Indian blood, and he obviously supported Indian rights. He was by all accounts an advocate and strong support of American Indian rights. However, ethnically he was Italian-American, more specifically, Sicilian on both sides of his family.

        May 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Thor

    If it is possible for someone to not be Native American like this "Nez Perce" situation, then, if my ancestors generations number into fifteen generations, born onto this North American way, doest that portend a "native" North American ?

    May 15, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
    • except that

      the indians that were here when Columbus arrived has been labeled 'native' american for generations

      May 15, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Native born is not indigenous. Playing games with semantics like you are sounds like a weak attempt to sweep a dark history under the rug.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  55. Paul

    I'm a Native American. I was born here, I am a product of America. My ancestors left their countries so long ago, that I would not be accepted as the product of their countries, and granted citizenship. This is where I belong. I am Native American... just not American Indian.

    May 15, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • 13directors

      Not just "Native" American Indian.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      You are not a Native American. You may be an American citizen but not Native American.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
      • I am

        you are trying hard to play with language, nice try but it wont go any further than this blog

        May 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  56. False Science

    There are no "Native Americans" no matter what the historical Government and the Media want to discuss; we're all immigrants here – just some arrived a bit earlier than others. The headline "Who is Native American" is as silly as asking "Who is White? or "Who is Black" – there =literally= is NO ANSWER to the question because the whole premise is patently false – the premise that there are "races" other than "human".

    May 15, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Now if only everyone else would realize that the only race that matters is the human race, and get over their racial and religious hatred, we could ALL get along! It's truly sad, how much some people will hold onto their hatred towards others, solely because they're different. Get over yourself already!!

      May 15, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Butt Buddy

      It's not REALLY complicated – it's not Eliz. Warren!

      May 15, 2012 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
    • C. Ray

      You are right. There are no indigenous people in the western hemisphere; all its people are immigrants. Indigenous does not mean having been born in a place or being the first people there. It means to have originated, as a people, in a place. And so far, the going theory is that all humans originated in Africa, and possible Asia, too.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Acaraho

        Mankind's origins are in dispute. We may be products of genetic manipulation by the star people. In that case, no one is "Native" to any place on this Earth.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
      • tin foil hats

        I think the Mayans were correct

        May 15, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • opionguru

      Well said! Not all who identify as belonging to a particular Religious or Cultural group hate as a general rule... but, OH PLEASE, get over yourselves already. Political Correctness is KILLING our country.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • H Manuel Montes

      Taking that to a logical conclusion, we are not even eath people, since, our DNA probably came from somewhere else.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  57. carol

    Unless your name is Sitting Bull Standing Up Yellow Hand: You will never be an American Indian with the Capitol In Wash DC, Casino Wampum and Reservation Home without electricity, water, heat and sewer!!!

    May 15, 2012 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
    • mslisac363

      Yes, the gov took our rights here in NC when SSS cards were issued... If light enough you were white, and if you had color labeled as Color... Later on the one of color were changed to being black... I have relatives who are Irish/Indian never had salves in the family back to 1500 but some where branded as black. Hazel eyes, blue eyes and white looking from the Irish side. (had to go as black so they could not vote...) Brown skined straight black hair ( black so they couldn't vote) We were able to get our state rights back, but not federal, because of our Isrish last names... But the gov. is paying for lots of Mexicans out on the UTAH reservations because they claim to be full Indian... Really? Double standard

      May 15, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
      • rose

        it is very possible to be native american indian from mexico- North American Indians come fromCanada, USA & Mexico which also includes Alaska-I'm from a rez in Canada (Six Nations) but live in NY. We are given dual citizenship as part of the Jay Treaty.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
      • LockandKey

        MsLisa, this happened to my family also. My great great Grandfather was Irish, he married an American Indian. In 1900 the Census said he was white, in 1910 Is said Mullato, and in 1920 it said he was Black. I guess the people saw what they wanted to see.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  58. Mary

    Many Native Americans either never lived on a reservation, spent some time on one, or left..
    People can have no idea who is or is not Native American..
    so it would behoove people to not go smarting off around their neighborhoods or among their friends disparaging the people..
    We are among you, and da** proud of who we are~!! You might find yourself in a embarrassing moment trying to take back something you said..~!

    May 15, 2012 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
    • LeslieW

      I don't know about other parts of the Country, and I don't know whether it is a socio-economic thing, but here in the East, in all my years ( and there are a lot of them), I have NEVER heard a disparaging word about Native Americans. Actually, I have heard only the opposite, along with statements over and over about the horrors of what this Country did to the Native American. I remember, a good number of years ago, when there was a phone and mail campaign against the head of the Metropolitan Museum here in New York, when he refused (he later reneged) to host an exhibition of artifacts from the Rockefeller Museum, in Israel, because politically, the museum was in "occupied territory". He was bombarded with letters stating that the Museum should divest itself of all Native artifacts, since they came from occupied territory, as well.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        I live in the Eastern US as well. We don't really have many Native Americans living here, so it makes sense that there is less racism. However, out west where there are many Indian reservations, it might be a different story. I am pretty sure that prejudice does exist in some areas.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  59. Mary

    The article forgot to mention the "Indian schools" that took native american children in and taught them to look, act and feel white.. Even changing their names to sound white..
    In my family it worked with some..They refused to acknowledge they were Native American.. Causing them to cut the tie and pretend they were not Indian.
    My Grandfather wanted to make sure I knew . Because his mother had denied her heritage.. Even though she married a half native american..She was adamant about denying her own heritage.. And tried to keep the whole thing quiet.. But she could not make all her family feel the same. Thankfully. And thankfully, times changed and towards the end of her life she realized she had been made to feel shame for something she should have felt pride in. She regained her pride.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • inachu

      I think there really should be a law that would state that if you. Have at least 25% of that certain race then you can claim leaglly to be that race. But i still think what we need to do is send certain govt officials who still. Try tto rip off american indians by sending in theive to steal legal paper work not just in jail but get them castraed. My grandfatheer is 25% american indian and i would love to marry an american indian.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
      • but there are nations with in nations

        because of treaties, there are many indian governments with in the US government, each with self determination, ie the right to set up a casino

        May 15, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Now, ironically, illegals come here and name their children with anglican names so they will better fit it.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
      • Lynn

        For hundreds of years immigrants/minorities have changed their names (plus other things) to try to fit in with and/or avoid perscution by the dominant culture. This is in not new or reserved only to the United State or this era.

        May 16, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  60. Tom

    Extremely well said. Unreal that the persecution and near extermination of Native Americans in the first 200 years of America weren't enough, people today actually STILL hate them? What is wrong with you that you can't feel sympathy. Are you that insecure in your life and as a person that you have no human dignity, so you can't stand anyone else having it? Sick.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  61. Epidi

    Well said and oh so true.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  62. Douglas Jay Boyd

    So much disrespect and animosity from both sides of whatever 'argument' you folks seem to be having. 'Native American', 'American Indian', 'First Nations', it's all the same. We're all people and not one of us deserves to be looked down on due to whatever heritage it is that we call our own.
    All the casino comments, the remarks about government checks, etc, just go to show how little knowledge there is about the culture that was damn near obliterated over desires for land and a few shiny rocks and metals. Think about how many hundreds of thousands of lives were taken. Think about how YOU would feel if another nation with incredibly advanced technology decided to come take this continent, decided to tell you that you were mistaken in thinking that you had a right to the home you'd made for yourself, decided to lie, cheat, and steal their way into 'ownership' of something that was never 'owned' by anyone previously.
    This American culture we have today is so blind to the atrocities committed in the name of government, in the name of God, and most commonly, in the name of greed, and most people are so caught up in keeping themselves entertained that they aren't even aware, much less care, about the fact that with each generation, we become more and more ignorant, less and less capable of comprehending what it is to be a part of something greater than ourselves. It's disgusting.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      Exactly! And it's shocking how few Americans seem to be aware of the magnitude of the crimes committed against Native Americans, but I guess that would be too inconvenient. After all, it would destroy the myth of "American history" that was so carefully constructed.

      May 15, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake Radulski

      Mr. Boyd, please sir, do not paint all of us with such a broad rush. I would say that more than 50% of the US population is aware of what has occurred in our history and has actively worked to make it better. I would go on to say that there are many like you state who don't give a damn. But there are many who don't even care for themselves! That is why it is better to have a balanced look at our population. For myself, I have supported St Labre school in Montana for over 30 years with donations of money and clothes. I do not have any American Indian heritage that I am aware of. I just have the ability to help so I do. And so do millions of others. The US is not perfect. We as a nation could be a whole better. But we are working on it. So please sir, I'm sure with a minimal amount of research on your part you can find positive actions that occurring as I write this note to you. US Army Nurse Corps Lieutenant Colonel(Retired)

      May 15, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
      • opionguru

        Here here! Well said Sir!

        May 15, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
      • Douglas Jay Boyd

        LTC Radulski,

        To some degree, you're right – to condemn an entire populace for lack of knowledge would be wrong and if you were offended by that, apologies. I can only speak from my own experience, one, sadly, that has shown me time and again ignorance regarding the extent to which this country trampled down those that came before. I genuinely hope your estimate is right and more than half the Americans here today understand what was lost in creating what we now have.
        I applaude your commitments and actions to help right the wrongs and wish there were more like you. The US is most definitely not perfect and the battle for equality is far from over; the most frustrating part for me is that with the attention given to each new issue, no matter now deserving, First Nations get left farther and farther behind. Yes, good things are happening. I just hope it doesn't take another 250 years for those good things to have the desired effect.

        May 15, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      OOPS! Sorry that our ancestors conquored your ancestors... uhm, no, not really! But if you speak as a victim, then live as a victim. The rest of us "Native Americans" are living the life of productivity rather than sulking about our ancestors' losses. Believe me, unless we are a direct descendant of European Royalty, we are all victims. It is just a matter of whether we want to continue to be a victim or not!

      May 15, 2012 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Douglas Jay Boyd

        You're welcome to point out where I advocated 'living as a victim', Thor. I thought that education and respect were what I was getting at, but if that wasn't the evident, let me clarify: Understanding and acknowledging what we've done to others doesn't exactly qualify as wallowing in self-pity, if you ask me. I'd hate to see us repeat past mistakes, as they proved extremely costly. Metakuye Oyasin

        May 15, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • marjee123

      Perfect example. The Koch Bros. How did they get almost half of the billions they made in the 1970's and 80's. They drilled for oil on the Indian reservations. They kept most of the money they made on this drilling and when the Indians complained they were made by the government to give them a pittance. No body held them responsible for it. How many other companies that no one found out about stole the oil from Indian land going back to the 1940's or so. The Indians have been treated like the ones who didn't belong here, when this land was theirs.

      May 15, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Acaraho

        Native Americans were to have the entire Montana Territory to themselves until gold and silver was discovered. Now it's called the "Treasure State" but the Crow, Flathead, Chippewa Cree, Northern Cheyenne, Blackfeet, and Sioux tribes live in abject poverty while corporate mining and oil drilling continue to this day.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      @NJBob, it's easy when schools would rather teach revisionist history, and religion as science.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
      • AGuest9

        Actually, I'm very curious to know what a typical school day is, anymore. The students don't seem to know much in the way of history, or science. Then, again, it seems that they are never reading novels, either. Their grammar is atrocious. They are behind every other industrialized country in math scores. WHAT do they DO at school all day, anymore? Before anyone tells me to go check one out, keep in mind that parents are locked out of schools, and must be "buzzed in" these days, and receive "permission" to be there. Last I knew, my tax dollars were paying for it.

        May 15, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • sharon

      and please do not forget about the 3rd type of genocide: the stealing of Native American children and putting them into
      "white" families so to assimilate them. This went on from the 1950's to the `1980's in a huge govt. push.
      But the kids and parents have or are finding their "stolen" families and past.Then they can live their future with pride.

      May 15, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      Everyone should read: "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong" by James Loewen.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • dakota2000

      To you point, I learned more about the depopulation of the americas after European contact at a museum in DC. Yes, the US government was telling people that European contact caused at least a 90%-95% kill rate among indians.
      It is not like we do not know.

      But, at the end of the day, the past is the past. What are we going to do today?

      June 8, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  63. PZ

    Two things involved: the way someone looks and his or her habits. How do we classify someone who has the appearance of someone from one group but lives like people who look different and comprise their own group? To what degree is someone whose ancestors lived in the Americas for millennia a Native American if he or she doesn't speak the language of those ancestors and adopts other "foreign" customs? Is race/ethnicity a matter of degree? If so, what determines one's degree of membership in a group? The right color skin, the right color eyes, the right hair texture, speaking a certain language, eating certain foods, listening to certain kinds of music, practicing a certain religion? I think we're all missing the point: these categories have the capacity to undergo massive change like everything else. Nothing is set in stone. Humanity is constantly evolving. What good is it to bicker over group membership when I can access information about hundreds of foreign languages, watch music videos from Africa, go to the store and buy produce from South America, buy cellphones made in Asia, wear clothes from Europe? If I have enough money I can buy airfare to the other side of the world and have the experience of a lifetime. If I go to China and find a brand of shampoo that I like so much that I continue using it until I'm dead, then how Chinese do I become? .001%? Sounds fair.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      So culture has no relevance to you. So what. Just because you don't care about the customs and culture of your group doesn't mean someone else's is less valid.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  64. CatBat

    Thanks Sarah for the thoughtful words. No one "sprang up out of the ground" in North America, but there were people here long, long before Columbus arrived. There were also people in the UK long, long before Romans arrived. There were also people in Africa long, long before people arrived to the UK. This does not denigrate the cultures of anyone. People evolve, change - yes - but they also have interesting histories that no amount of racist, politically tax-motivated, or other "me first" opinions like to try to implant. Try to see the fascinating histories and amazing stories of how people have survived before you place judgement on what is real or "more real" that what you already believe.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • E. K. Billie

      Bravo Sara. Well said!

      May 15, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  65. Sarah

    Nope, that is not how it is. Look into how many Native American young men go to fight for their country. They have the highest per capita ratios of military service of any racial group, and that is because Native American people are tied to this land – their land as much as yours. And if you really want to know how ridiculous your comment is, why not look at the figures of foreign travel amongst Native American people. It is tiny. Most indigenous people are fighting to keep their families fed, not deciding where their next foreign vacation should be. Get educated if you want to make comment!

    May 15, 2012 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
    • or drinking themselves to ruin

      spend some time in north eastern N. Mexico

      May 15, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
      • NDNntheCupboard

        Alcohol was only introduced to Native Americans within the last few centuries. All other societies around the world had known alcohol for ages...taking that into consideration, you can see how this can be used a "weapon" against us. Once a proud society now has to contend with themselves, just like all other societies. Yes, there are drunks, just like there are crackheads and junkies outside of the reservations.

        Add cultural shock, joblessness, genocide, and oppressive heat to the mix and you've got fed up, broken, people. Not just drunk Indians in North Eastern New Mexico...keep going west through the WHOLE reservation...its a whole populus forced to live in this mess. But, thanks for noticing the drunks. They're probably my family members.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  66. raceisamyth

    Im 50% cherokee, 25% irish, and 25% african and 100% native american...because i was born on american soil.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
    • gen81465

      Agreed on that part about being 100% native American; I was also born in this country. Those who claim to be "Native American" (of which I am also a part) have no more real claim to be "native" than anyone else. They migrated here from other parts of the world, just as everyone's ancestors did at some point.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        So what you're really saying is that you're native African, since everyone's ancestors migrated from there? By that definition, if your mom was on vacation in Korea when you were born, you'd be Korean? What is wrong with you that you want to deny history? I assume you also think the holocaust wasn't real and Native Americans (those that are descended from people that were here 1000 years ago, not rubes like you) deserved the treatment they received at the hands of whites over the last 3 centuries+? You're really kind of sick, dude.

        May 15, 2012 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
      • gen81465

        Perhaps you should read before you write; it might help you to keep things accurate. I said I was "native American", but only to the extent that I was born in America. My ancestry varies among several ethnic groups. I don't consider myself African, because I don't know of any ancestors that came from that area; although it might be interesting to note that some of my ancestors did arrive in this country in chains, and were sold into slavery. The situation behind that is that they came from Scotland (debtor's prison) and were sold into slavery to a farmer in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1671. As for tribal heritage, my great-great grandmother was full blooded Passamaquoddy, from Maine. The full (as far as I know) heritage I have contains Scots, Irish, English, French, and Indian (that's what they used to be called). Now that we have that cleared up, perhaps we can clear up a few of your mental mistakes and other faux pas:

        1st: All ancestors did NOT come from Africa. If you were referring to the "cradle of civilization", that was in Asia. The "Africa" version comes from those who teach African Revisionist History which attempts to link and credit anything and everything positive to someone or something in Africa.

        2nd: I never mentioned the Holocaust, and I find it offensive that you would imply any such false statement about me. I have very close friends who lost family members in the Holocaust, and consider your attempt to defame anyone who disagrees with you to be rude, crass and a clear example of the low-brow type of person you must be.

        3rd: As mentioned in my heritage section, I "AM" one of those "Native Americans who descended from people who were here 1000 years ago". So based on this, if I'm a "rube" and a "sick person", you must be applying that term to anyone who is "Native American". You're really showing yourself to be a classy person (without the cl or the y).

        May 15, 2012 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
      • H Manuel Montes

        When was the last time Liz Warren went to a POWWOW?

        May 15, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  67. svann

    thats racist

    May 15, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Rodeo_Joe

      RWA people deride other ethnic cultures.
      RWA = Genocide & Ethnocide.
      Wiki has a "RWA" for those unaware of it's presence.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  68. Gary

    Well ain't you a funny little critter...

    May 15, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  69. Bill Duke

    There are no native Americans. Everyone come to this continent from elsewhere.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • twang

      DNA sez american indians came from mongolia

      May 15, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Groo

        Ironically the fossil record shows Caucasians were in Asia before asians were.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Gary

        Twang, DNA says no such thing. DNA and the land bridge theory have never been totally proven, there is enough ambiguity on either subject to either except or reject it depending on which side of the argument you are on.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
      • George

        Gary it sounds as though you are implying that Native Americans simply evolved in the Americas and immigrated from no other place ... if that is what you are implying that is rediculous.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
      • LeslieW

        No, they came from Asia, but not necessarily from Mongolia. Better read your history.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
      • paul

        Scientific evidence links indigenous Americans to Asian peoples, specifically eastern Siberian populations. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to North Asian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA.[

        May 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • NDNnthecupboard

        True. Most aboriginal american would deny that but it is in fact true. It happened long long ago.

        May 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • raceisamyth

      Right duke, they are called the first people, the American Indians, or they go by their tribe name. American Indians dont even like being called native american. The first peoples movement in the 1970s was called the American Indian movement, not the native american movement.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        Whats the option besides the land bridge? They magically grew up from the ground? Why dont u ask am American Indian how they got here?

        May 15, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
      • E. K. Billie

        We are not from India people, Columbus landed on the wrong continent! Get it right! We are many Nations and we have names for ourselves but even those were changed by the Europeans and Americans. If anything we should be called and consider ourselves American Indigenous.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
      • raceisamyth

        First people, principal people, or 7th tribe. And yes we migrated from asia. Cant you tell?

        May 15, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
      • rose

        personally, i prefer to be referred as Native American Indian-& proud of it:)

        May 15, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
      • unknown

        I don't know what tribe your from but nothings more annoying to be referred to as "Indian". INDIANS are from INDIA!!

        May 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  70. TDD

    You can do as much mental gymnastics as you like. Elizabeth Warren is not a Native American. This is ridiculous.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      What color a person looks like on the outside does not matter. The blood & bones can be radically different from coloration.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
      • LeslieW

        If you take DNA into consideration, you might have a whole different tack to argue. True, what you see on the outside, is not necessarily the whole story. I remember a newspaper article about a black professor who had his DNA tested, and it discovered that he had absolutely no African American DNA. He had the DNA of various other groups, including Native American, but his appearance was African American. Where do you draw the line? I'm not talking about proof of ancestry in order to gain a benefit, but rather to search for your deep ancestral roots. Today, people are more and more interested in finding out where that ancient history finds them.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • H Manuel Montes

      Agree

      May 15, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  71. Anthony

    I am American Indian, a proud dual citizen of the Tohono O'odham Nation (Arizona) and the United States of America. We are a sovereign Nation (one of 566 in this country) who just happens to share land with the US Government and sit in the state of Arizona. We have negotiated our own international treaties, and have our own international relationships with foreign governments. We are one of the largest tribes in the US, and according to American archeologists have been on this continent for no less than 10,000 years. Our religious symbols predate Christianity and our culture predates the European empires that created the United States. We exist today int the 10's of thousands with our language, our culture, our dances, our songs, our stories, and our traditions.

    You might as well go ask the citizens of the countries of Ireland, Italy, and Germany to give up their country, their language, their culture, and history to become American. Our Indian Nations have all of their rights in this country and internationally. For many of you this is all new, but these are facts.

    For some to say "move on" – become more American, assimilate. Frankly, that's been the problem the last 400+ years. We have been forced to assimilate, with little to no respect being paid to our ways. Why should we assimilate, because the U.S. Government systematically murdered and raped our ancestors to take their land? I don't think so. We would rather die today holding on to the ways of our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors than become assimilated into the dominant culture.

    Indian people have fought Genocide for 400+ years, and live today vibrantly with our culture and traditions in tact. Our numbers are finally growing again across all of North America, and we wouldn't be here if our grandparents had not made the same choice we Indians make today, to continue to fight for our ways and for our people.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      Right on!! Never surrender who you are as a people.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
      • sort of like that Johnny Cash song

        the song where he makes the car from many parts taken from his assembly line job over many years, that car had a very long name

        our ancestry very like includes lots of countries / continents

        May 15, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      Your ancestors were murdering and raping each other. The Us government just did to you what you were busy doing to each other.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Bill

        Are our people not raping, murdering, and stealing from each other?

        May 15, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        What a dumb comment. Educate yourself

        May 15, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
      • LeslieW

        I think you had better revisit that idea. The U.S. Government killed, rounded up, and raped Native people in large numbers.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Respect. Keeping your culture alive is a treasure for all people.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • H Manuel Montes

      You and your people have 100% of my support. In fact, when my wife and I were leaving the Grand Canyon a few years back, we stopped at a Navajo roadside jewelry shop and the people told my wife to stay because she looked as native as they did. Next vacation Cherokee NC.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
      • LeslieW

        And...here I am, of Eastern European Jewish background as far back as I have been able to track (1830s), and yet not only do I have certain Native American features, but my DNA is Native American. A long ago marriage, and conversion, I guess.

        May 15, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • rose

      Right on! Native American Indians come from Canada, USA & Mexico (including Alaska) & gives us dual citizenship -it's in the Jay Treaty.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  72. LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!

    LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!
    LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!
    LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!
    LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!
    LONG LIVE THE NANSEMONDS!!!!

    May 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Long live the Osmonds?

      Donnie and Marie would be excited, I don't know if they are native american, they are mormon, but they did stay at a holiday express last night

      May 15, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
      • NDNntheCupboard

        That is funny. ...especially the holiday inn part.

        June 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  73. SWG1

    The press is already building a cover story for their nominee – Elizabeth "Faux-cohantas" Warren.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      She is 1/32 Cherokee, the same amount as the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. You Repugs are looking for ANY excuse to be against her. If the best you can come up with is this, then you are standing on pretty weak ground.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        You mean like the weak 40 year old story liberals dredged up about Romney? Warren brought this on herself. She didn't need or get any help from the right to look stupid.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Tarrop

        That has been proven to not be the case...the records were reviewed and there was NO notation of any Cherokee blood in her background...

        May 15, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
      • spud123

        Your use of the word 'repugs' tells everyone here all they need to know about your political views. It pretty much invalidated anything you were trying to convey with your comment.

        May 15, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  74. Aaron

    Blood Quantum? Sounds like racism.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Wino

    I can trace my ancestry to 8 European countries... I guess this makes me an European MUTT.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • LeslieW

      Just about all of us are mutts, in case you didn't realize it.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  76. nf27

    I believe that First People means that they did a very efficient job of eliminating the people they found when they crossed the land bridge. And frankly, if the so-called native americans didn't suspect this they wouldn't fight research into the history of humans in the Americas so fiercely.

    May 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brit

      @nf27, if you look into the expansion of the human population on the globe, you will see that there wee no human on the american continents prior to the Native Americans crossing the land bridge (although there are some not-very-well-accepted theories about south pacific peoples crossing to southwest coast of south america). So when the humans migrated from Siberia/Mongolia area, they did not encounter any other humans that they had to run out. Search the web and you should be able to find a map with arrows of the migratory patterns that most scientists roughly explain the pattern that humans followed. Its pretty interesting.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Brian

        @Brit, there very well may have been others before the current Native Americans(Google Kennewick Man), and there is no certainty that the Native Americans were a monolithic group; some of them may have arrived earlier than others. Native American tribes fought strongly against research into Kennewick man; some say that this is because it could upset the current narrative of "First Peoples", as Kennewick Man showed some affinities with the Ainu, along with some Native American and even Caucasian features.

        Even within America, not all Native peoples were native to the lands that they occupied when Europeans arrived. The Navajo were from the Northwest, and the ancestors of the Navajo only recently moved to the American Southwest in historical terms (around 1400, so they only beat the Spanish by a little over 100 years); they are as much immigrants to that region as folks of European ancestry.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Brit

        yes, I agree there are many theories. My people, There is an Ojibwe writer from the late 1800s who wrote about many of the Ojibwe creation stories mirroring the Hebrew creation stories and at least at that time the prevailing Ojibwe beliefs were that there was at bare minimum significant contact between the tribes of isreal and Anishinabe people (who had ended up around Lake Superior from the north east atlantic coast). There was some belief that the Anishinabe had descended from on eof the list tribes of Isreal due to the wide and uncanny similarities discovered between the two cultures. This was over 100 years ago, but it is very interesting to read about, indeed. I will look into the additional information you post Brian. Thanks for sharing it.

        May 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  77. HenkV

    Since we're getting real picky about who is from where and what ancestors we have: all Native Americans are also Native Asians are also Native Africans, are therefore also African Americans.
    But, if that level of pigeonholing is not enough, I am also a pure white 6'6" African American.
    Isn't it time we stop the damned labeling? (Of course now I am an inpatient and rude pure white 6'6" African American, there we go again).

    May 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • musings

      Judging by your name, you are Afrikaner. Judging by the history of South Africa, you are probably not as pure white as you think you are.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • E. K. Billie

      LOFRIKKINGL. Well said... and if we continue that train of thought...WE'RE ALL AFRICANS! Your going to start a riot with that idea! LOL

      May 15, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  78. Fritz

    It's all a matter of semantics. My native land, the land of my nativity, the land where I was born, where my parents, my grandparents, and my granderparents for many generations were born is America. I may be Fritz, but I'm less than 1/4 German, but I'm 100% American. I can't claim to be a native of anywhere else, so I'm a native American (with a small "n"). What I am not is a descendant of the Original People, nor am I an Aborigeny, I'm not one of the people who were mistakenly called Indians. I have to be a native American, nothing else makes any sense. Can we stop with the racial silliness?

    May 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • musings

      In 1704, at the Deerfield Massacre, where my 6X great grandfather was killed fighting Native Americans (and the French who brought them there),several of my cousins were taken up to Canada, and of those, some were raised afterwards by First People or Native Americans. They were considered for tribal purposes to be Indians after that, and one famous one, the Unredeemed Captive, Miss Williams, never wanted to return to white society, even though her father and brothers tried to bring her home. If this were the only instance of this type of adoption, it would be unimportant. But it shows that the blood calculations of modern tribal groups probably have more to do with modern concepts of property ownership (white models at that) than they do with how Indians behaved before contact. They took other tribes' vanquished subjects as servants, although the condition did not necessarily remain permanent.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • peaches9405

        Loved that book, Red Heart....

        May 15, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • LeslieW

      I don't know that everyone here is being "racial". I think there is a great interest on the part of a lot of people today, to search for their roots, and look for their deep ancestry. I know I was one of them, and had DNA testing on myself and anyone else I could manage to get a swab from.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Fritzy

      I'm a Fritz too, but I'm 1/4 American Indian (on my mothers side) Maybe we're related!

      May 15, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  79. Science

    All our DNA is the same so that makes me Native Americans(give me some casino money).

    May 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Casino money, I'm a member of a federally recognized tribe that has a successful casino operation and I receive no benefits from it unless I live within it's service area. Ignorant rantings of a bigot is not becoming of you.

      May 15, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
    • krb

      If all our DNA were exactly the same then how can we prove identity and parentage by DNA fingerprinting? There are very specific alterations that are passed on and are traceable for many generations. I won't go into it here, but please check your science.

      May 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  80. sybaris

    I've worked in the genealogy field for several decades. Every year I'll have several customers claim native ancestry and it's almost always a great-great-great grandmother. In almost every instance the docu.ments and pictures I find tell a much different story.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  81. pjc722

    It's not whether or not she has ANY Native American blood in her, but whether she used this claim for educational gain by claiming to be a minority when she clearly is not one just by her immediate family and also the blood line back to the one person she claims was Native American. I think if she took advantage of a system put in place to help minority groups and she didn't need it... because she is clearly not a minority... than there is a problem in believing she is fully honest.

    As well, claiming she didn't know that HARVARD LAW SCHOOL was promoting her as a MINORITY faculty member is ridiculous coming from a LAWYER, whether or not she got the job based on it. It's NOT being a woman that is being called into question. Why can't politicians just answer honestly and battle the storm from there instead of just fanning it with more dumb lies

    May 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • HenkV

      In this day and age it is ALWAYS easy to claim to be part of a minority: just create your own. To my understanding there are now at least 300 million minorities in this country. In order to get extra attention however, there must be a lot of people in your minority. That of course automatically means you are no longer a minority. Doesn't your brain hurt thinking about this kind of 'label anything you can' stupidity?

      May 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  82. taz111111111

    People have been claiming to be Native American to receive special treatment for a long time. Once we do away with preferential treatment due to race, gender, etc., only then when everyone is deemed equal, can we move on to a better society where one is judged on their own merits and abilities. People say they want to look beyond race and color but seem to have problems doing so since everyone wants some sort of special treatment.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • 66Mike

      I have never seen the "speicail treatment" that you speak of. Born and raised Menominee but still wonder why anyone would purposely claim to be Indian without really being a part of the society. Just like everyone else there is a lot to love and a lot to be confused about.

      As for the "preferential treatment" that the original people recieve, that system was a business decision made by the federal government. It was easier and cheaper than actually buying the land. Probably saved some souls by not having to kill everyone.

      May 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • tgif1987

      My husband, who is 1/2 Muscogee Creek and 1/2 Osage, married his first wife back in the early 80s. The first thing she asked him after the wedding was, "So, what part of the month do you get your check?" "What check?" he asked her. "The check you get for being Indian." That still makes him laugh. I've been married to him for over 15 years, and I have never seen any indication that he's been given anything for being an "Indian." I've seen him racially profiled and detained on the campus of a major university for "looking suspicious" – a campus on which he studied for several years. I wouldn't really call that any type of "benefit," would you? His community is full of hard-working, family-oriented, productive people. I am honored to be able to call these people my family and friends. These "handouts" people keep claiming the tribes get are ludicrous, at best. And seriously, don't think for one minute that the tribes are the only ones benefitting from their gaming industry. The states and federal government are making money off these casinos; otherwise, don't you think they would have done everything in their power to stop them?

      May 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  83. me138

    If you were born here then you are native too here pretty simple really.

    May 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono

      This pretty much sums it up. Looking at it from the other direction, everyone in America can trace their heritage to another continent. Tribal people go back to China and Mongolia. There is no such thing as a "Native" American from that point of view. Either we all are who were born here, or none of us are.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Allan

        I've read that American Indians came from Siberia. I was working in Siberia. Really siberian people look very much like American Indians.

        May 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Well, by that line of thinking, everyone is African, then. And if there were no countries, Native Americans (ones descended from people that were here 1000 years ago, not you) hadn't been nearly exterminated, rounded up and put on reservations and if everyone got along and sang kumbaya, yes, your thinking would be just fine. But there are countries with borders, Native Americans treated horribly and are still suffering the effects of it on reservations to this day and based on the number of ignorant, racist remarks on this comment board there are a LOT of people that still hate them for no particular reason. So I'm thinking maybe you can cut them some slack with wanting to still have their own culture. What do you think?

        May 15, 2012 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  84. Brit

    You know, it is not really anyone else's place to judge anyone's feelings or perceptions about their history and ancestry. You can all say "my family has been here 500 year so we are native american," but you have no idea of the family histories of those people who's families were pulled from their mothers and put in boarding schools or that one ancestor who was so embarrassed to be Indian (yes we are okay with that word) that they did not pass down any traditions or culture or language. Judge as you may, but when you realize that young children were beaten for speaking their language, you don't have to think much harder to understand WHY they were embarrassed to be Indian. It's okay to be white and have your ancestors come from Europe (most of mine did) and it's okay to have blended ancestry (most of us do). But if you are spending your time worrying about why or why not Elizabeth Warren should consider herself Native American or not, you probably need to find something better to do with your time, like get a job or find a hobby.

    And lastly, it's funny that you ask "so we give free money...to anyone the tribe wants to let in?" LOL, the tribes make their own money. People who CHOOSE to gamble their money away and freely give their money to the tribes, and thus the tribal members. It's a free country, and if you are bad at math and don't understand odds, you can give your money away any day of the year. Nobody is giving free money to anyone. And no one gave anyone free land, except perhaps the Indians gave the white people some free land when they first got here. Get your facts straight before you post on the internet and make a fool of yourself.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ironic

      "You know, it is not really anyone else's place to judge anyone's feelings or perceptions about their history and ancestry. "

      Irony anyone? So, stop judging people's perceptions about other people's history and ancestry. You just made a judgment...

      In fact, I'm so sic of all this "don't judge," trash.

      We do it EVERY day, and rightfully so.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Dustin

    Who's African American? It's complicated...

    May 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Smako

    At least 1/4 blood is what most tribes recognize. Anybody can claim some fraction of lineage, but it doesn't make you a Native American any more than the white people who sell trinkets in reservation towns. If you want to get down to it, Hawaiian people are also Native American, they just got screwed when it comes to collecting benefits. A deeper cut goes to the people of Spanish heritage who had the border cross them. Some people will argue that the Cherokee share lineage with one of the lost tribes of Israel, DNA only shows a trace of evidence, but their lighter skin color and the resemblance of some of their religious ceremonies point that direction. That would give the Mormons credibility if it proved out, but the Mormophobes wouldn't stand for that.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  87. NorCalMojo

    This is ridiculous. People measuring "blood quantums" in 2012.

    They should have the same rights and privileges as any other US citizen. No more, no less.

    It's time to let go of the past, join the rest of the nation and move forward. The current policy is just perpetuating racial divisions that should have been abandoned last century.. Everyone wishes the Indians were treated better, but it's no excuse to keep race based castes around.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hooligan

      I am white and even 'I' don't agree with that, Suggesting the Natives need to get no more or no less then any other American what their homes were literally taken from them is just ridiculous. The opportunities to "make it big" in America were theirs FIRST and it was stripped from them due to racial segregation.

      Let them keep their casinos and try and gain SOMETHING back from all the hardship that has befallen them as a people and let them have a slice of the capitalistic system that had no interest in but was shoved down their throats.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mark

        One white hooligan to another, I agree, well put sir

        May 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  88. south4evr

    While waiting at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport for my son to return from Afghanistan, I met a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, full blooded Pueblo, in a wheel chair. He was waiting for his wife to come in from Colorado. We talked for over an hour and share some beer in the lounge. I asked him which term he preferred "Native American" or Indian. He proudly stated, "I am an Indian!"

    I Thanked him for his service to the country, for his sacrefice; he is a Purple Heart reciepient and as I am compelled to do with all Vietnam Vets, I welcomed him home.!

    My family came the America in 1623 and according to my Indian friend, I AM A NATIVE AMERICAN!

    BTW, he enthusiastically welcomed my son, the U.S. Army Sergeant, home from Afghanistan!!

    May 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna T

      It's all in the heart if we want it to be. I think larger .....we are all of this one planet...
      Thank you to bother men for their service to our country. and all others...too!

      May 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insmalle

      Real Indians are awesome – the best of the best. Fake indians like ms. 1.32 or whatever that swine claimed are the worst. The crimes against the Native Americans never end it seems, and any person of conscience cannot support this liar from harvard.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • H Manuel Montes

      Thank you and all the people who serve.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  89. marctheduck

    Every liberal I ever met claims to be "part Native American". Wonder if the real Native Americans want to come claim them?

    May 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • native americans are liberal?

      since they as a group pre-date political US parties, I am guessing their interest is different than liberal conservative

      May 15, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  90. i_know_everything

    Romney thinks he is

    May 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen06

      He does?

      May 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • he thinks?

        or is that just what he does today, when the actual campaign starts he will wipe the etch a sketch of himself clean and go a different direction

        May 15, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  91. cacique

    Looks, speking a Native American language, having parents that declare to be Native Americans, if you state that you're a Native American, and your birth certificate further states your ethnicity you a Native-American. But if you're member of a tribe and if all of them say that you're a Native American then no body should ask, your word ought to be enough

    May 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Aaron

    the guy in the picture looks more Aboriginal from Australia than Native American... how about a new DNA test for Native status for our candidate in speculation, however, the Cherokee Nation does not recognize blood quantum in in order to enroll unlike every other tribe. All are different. The Sioux Nation only accepts 1/2 breeds or more. I'm 1/4 Tlingit and barely made it into my tribe but now receive full benefits. I like the idea of the Nez Perez tribe having to speak their language, which I never heard of, but it's good to take pride in our heritage and pass along traditions.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Aan yatkíu s·ani – Your native language is not very difficult. Sign up at the Museum of Natural Science.

      I only learned a few phrases from some Tlingit living in Washington on the Lummi Res

      Good luck learning your story, you are a Prince.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lummi Nation

        Keith, that's not true about enrolling in one Tribe when you have papers from Rez.

        May 17, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        I am not enrolled so I may have not understood exactly what my cousins did. They are living on a Reservation that does not belong to their tribal affiliation. Thanks for letting me know, I learn new things every day.

        May 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ????

      Be kind of hard to establish a criteria, since the white man murdered most of the American Indians. Complete tribes gone forever. And yes, I am a white man. Most of those that were not murdered died to white man disease, which the American Indian had no immunity to. Very sad point in American history.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Insmalle

      Any white person who would LIE about being Native American (and 1/32 AINT even close to enough, even if true) is simply raping the Indians again. These white devils will never stop – they want to kill the Natives one day and then when they think it will benefit them they claim to BE native american.....unreal that the white school marm would pretend to be Indian.

      God bless the Indians – the white man's hatred and crimes will never stop it seems...and the lies of the school marm from harvard are just the latest assault.

      May 15, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  93. twang

    So we give free money,free land and poaching rights to anyone the tribe wants to let in?

    May 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      No. We give them fair recompense in cash and land for what we stole from them through genocide and broken treaties. However, I object to native American practices of racial discrimination against those who have "less blood" than another. Recently, a tribe disenfranchised hundreds of people because they were Afro-Americans who had lived as members of the tribe the tribe for many decades. The solution is that ANYONE with a drop of Native blood is, by default, a member if s/he chooses to embrace their heritage. Rather than figuring out how to exclude members tribes should be working on how to include all of us that carry their "blood". Anything less is clearly racist, immoral, and unethical.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  94. jayjay

    My family has been in North America since the early 1600's That makes me a native as far as I'm concerned.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      My earliest English ancestor came to the Jamestown settlement went home and then returned on the Mayflower. My oldest Spanish ancestor came with the conquistadors.

      During the ensuing 600 plus years there have been a few American Indian Wives and Husbands mixed in. If a tribe was looking for linage I would sign up but really I am fine just being an American.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  95. griffbos

    Okay this story does nothing to answer the question is she or isn't she ? not that it should a reason to elect herand shame on Brown trying to make it an issue as it shouldn't be.......

    May 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josiah Tahlequah Oklahoma

      Nobody actually contacted the Court Clerk which in this case is in Logan County Oklahoma, they confirmed today that in 1892 RACE would not be listed on the Marriage License. I read another article that the New England Historical Society has retracted the original statement dated May 2nd 2012. For my money that says she is not what SHE claimed she was and used this claim to gain an advantage. Hmmmmmmmm

      May 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  96. greg

    basically scott is a jerk. This must be the new repo strategy make any democrate running prove race color creed and loyality. They think everyone signs loyalty pacs. Only for koch or norquest buster. Warren 2012

    May 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • groink-san

      Dude, it is YOUR CANDIDATE that opened Pandora's box. Don't go on blaming Scott for your candidate claiming to be something she isn't. If Scott claimed to be a former member of Menudo, I'd expect him to be treated exactly the same way.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • mavent

        Your ignorance is woeful. Please provide us with a citation showing where and how Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Native American. But that's the Republican Way these days- spout a lie, deny involvement.

        May 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • H Manuel Montes

        She was the one talking about high cheek bones and her grandmother, what a liar, plus she is a communist also. She believes that any money you make belongs to everyone else too. She is A-H

        May 15, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • groink-san

      @mavent – Is this a trick question? Ummmm.... her employment profile at Harvard?!??! Her actual admission that she put "native american" down so that she can meet new people? Need more?

      May 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  97. livingston

    It is really quite straightforward. If the a Native American tribe says you are a citizen of their tribe, then you are a citizen.It's no one's call but theirs.

    May 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • DarkMarcsun

      Which they can change at any time for any reason, including to grab a larger share of casino profits. Has happened more than once.

      May 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawk in Texas

      I have a great grandfather that is on the daws roll. and a grand father that is also on the rolls. but when i tried to claim my cherekee heritage they told me that they had stopped taking members into the tribe. so i am a cherokee desendant with no tribe.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        If you have your folks papers other tribes will take you. The Chickasaws will take members if you can show linage. They will add members that aren't qualified for a check or benefits.

        May 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Phil

    It's really not all that complicated. She lied, she got caught and she is trying to spin it. Actually pretty uncomplicated if you ask me.

    May 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stentor

      She didn't lie about anything Phil, she is from Oklahoma & has ancestors from the Cherokee tribe, that makes her of native-American ancestry.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • eldono

        No, I'm afraid not. Her tribal ancestry can trace its roots back to Asia, so she is not "native". There is no such thing as a "Native American". Everybody is from somewhere else, and we all go back to the 7 women in Africa.

        May 14, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • LeslieW

        Which seven women on Africa are you talking about?

        May 15, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      By the percentages, she's as Cherokee as the chief... the question here is why Scott Brown wants to focus on this instead of on his efforts to get millions of insured people back into the uninsured category.

      May 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bill Duke

        Because it proves she's a liar and will lie about anything to buy a vote.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  99. fay ruujin

    I was born here, therefore I AM A NATIVE AMERICAN. the rest of that heritage stuff is a pile of American Bison chips

    May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      You are your story and the story of your family, if you don't have a story you are lost.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • making it up as I go along

        no need to have a story, you can write it now

        May 15, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Keith

        I guess I don't understand your reply.

        May 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    If anyone is the American is The American Indian Hold up Mitt Romney father was born Mexico does make Mitt Romney a Mexican with American ancestry WHAT UP. IS THIS NOT TRUE THINK ABOUT

    May 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      ...what?

      May 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Romney's grandparents fled to Mexico because to escape persecution for continuing to practice polygamy which the Mormon Church decided to ban so Utah could become a state.

        May 15, 2012 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
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