An Undocumented, Unofficial Indian

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-06-30 00:00Z by Steven

An Undocumented, Unofficial Indian

Indian Country Today Media Network
2014-09-06

Chris Bethmann

I remember a friend saying to me once, “Chris, you’re not a real Indian. And if you are, you’re the whitest Indian I know.”

At the time, I shrugged it off, thinking to myself that he just didn’t understand the complex world of Native American identity. Hell, I didn’t even understand it myself then, and I still don’t. It’s a topic that keeps coming up again and again throughout my life in conversations with random people, with friends, and with myself. I know that I’m not alone among Native people in feeling like I have one foot in each canoe—the “red” and the “white”—but at points in my life, the feeling has been undeniable.

Ever since I can remember I have been an Indian. I was raised in a normal American suburban community outside of Rochester, New York, a city that lies in the heart of Indian country even though most people who live there don’t know it. New York State is home to the Haudenosaunee, the great People of the Longhouse who played an essential role in 18th Century diplomacy and are even said to have inspired American democracy just as much as the Greeks, Romans, and the Enlightenment thinkers—at least, that’s what my grandparents told me…

… My grandmother and her siblings weren’t raised as Indians. They were raised as normal American children who were baptized, went to school, and grew up during the heyday of post-war America. They knew very little about being Mohawk, but were still on the receiving end of racial slurs every now and then. They were all “half-breed” children who were taught to never acknowledge the Indian half. My grandmother went on to marry into a German family and had six of her own children who were baptized, went to school, and grew up as typical American children. The boarding school had accomplished its goal for two generations…

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A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Posted in Anthropology, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-06-26 01:43Z by Steven

A Seminole Legend: The Life of Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

University Press of Florida
2001-11-30
208 pages
5.5 x 8.5
Hardcover ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2285-7

Betty Mae Tiger Jumper

Patsy West

With A Seminole Legend, Betty Mae Jumper joins the ranks of Native American women who are coming forward to tell their life experiences. This collaboration between Jumper and Patsy West, an ethnohistorian who contributes general tribal history, is a rare and authentic account of a pioneering Florida Seminole family. It will take its place in Seminole literature, historical and anthropological studies, Florida history, women’s history, and Native American studies.

Betty Mae Tiger was born in 1923 to a Seminole Indian mother and a French trapper father, a fair-skinned half-breed who was nearly put to death at age five by tribal medicine men. Her inspiring autobiography is the story of the most decorated member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida—a political activist, former nurse, and alligator wrestler, who today has her own web site.

Jumper is also a beloved story-teller, renowned for passing along tribal legends. In this book she describes her family’s early conversion to Christianity and discusses such topics as miscegenation, war and atrocities, the impact of encroaching settlement on traditional peoples, and the development of the Dania/Hollywood Reservation. She became the first formally educated Florida Seminole, attending a government boarding school in Cherokee, North Carolina, where at age 14 she learned to speak English.

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Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation on 2016-06-24 14:23Z by Steven

Indian allies and white antagonists: toward an alternative mestizaje on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies
Published online: 2015-10-05
DOI: 10.1080/17442222.2015.1094873

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Latin American Anthropology
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

San Nicolás Tolentino, Guerrero, Mexico, is a ‘mixed’ black-Indian agricultural community on the coastal belt of Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, the Costa Chica. This article examines local expressions of race in San Nicolás in relation to Mexico’s national ideology of mestizaje (race mixing), which excludes blackness but is foundational to Mexican racial identities. San Nicolás’s black-Indians are strongly nationalistic while expressing a collective or regional identity different from those of peoples they identify as Indians and as whites. Such collective expression produces an alternative model of mestizaje, here explored through local agrarian history and several village festivals. It is argued that this alternative model favors Indians and distances whites, thereby challenging dominant forms of Mexican mestizaje.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Optics of Interracial Sexuality in Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings and Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-06-23 19:45Z by Steven

The Optics of Interracial Sexuality in Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings and Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

College Literature
Volume 41, Number 1, Winter 2014
pages 119-148
DOI: 10.1353/lit.2014.0004

Jolie A. Sheffer, Associate Professor, English and American Culture Studies
Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

This essay focuses on the racial and sexual politics undergirding interracial relationships between men of color and white women. Alexie and Tomine’s works reveal how legal and cinematic histories of interracial romance continue to shape ethnic men’s sense of individual and community identity. An example of comparative ethnic-studies scholarship, this essay explores how minority subjects in the US are shaped by distinct racial logics. Alexie’s collection reflects the influence of the cinematic tropes of the Western and the history of US government attempts to weaken tribal ties on contemporary Native American male characters. Tomine’s graphic novel reveals the racial and sexual conventions of mainstream pornography and the individualist logic of the model minority myth on Asian-American men. Both authors suggest that queerness functions as an alternative ethical relation between parties, one grounded in equality rather than domination and relatively free of the visual logic of racialization.

Read the entire article here.

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New Yale award to honor high school juniors for community engagement

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-06-20 19:32Z by Steven

New Yale award to honor high school juniors for community engagement

Yale News
New Haven, Connecticut
2016-06-15


This photograph of Ebenezer Bassett is part of the collection in the Yale Library’s Department of Manuscripts and Archives.

Select high school juniors across the nation will be honored for their public service through the Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement, established by Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM). The first awards will be presented in the spring of 2017 to high school students in the Class of 2018.

The new award honors the legacy of influential educator, abolitionist, and public servant Ebenezer Bassett (1833-1908), the United States’ first African American diplomat.

“Ebenezer Bassett is an exemplar of so many qualities we seek to foster in all Yale students,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “He was a superb intellectual who used the fruits of his education to serve his fellow global citizens and contribute to a more unified world. We are proud to bring heightened awareness of his name and legacy to those who follow in his footsteps today — and particularly to do so by recognizing outstanding young people who are tomorrow’s college students.”.

Professor Stephen Pitti, director of the RITM Center, added: “The faculty in the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration established this award to honor emerging leaders who, like Ebenezer Bassett in the 19th century, bring under-recognized perspectives to the public sphere, think hard about our collective futures, work on behalf of others, and exemplify intelligence and courage.”

Born into a Native American (Schaghticoke) and African American family nearly 200 years ago, Bassett was the first black student admitted to the Connecticut Normal School (now Central Connecticut State University). He excelled there and at Yale, where he pursued courses in mathematics and classics in the 1850s. Bassett was a friend and supporter of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and served as principal of the Philadelphia Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney University). He was named consul general to Haiti (becoming the first African American ambassador) and as chargé d’affaires to the Dominican Republic, gaining a hemispheric understanding of racial politics. He also served as Haiti’s consul in New York City

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When Black Is Brown: The African Diaspora in Mexico

Posted in Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-06-11 21:56Z by Steven

When Black Is Brown: The African Diaspora in Mexico

The Museum of African American Art
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
Macy’s 3rd Floor
4005 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90008
2016-06-05 through 2016-09-18
Opening Reception: 2016-06-05, 14:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

WHERE BLACK IS BROWN: The African Diaspora In Mexico opens Sunday, June 5, 2016, with a public reception from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at The Museum of African American Art. The opening will feature a drumming procession of African and Azteca dancers and musicians, a dramatic performance, and a talk and tour by the exhibit’s curator, Dr. Toni-Mokjaetji Humber, Professor Emeritus, Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

WHERE BLACK IS BROWN is an innovative, multidimensional project that includes photographs, artifacts, and installations that document the African presence in Mexico from the Ancient Olmecs — Mother Culture of the Americas — through the colonial enslavement period, to contemporary Mexico. In addition to the visual components, Dr. Humber has incorporated educational programs and activities to compliment the exhibit. She will conduct middle and high school tours of the exhibit with activities for students to better understand the culture and historical contributions of African Mexicans.

“Recognition of an African root in the Mexican heritage, both ancient and modern, has been rendered invisible in the ideological consciousness of what it means to be Mexican,” Dr. Humber states. “This research will present a face of Mexico that has been hidden, denied, and disparaged, yet one that is vital to Mexican history and culture.”

The exhibit is designed to further the understanding of African influence and contributions in the Americas and to foster greater understanding among African American, Chicano/Latino, and Indigenous communities about their historical connections and their intermingled sangre (blood) that has produced beautiful and dynamic peoples of the Americas.

For more information, click here.

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Great Lakes Creoles A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750-1860 by Lucy Eldersveld Murphy (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-06-08 22:55Z by Steven

Great Lakes Creoles A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750-1860 by Lucy Eldersveld Murphy (review)

Ohio Valley History
Volume 16, Number 1, Spring 2016
pages 81-83

Margo Lambert, Assistant Professor of History
Blue Ash College, University of Cinicinnati

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy. Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750-1860. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 326 pp. 25 b/w illus. 6 maps. 7 tables. ISBN: 9781107052864 (cloth), $94.99; 9781107674745 (paper), $34.99

Lucy Murphy adroitly focuses her lens on the complex tale of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, a community peopled by Native Americans, French-Canadian fur traders, British soldiers, and eventually Americans (and even a few African Americans) after the American Revolution. Europeans first entered the native world slowly, inter-marrying and establishing a multi-ethnic Creole community only to face further change when Anglo-Americans took control and eventually became the community’s majority. For Native American historians (and others) looking for a deeper glimpse into this world, Murphy’s probing analysis of the mixed multitudes of one small fur-trading community delivers. And, if that were not enough, Murphy adds another layer to her study: she compares this borderland to that of the American Southwest after the Mexican-American War—where the community’s pioneers became the political minority—and to that of the Métis culture that developed on the western Canadian border in the late nineteenth-century—there probing why that culture developed a clear indigenous ancestry, whereas south of the border in the Great Lakes area a similar culture never arose.

Murphy begins in the 1750s, tracing the community’s transition from Native American Meskwaki village to fur-trade enclave. By the early nineteenth-century the Meskwakis had relocated, although some remained behind, having intertwined their lives with European-descended fur traders and borne them children. With the establishment of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the final showdown of the War of 1812, the United States government began to assert its control of the town. Government officials courted the Creole community they found there, recognizing Creole support would only aid United States’ control, legitimizing America’s domination and opening of the West to Anglo-American settlers. The most vital point, Murphy argues here, was that this courtship prompted the United States government to identify the Creole community as white.

Next, Murphy assesses the shifting political structure as Prairie du Chien came under United States’ control. Because of the region’s multi-ethnicity, U.S. officials—as a minority—had to tread carefully, identifying Creoles as white, evidenced by their voting and serving on juries. Native Americans were deliberately left out of this process, but even Creoles with Metis status and Metis wives still fell into the white political categorization. Murphy shows that Creoles exerted much agency politically in the early days, defending themselves against what they deemed inappropriate newcomer behaviors that did not mesh with their established ways. As American control solidified and relegated Creoles to minority status, the town’s Creoles managed to hold some strength within the new legal system, despite their mixed-race realities. However, the rising Anglo tide reduced Creole influence considerably by the 1830s. But Creoles’ “white status” labelled them to identify culturally rather than racially: as French, rather than Métis. Here was why most mixed Native American groups south of the border diverged from their northwestern neighbors in Canada.

Perhaps one of Murphy’s most striking contributions to Native American studies is her work on gender. The chapter “Public Mothers” describes a different gender world denied to Anglo women but open to the town’s Creoles. Many of the town’s Creole women managed to position themselves as cultural mediators, explaining Creole and Native ways to incoming Euro-Americans, especially via marriage, adoption, and traditional gender roles in areas of charity, hospitality, midwifery, and the like. Whereas Creole men were increasingly denied a political voice as American numbers rose, Creole women managed to meet on a middle ground with American women. They served as public mothers, Murphy asserts, mediating between the various ethnic groups and succeeding in connecting Creoles, Native Americans, African Americans, and Euro-Americans by shared women’s activities that aided both private and public spheres, the latter sought by traditional “female” activities noted above. Their mediation, Murphy argues, further solidified Creoles as “whites” in the…

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Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750–1860

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-06-08 15:17Z by Steven

Great Lakes Creoles: A French-Indian Community on the Northern Borderlands, Prairie du Chien, 1750–1860

Cambridge University Press
September 2014
326 pages
25 b/w illus. 6 maps 7 tables
236 x 157 x 22 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781107052864
Paperback ISBN: 9781107674745
eBook ISBN: 9781139990660

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, Professor of History
Ohio State University, Newark

A case study of one of America’s many multi-ethnic border communities, Great Lakes Creoles builds upon recent research on gender, race, ethnicity, and politics as it examines the ways that the old fur trade families experienced and responded to the colonialism of United States expansion. Lucy Murphy examines Indian history with attention to the pluralistic nature of American communities and the ways that power, gender, race, and ethnicity were contested and negotiated in them. She explores the role of women as mediators shaping key social, economic, and political systems, as well as the creation of civil political institutions and the ways that men of many backgrounds participated in and influenced them. Ultimately, The Great Lakes Creoles takes a careful look at Native people and their complex families as active members of an American community in the Great Lakes region.

  • Builds upon recent research in gender, race, ethnicity, and politics
  • Connects American Indian history with major historical themes
  • Examines Native people and their complex families as active members of an American community in the Great Lakes region

Table of Contents

  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. ‘The rightful owners of the soil’: colonization and land
  • 2. ‘To intermeddle in political affairs’: new institutions, elections, and lawmaking
  • 3. ‘Damned yankee court and jury’: more new institutions, keeping order and peace
  • 4. Public mothers: women, networks, and changing gender roles
  • 5. ‘A humble type of people’: economic adaptations
  • 6. Blanket claims and family clusters: autonomy, land, migration, and persistence
  • Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Index
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Does Race Matter in Latin America?

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-06-07 17:53Z by Steven

Does Race Matter in Latin America?

Foreign Affairs
Volume 94, Number 2 (March/April 2015)

Deborah J. Yashar, Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Princeton University

In 1992, the Nobel Committee awarded its Peace Prize to Rigoberta Menchú Tum, the daughter of poor Guatemalan peasants, for her work promoting indigenous rights. Her prize, momentous in its own right, highlighted a sea change in Latin American politics. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, prominent indigenous movements had emerged in countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico. As a result, Latin American countries undertook unprecedented reforms to address ethnic diversity: politicians amended national constitutions to recognize indigenous people, passed laws supporting bicultural education and affirmative action, and added questions about race and ethnicity to official censuses. Today, indigenous people not only are actively involved in politics but also have risen to leadership positions. Evo Morales, an indigenous Bolivian, has served as his country’s president since 2006. Ollanta Humala, an indigenous Peruvian, became Peru’s president in 2011.

Such a shift would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. Although Latin America boasts a rich and diverse citizenry—a legacy of powerful indigenous empires, colonialism, the African slave trade, and contemporary immigration-questions about ethnic difference were long suppressed. As part of the nation-building projects they undertook after winning independence, Latin American governments constructed twin myths of national unity and ethnic homogeneity, actively promoting racial mixing and erasing ethnic distinctions from official documents and from the national discourse. Meanwhile, the blurring of ethnic lines, sanctioned by governments, contributed to fluid understandings of race and identity. Whereas in the United States, anyone with mixed black and white heritage was historically considered black, Latin American societies developed various categories of racial identity based on skin color and cultural practices. A person might even identify as more than one ethnicity over the course of a single day-indigenous at home and mixed race at school, for example.

In stark contrast to the promise of ethnic inclusion, however, indigenous groups and people of African descent remained economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized well into the twentieth century. (Even today, black and indigenous populations lag behind their white counterparts by a variety of indicators, including rates of poverty and maternal and child mortality.) But partly because race and ethnicity had become so fluid, there was little tradition of identity politics in Latin American countries, and black and indigenous communities found it difficult to mobilize as a group in order to demand reforms. In addition, by midcentury, governments were papering over ethnic diversity by focusing instead on class divisions, shoring up support among the working class and the peasantry. Leaders and officials even began to replace the term “Indian” (used to refer to indigenous people) with the word “peasant.” Yet economic programs designed to assist the lower classes unintentionally strengthened many rural indigenous communities. And when these populist programs ultimately gave way to the free market, cutting off state support to those communities, indigenous groups mobilized for change…

Read the entire article here.

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Social-practice art challenges the status quo

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Native Americans/First Nation on 2016-06-04 21:25Z by Steven

Social-practice art challenges the status quo

The Winnipeg Free Press
2016-05-30

Alison Gillmor, Writer – Arts and Life


From KC Adams’ Perception series, 2014-15.

Adams’ portraits blend personal, political

Even if you don’t regularly visit art galleries, you probably saw some of KC Adams’ work in the weeks following the notorious Maclean’s magazine article that labelled WinnipegCanada’s most racist city.

Perception, a photographic series the visual artist started in 2014, was all over the place, challenging stereotypes about indigenous people from bus shelters, billboards, and across social media.

Using black-and-white photographic diptychs, Adams shot each of her subjects twice. In the first image, the faces are accompanied with ugly words such as “Squaw,” “Victim” and “Government Mooch.” In the second image, the subjects — usually looking much happier — offer up their own descriptions of themselves (“golfer,” “homeowner,” “taxpayer,” “father,” “mother,” “sundancer”). The two-part images are straight-up, immediate and effective.

Adams, who is of Cree, Ojibway, Scottish, and English descent, was thrilled to see the works on city streets, where average Winnipeggers might view them while waiting for a bus, grabbing some lunch or going to a Jets game. “(Perception) is not geared toward the art world,” Adams explains. “It’s geared toward the public.”…

Read the entire article here.

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