Respecting and Celebrating Black Writing and Storytelling presented by Dr Anita Heiss

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania on 2015-07-01 17:37Z by Steven

Respecting and Celebrating Black Writing and Storytelling presented by Dr Anita Heiss

Flinders University
182 Victoria Square
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2015-07-09, 18:00-19:00 ACDT (Local Time)

Anita Heiss

A NAIDOC Week event co-hosted by Yunggorendi First Nations Centre with the School of Humanities and Creative Arts

Anita will address staff, students and members of the community for NAIDOC Week around this year’s theme: We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.

This seminar will discuss the ways in which Aboriginal authors across genres write about concepts of space, respect for place and connection to country, and why we should be celebrating this new Australian literature…

For more information, click here.

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How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States, Virginia on 2015-07-01 14:45Z by Steven

How a long-dead white supremacist still threatens the future of Virginia’s Indian tribes

The Washington Post

Joe Heim, Staff Writer

Walter A. Plecker’s goal as Virginia’s registrar of vital statistics was to ban race-mixing. He declared there were no true Indians left because of marriages with blacks. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Virginia’s Indian tribes have faced numerous obstacles in their decades-old quest for federal recognition. But one person has long stood in their way — and he’s been dead for 68 years.

Walter Plecker — a physician, eugenicist and avowed white supremacist — ran Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics with single-minded resolve over 34 years in the first half of the 20th century.

Though he died in 1947, Plecker’s shadow still lingers over the state, a vestige of a vicious era when racist practices were an integral part of government policy and Virginia officials ruthlessly enforced laws created to protect what they considered a master white race.

For Virginia’s Indians, the policies championed by Plecker threatened their very existence, nearly wiping out the tribes who greeted the country’s first English settlers and who claim Pocahontas as an ancestor. This month, the legacy of those laws could again help sabotage an effort by the Pamunkey people to become the state’s first federally recognized tribe.

Obsessed with the idea of white superiority, Plecker championed legislation that would codify the idea that people with one drop of “Negro” blood could not be classified as white. His efforts led the Virginia legislature to pass the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, a law that criminalized interracial marriage and also required that every birth in the state be recorded by race with the only options being “White” and “Colored.”

Plecker was proud of the law and his role in creating it. It was, he said, “the most perfect expression of the white ideal, and the most important eugenical effort that has been made in 4,000 years.

The act didn’t just make blacks in Virginia second-class citizens — it also erased any acknowledgment of Indians, whom Plecker claimed no longer truly existed in the commonwealth. With a stroke of a pen, Virginia was on a path to eliminating the identity of the Pamunkey, the Mattaponi, the Chickahominy, the Monacan, the Rappahannock, the Nansemond and the rest of Virginia’s tribes…

Read the entire article here.

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America’s largest multiracial group doesn’t think of itself that way

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-06-25 20:26Z by Steven

America’s largest multiracial group doesn’t think of itself that way


Jenée Desmond-Harris

People who have both white and Native American heritage make up America’s biggest multiracial group. But they’re the least likely to embrace the label.

This is one of the findings of a Pew Research Center study that took an incredibly detailed look at the lives of multiracial Americans. Pew did something unique to get this data: instead of studying only the people who checked off the “multiracial” box on the census, it looked at all the people who have reported having parents and grandparents of different racial backgrounds — a much bigger group…

Read the entire article here.

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The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2015-06-17 22:54Z by Steven

The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race

Johns Hopkins Univesity Press
August 2012
240 pages
1 halftone, 1 line drawing
Hardback ISBN: 9781421407005

Rebecca Anne Goetz, Associate Professor of History
New York University

In The Baptism of Early Virginia, Rebecca Anne Goetz examines the construction of race through the religious beliefs and practices of English Virginians. She finds the seventeenth century a critical time in the development and articulation of racial ideologies—ultimately in the idea of “hereditary heathenism,” the notion that Africans and Indians were incapable of genuine Christian conversion. In Virginia in particular, English settlers initially believed that native people would quickly become Christian and would form a vibrant partnership with English people. After vicious Anglo-Indian violence dashed those hopes, English Virginians used Christian rituals like marriage and baptism to exclude first Indians and then Africans from the privileges enjoyed by English Christians—including freedom.

Resistance to hereditary heathenism was not uncommon, however. Enslaved people and many Anglican ministers fought against planters’ racial ideologies, setting the stage for Christian abolitionism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Using court records, letters, and pamphlets, Goetz suggests new ways of approaching and understanding the deeply entwined relationship between Christianity and race in early America.

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On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-27 01:44Z by Steven

On The Cherokee Rose, Historical Fiction, and Silences in the Archives

Process: a blog for american history

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Martha S. Jones

Martha S. Jones is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan on the faculties in Afroamerican and African studies, history, and law. She is also a codirector of the university’s Program in Race, Law, and History. The author of the forthcoming Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), she is at work on a new book entitled “Riding the Atlantic World Circuit: Slavery and Law after the Haitian Revolution.” She is also an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

The Cherokee Rose, the debut novel by historian Tiya Miles, caught me in the middle of a longstanding argument. I had pre-ordered the book from its publisher John F. Blair, and so it arrived unexpectedly, as if unsummoned. It was March, a busy moment in the term. Still, I stole time that Saturday, reading it nearly cover-to-cover in one sitting. I left the last chapter until the next day, just to savor the experience. Miles is my colleague at the University of Michigan, and that hints at why I’d let my email pile up just to read a work of fiction. Generally, I’m the sort that lets a stack of books accumulate for later summer reading. But there was more. As I said, I was trying to settle an argument and thought The Cherokee Rose might help.

Many of us know Miles for her award-winning works of history: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family (University of California Press, 2006), The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), and Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (also coming from UNC Press this fall). Miles’ insight into the intimate dynamics of slavery at the crossroads of Native American and African American experience has won her professional accolades and an eager readership. In this sense, while The Cherokee Rose is fiction, it is no sharp departure. Miles builds upon what she had already taught us, including her exploration of Georgia’s Chief Vann House, to provide a new vantage point from which to explain the past…

Read the entire review here.

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That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia by Arica L. Coleman (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2015-05-19 01:21Z by Steven

That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia by Arica L. Coleman (review)

Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Volume 46, Number 1, Summer 2015
pages 126-127

Kirt von Daacke, Professor of History
University of Virginia

Coleman, Arica L., That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013)

This provocative new study engages history, anthropology, ethnic studies, and English literature as it charts “the history and legacy of Virginia’s effort to maintain racial purity and the consequences of this almost four hundred-year effort for African American–Native American relations and kinship bonds” (xv). The first four chapters attempt to set the 400-year history of Native American–black interaction in the context of the development of a racist ideology privileging white over black. The final three chapters conduct three case studies of twentieth- and twenty-first century events “regarding the social interactions of Black–Indian peoples and the ways in which Virginia Indians of African descent negotiate[d] the complex terrain of race and identity” (15).

Coleman’s interdisciplinary approach provides distinctly uneven results. She never convincingly connects that pre-1865 history with the ugly period after the passage of the Racial Integrity Act in 1924. The problems arise early. For example, Coleman claims that free people of color from the West Indies emigrated to Virginia in the wake of the start of the Haitian Revolution, but she offers no evidence other than a single citation in a secondary source about a white Virginian’s complaint that slaves became more restive after interacting with the slaves of white Haitian refugees (32). How can Armstrong Archer’s 1844 antislavery pamphlet, containing second-hand recollections about his father’s experiences in the eighteenth century, provide any sort of “exceptional insights into seventeenth century Indian–White relations from the perspective of the indigenous population” (36)? Coleman also rather uncritically accepts Archer’s pamphlet as the voice of a person who self-identified first as a Native American (36).

The second chapter focuses on the “changing state of Black–Indian relations in the nineteenth century,” using Omi and Winant’s post–Civil Rights era racial-formation theory as the foundation for its argument (64). Coleman never addresses why a theoretical model explaining the process of racial formation in the late twentieth century remains an appropriate model for understanding events of the nineteenth century. This chapter is also built upon a thin evidentiary base. It may well be that “Indians continued to be bought and sold” in Virginia after 1682, but interpreting a handful of notices stating that a runaway slave “ha[d] much the look of an Indian,” that another was “attempting to inveigle away a number of negroes to the new or Indian country,” or that yet another “had on him a new Indian blanket” as clear evidence of Native Americans on the slave market remains unconvincing (75–76). Coleman cites only five judicial cases from 1772 to 1827 in arguing that in the nineteenth century, “It became increasingly difficult to sue for freedom using the American Indian ancestress defense” (77). Furthermore, citing only two Works Progress Administration interviews from a single state remains insufficient proof that “numerous slave narratives bear witness to American Indian slavery” (79).

That weak evidentiary base resurfaces frequently when Coleman references pre-1900 Virginia or when in the midst of a provocative condemnation of the Virginia Council on Indians (VCI). For example, free people of color may have often noted Indian ancestry in claiming free status, but this assertion goes completely uncited (192). Later, Coleman asserts that Nottoway tribal members in 2007 “were well aware of the VCI’s unwritten criteria of racial purity,” but she provides no compelling evidence of the unwritten criteria and no evidence about what the Nottoway tribe might have known (219).

Despite these flaws, That the Blood Stay Pure represents a bold attempt to re-conceptualize how we think about Native American racial identity in the context of both a four-century history of racism and the modern era of tribal recognition and identity politics…

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The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-05-13 22:06Z by Steven

The Challenge of Mixed-Blood Nations

Indian Country Today Media Network

Duane Champagne, Professor of Sociology and American Indian Studies; Professor of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Countries with indigenous nations usually also have mixed-blood nations composed of people of indigenous descent and other nations or races. In an increasingly shrinking world where ethnicity is a quantity in flux, it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on how they relate to one another. The two groups would seem to be natural allies. But the reality isn’t that simple.

To begin with, much depends on the relations of the mixed bloods to the larger nation state. Take Canada, where the mixed-blood community is called Métis, a French word meaning—well, mixed blood. The Métis historically have had friendly relations with Indian communities. But currently they claim their own history and culture, a hybrid of European and indigenous community. Some Métis identify and live with tribal communities, while others do not. These separatists believe themselves to be a distinct nation or ethnic group from the indigenous nations and from Canada. Métis communities in Canada have separate land claims and negotiations with the Canadian government.

Meanwhile, in Latin and South America, as well as in Africa, people of mixed blood usually do not strongly identify with indigenous nations. They tend to reject indigenous ways in favor of national culture. Mestizos, for instance, are persons of indigenous ancestry who have taken up national culture and do not live in or engage with members of indigenous tribal communities.

This disengagement, in fact, can be quite vehement. Mestizo nations like Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and many others segregate their indigenous communities and maintain hostile and repressive political and cultural relations over indigenous nations. As for assimilated Mestizos, they can generally be relied on to embrace the values and lifestyles of modern market economies and broad national culture while openly rejecting their indigenous counterparts.

In the United States, the situation is particularly complex because there is no official designation of a mixed-blood nation…

Read the entire article here.

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The Life of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2015-04-16 22:53Z by Steven

The Life of William Apess, Pequot

University of North Carolina Press
March 2015
216 pages
1 halftone, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-1998-9

Philip F. Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The Pequot Indian intellectual, author, and itinerant preacher William Apess (1798–1839) was one the most important voices of the nineteenth century. Here, Philip F. Gura offers the first book-length chronicle of Apess’s fascinating and consequential life. After an impoverished childhood marked by abuse, Apess soldiered with American troops during the War of 1812, converted to Methodism, and rose to fame as a lecturer who lifted a powerful voice of protest against the plight of Native Americans in New England and beyond. His 1829 autobiography, A Son of the Forest, stands as the first published by a Native American writer. Placing Apess’s activism on behalf of Native American people in the context of the era’s rising tide of abolitionism, Gura argues that this founding figure of Native intellectual history deserves greater recognition in the pantheon of antebellum reformers. Following Apess from his early life through the development of his political radicalism to his tragic early death and enduring legacy, this much-needed biography showcases the accomplishments of an extraordinary Native American.

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Mashpee Musician Produces Documentary About Native, African Music

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-04-10 20:20Z by Steven

Mashpee Musician Produces Documentary About Native, African Music
Falmouth, Massachusetts

Sam Houghton

Morgan J. Peters, a Mashpee troubadour in Afro-Native-American-inspired music, with his band the Groovalottos, is on his way to producing a full-length album as well as a documentary. The “mini-film” will explore the combination of black and Native American music and how their blend gave rise to traditional and contemporary blues and funk.

The film, Mr. Peters said, will be the first of its kind. While there have been several films about folk music, mostly Euro-American, he said none have been produced exploring the “Black Indian” music experience.

Mr. Peters said that traditional Native American music has influenced such musicians as James Brown as well as contemporary and traditional blues music…

Read the entire article here.

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How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2015-04-07 01:21Z by Steven

How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

The Outer Banks Voice

Ed Beckley

Marvin T. Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area.

Our region’s rich history is brought to the fore each time someone who passes a historical marker on the side of the road, stops, reads and ponders. But who dreams up these visual reminders of our times gone by and makes them appear before our eyes?

They’re people such as Marvin T. Jones, who grew up in rural Hertford County, “taking much notice of them (as a small boy) and pleased when my first school, C.S. Brown, received one in the 1980’s.”

Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area, including The Roanoke Island Freedmen’s Colony, the Algonquian Village of Dasemunkepeuc in Dare County and four others inland.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program reports more than 1,400 markers in place in the state since 1936. Twenty-five are in Dare County. They are not only a tribute to the places and patriots of the past, but to the people who work to place them for posterity. Jones is squarely in that category…

…He has a rich diverse racial background, as is the case of so many others in that area. It was his mother’s mention of her ancestor, a Chowanoke Native-American leader, which impelled him to research the area’s history all the way back to the first English colonists in 1584. Jones is a mix of mostly Chowanoke, Tuscarora, European and African descent, with roots as far away as India…

Read the entire article here.

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