Banished from the tribe

Posted in Articles, Economics, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-07-26 01:53Z by Steven

Banished from the tribe

Inter-County Leader/Washburn County Register
Cooperative-Owned Newspapers Serving Northwest Wisconsin

Ed Emerson

Gary King

WEBSTER – Tony Ammann is the grandson of former longtime St. Croix Chippewa chief and traditional “midewiwin” spiritual leader Archie Mosay. His mother, Archie’s daughter, has Department of Interior papers certifying her blood quantum requirement to be a member of the tribe. Despite Ammann’s lineage and heritage, the St. Croix Chippewa Tribal Council is actively seeking to banish him from the tribe.

Ammann says the attempt at disenrollment is an old vendetta that underlines the need for reform and greater accountability within tribal governance.

Soon after taking office more than one year ago, the newly elected tribal council began a process to disenroll as many as 16 tribal members. Five of them have legally challenged the action, and a tribal judicial hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20.

Ammann says many of the others are reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal or loss of employment. The tribe at one of its casinos employs Ammann. Ammann’s sister, Brooke, is also a plaintiff challenging the disenrollment action.

The St. Croix Chippewa have 1,054 members residing on eight separate enclaves scattered throughout multiple counties. The tribe is the largest employer in Burnett County. It operates casinos at its tribal headquarters in Hertel and in Turtle Lake and Danbury. Annual revenue is said to be in excess of $100 million.

Tribal elders receive per capita payments of approximately $10,000 per year – other members approximately $4,800 per year. Banishment would mean losing that payment and all hunting and fishing rights. The St. Croix Chippewa maintain a blood quantum requirement of 50 percent. It is one of fewer than 10 of 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States to retain such a stringent standard…

Read the entire article here.

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Becoming Black, White, and Indian in Wisconsin Farm Country, 1850s–1910s

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-07-04 19:18Z by Steven

Becoming Black, White, and Indian in Wisconsin Farm Country, 1850s–1910s

Middle West Review
Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2016
pages 53-84
DOI: 10.1353/mwr.2016.0009

Jennifer Kirsten Stinson, Associate Professor of History
Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, Michigan

Fig 1. Location of the Revels kindred community in Forest Township, Vernon County, Wisconsin. Map courtesy of the author.

In 1908, Effie Revels penned a memoir, titled the “Diary of the Revels Family,” which chronicled the westward journey taken by her parents, Morning and Micajah, in 1854. After struggles in their Georgia and North Carolina homelands, they obtained a U.S. land patent in western Wisconsin’s Vernon County. There, in a place to which Ho-Chunks returned yearly and which Sauks had recently left, the Revelses helped to found the Forest Township farm neighborhood in the county’s northeastern portion. Effie described their 160 acres as the “roughest that part knows of;” its sharp-rising ridges and deep-plunging valleys made planting and harvesting difficult. But the family’s skill and cooperation with neighbors yielded prosperity into the 1890s. Flora Revels, Morning’s and Micajah’s great-granddaughter, loved Forest’s annual picnics of that era, where kin and friends, as she recalled in an oral history interview, heard “preaching,” plus “speaking, singing, and a program.” The people who enjoyed these events hailed from the upper South, like Flora’s forebears, as well as the lower Midwest, mid-Atlantic, and Europe.

This is the stuff of standard pioneer stories and popular culture. But the more we read of Effie and the more we listen to Flora, the clearer their stories’ challenge to classic white frontier narratives becomes. From 1860 through 1880, census takers labeled 14 percent of Forest’s population, including these women and their Arms, Bass, Delaney, Roberts, Revels, Shivers, and Waldon kin—hereafter collectively called the Revels kindred or Forest’s families—“mulatto” or occasionally “black.” They called themselves “colored,” “Indian,” and “Cherokee,” and they invoked Robeson Indian ties.

This article examines how contests over belonging and transitions to racialized thinking arose at the intersection of American modernity and traditional Indigenous and rural values. It argues, first, that Forest’s founding generation of the 1850s through 1870s did not separate into oppositional, mutually exclusive racial groups. Rather, Wisconsin’s relative civil rights tolerance, displacement of Ho-Chunks, and abundant land allowed the Revels kindred’s U.S. southern Indigenous kin- and land-based belonging and their radical abolitionism to flourish; all of these bound the kindred together. Second, mixing between people whose lives bridged Indigenous-, African-, and Euro-American influences continued during Forest’s 1880s and 1890s post-settlement era. The kindred’s leadership in traditional rural sociability promoted inclusivity. Their modern commercial farming and divergence from allegedly uncivilized African Americans, Ho-Chunks, and Sauks made them model midwesterners and Americans. These factors worked against their racialization. Third, a shift occurred in the late 1890s and early 1900s: The kindred divided into “black,” “white,” and “Indian” when Forest’s traditional close-knit community and kinship collided with modern reconfigurations of race, market pressures, and gender anxieties. Simultaneous to kindred members’ loss of landed independence and manhood, federal officials sought to replace non-racialized and ambiguous statuses with fixed certainty. They predicated U.S. citizenship on racial purity and on quantified Indianness. Cherokees, in response, tried to protect their rights by codifying and sometimes racializing membership.

These arguments enrich a history of the Midwest in which Indigenous lives remain unevenly analyzed, especially their intersections with the region’s African diaspora. Amid a wealth of scholarship on Euro-Indian ties, those few works that do examine midwestern African-Indian connections confine their analysis to the Ho-Chunk, Illini, Ojibwe, Mesquakie, or Sauk. Moreover, they often focus on colonial and early republic Indian-French-British trading culture. They omit other Indigenous midwesterners, who came as farmers from the upper South in the mid-1800s. These included not only the Wisconsin-based Revelses, but also similar kindreds who created substantial communities that combined Indigenous and African diasporic influences: the Beech and Roberts settlements in Indiana’s Rush and Hamilton counties; the Calvin Colony in Cass County, Michigan; and the Longtown Settlement straddling Darke County, Ohio, and Rush County, Indiana. Consideration of the Revels kindred expands understanding of what we mean by the “Indigenous Midwests,” revealing new connections…

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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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“We Called That Touch”

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-04-01 02:06Z by Steven

“We Called That Touch”

Boston Review

Ed Pavlić, Professor of English and Creative Writing
University of Georgia

Race and the Intimate Tangle of American Experience

It might seem to you that I am white. Then again, depending upon how and where we meet—and upon things in your life I know nothing about—it might seem to you that I’m not white. So far, in forty-nine years here, my experience has indicated this much to me. My father came to the United States by way of Canada from what is now Croatia. My mother is a white American liberal from Wisconsin. Many in America would say that, because of the race of my parents, my identity is essentially fixed in those terms, that such matters are innate, inborn. For many on all sides of the color line, this either/or racial paradigm possesses the self-evidence of a law of nature. Yet the social and political machinery necessary to maintain the reality of this illusion proves lethal to men, women, and children everyday.

Nonetheless, contrary to this culture-bound delusion, whiteness is not a natural inheritance. People “believing themselves white” (to borrow a phrase from Ta-Nehisi Coates, who borrowed the idea from James Baldwin) must invest in that belief continually. Whether consciously or not, they must rehearse its prohibitions and privileges all their waking days—in their dreams, even. Our world offers them a great assistance with this and, on average, the dividends paid by this pact with whiteness are real. At the same time, Eula Biss recently argued that this “believing themselves white” business accrues a cost, “White Debt.” It seems to me that she is describing shame even more than debt. Her essay tiptoes around naming the terrible price people believing themselves white pay to sustain that belief.

I confess that, even in the abstract, I have never been able to acquire a knack for honoring the supposed impermeability of American racial categories. Just where is the border in what one says, thinks, imagines, who one loves? Even more, where is the border in how one goes about these things? My racial ambiguity has not only been internal but has been reflected in—perhaps fueled by—the ways that, since childhood, my race has been so frequently “misread,” or far from self-evident. More than once in my twenties, police asked me point blank: Are you black or white? In these previews of often subtler interrogations to come, it always seemed to me that the question was the answer. Yet for years and long after I knew better, and even up until now, I have been afraid to openly analyze the dynamics that have produced these questions. I dealt with them lyrically, both in poems and in life. But in a fearful and tiresome symmetry, this silence and lyrical angularity (like Dickinson’stell it slant”) also forced me to treat my condition as if it were a personal psychosis, mine and mine alone, an essential and incommunicable privacy. It’s taught me how necessary privacy is but also how an incommunicable privacy narrows, collapses, becomes a trap…

Read the entire article here.

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Young Gifted Black

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-04 04:02Z by Steven

Young Gifted Black

Madison, Wisconsin

Allison Geyer, Staff Writer

Fiery activist group praised and panned for disruptive protests in name of racial equality

Dozens of protesters with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition marched on March 19 to a mayoral forum at the Barrymore Theatre, where two white, progressive mayoral candidates were preparing to debate the issues facing the city of Madison. There was no question the city’s racial inequalities would be on the agenda.

Deep disparities are considered by many to be liberal Madison’s secret shame. And the officer-shooting death a few weeks earlier of unarmed biracial teenager Tony Robinson dealt a crushing blow to the city’s already disenfranchised community.

Protesters marched down the aisles of the theater holding a banner declaring “Black Lives Matter.” The rallying cry has emerged nationally in response to what many see as a pattern of systematic state violence against African American citizens that fails to take account of lost lives.

What did they want? “Justice!” When did they want it? “Now!” And if they didn’t get it? “Shut it down!”…

…Young, Gifted and Black is in some ways a misnomer.

The group is certainly youth-oriented — middle school, high school and college-aged students walked out of class to join the numerous marches in the weeks following the Tony Robinson shooting. And many more youth have attended direct action training sessions at UW-Madison. But key organizers of the group range in age from their mid-20s to mid-30s, with members up to 40 and older.

Members are passionate, with a capacity to inspire and mobilize — and to piss certain people off. Many are African American or identify as such, but Asian, Latino and white allies also have a strong presence in the group.

Group leadership is also deliberately feminist and “conspicuously queer,” committed to dismantling patriarchy as well as combating racial inequality. Organizers say these are characteristics that set the movement apart from older iterations of civil rights activism.

But perhaps what unites many of the core members is a shared experience of discrimination that fuels a desire to change what they see as an unjust world…

Matthew Braunginn’s activist roots go deep — his father, Stephen Braunginn, was president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and a co-founder of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.

Braunginn, 29, characterizes previous efforts to combat racial disparity and racism as “lip service” and “half attempts” that didn’t address the root causes of problems plaguing minorities. He graduated from Purdue University and now works for the UW-Madison PEOPLE Project — a college readiness program for minority and low-income students. He joined Young, Gifted and Black to confront institutionalized racism directly.

“Racism is more than just being hateful,” he says, adding that many white people have a “poor understanding” of the minority experience and how implicit biases exist throughout the society.

“It’s almost worse that Madison is liberal,” he adds.

Braunginn is biracial, but he identifies as black. He says his ethnic ambiguity has been a source of stress and confusion — unable to truly “pass” as either black or white, he has struggled with discrimination and uncomfortable questions about his race. He says his identity struggles led him to abuse opioids in his teens and early 20s…

Read the entire article here.

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BEST OF 2015: Not Quite White

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-01-04 03:19Z by Steven

BEST OF 2015: Not Quite White

Madison, Wisconsin

Matthew Braunginn

Matthew Braunginn

I may never be able to truly “pass” or to be “race neutral.” I have always been and always will be “not quite white.”

I reject those terms because I have been othered on their terms. I can never fully fit in among a group of white people. And even though my pigment is closer to that of my white peers, I have always found more comfort in being around my black brothers and sisters; a sense of belonging and shared struggle that I have never felt in a room full of white people…

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, a predominantly white, liberal city that maintains egregious racial disparities. According to the Race to Equity report, Madison has one of the largest education gaps in the nation: 75 percent of its children living in poverty are black, with black children making up just 8.5 percent of its population; black unemployment is at 25 percent versus 5 percent for whites. Adult black males are 4.8 percent of its population, yet in 2011 they made up 43 percent of new prison placement.

Madison is a very different experience for blacks than it is for whites. I grew up in a bi-racial house. My mother is white and my father is black. I am fair-skinned enough so that I can “pass” at times, but times that are not of my making. My parents raised my sister and I to be racially aware, to understand the racial dynamics of this nation, and to understand the sins of its past. But I am not white. Throughout my childhood this reality created and fostered an extra layer of confusion for me. I fought through a gauntlet of anger, confusion, pain, and deep depression. Now I am experiencing an awakening, a taking back of my power of self-identification…

Read the entire article here.

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Tony Robinson’s mother files civil rights lawsuit over fatal police shooting of son

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-17 01:24Z by Steven

Tony Robinson’s mother files civil rights lawsuit over fatal police shooting of son

The Guardian

Zoe Sullivan

Andrea Irwin alleges officer Matt Kenny violated 14th amendment equal protection rights and fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches

The mother of a biracial man killed by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over her son’s death in March.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Tony Robinson’s mother, Andrea Irwin, alleges that officer Matt Kenny violated the equal protection rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment as well as Robinson’s fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches.

At a rally Wednesday afternoon outside the state capitol, Robinson’s mother told the small crowd gathered that the lawsuit was part of an effort to end needless deaths of black men at the hands of police. “This will stop. If this is the only way that we can start to do this, then by God, this is how we will do this.”

Robinson was shot on 6 March during an altercation with Kenny, who told investigators that he thought he heard a disturbance in an apartment recently entered by Robinson…

Read the entire article here.

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Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-06-12 21:16Z by Steven

Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Wisconsin Public Radio
Thursday, 2015-06-11, 16:35 CDT

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Jennifer Sims, Adjunct Visiting Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, River Falls

According to Census data, only about 2 percent of Americans consider themselves to be multiracial, but a new report out Thursday from Pew suggests that the real number of people with multiracial backgrounds is more than three times that. It also shows that the number of people who identify as…

Listen to the story (00:22:49) here.

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Who is Ismael Ozanne, Wisconsin’s prosecutor in Tony Robinson’s death?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, United States on 2015-05-20 21:52Z by Steven

Who is Ismael Ozanne, Wisconsin’s prosecutor in Tony Robinson’s death?

Cable News Network (CNN)

Michael Martinez, Newsdesk Editor & Writer

(CNN) Ismael Ozanne wiped a handkerchief across his forehead, nervously tapped a stack of papers on the podium and slowly cleared his throat.

It wasn’t the first time he’d made history; that happened in 2010 when he became Wisconsin’s first black district attorney.

Still, the Dane County district attorney seemed acutely aware of his role on the national stage Tuesday as the man who would decide whether an officer should be charged for the March 6 shooting death of an unarmed biracial man, 19-year-old Tony Robinson.

Eventually, Ozanne told reporters that he’d cleared Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department, declaring that the officer’s gunfire was “a lawful use of deadly police force.”

But before he revealed his long-awaited decision Tuesday, the prosecutor also made it a point to talk about his past…

…Wisconsin’s first black DA

Ozanne became the first African-American district attorney in Wisconsin history in August 2010, when former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, appointed him as Dane County district attorney.

Ozanne’s appointment filled a vacancy created when the prior DA was elected as a Court of Appeals judge…

…Ozanne’s grandfather, Robert Ozanne, was a high school teacher, a labor organizer, an author and a professor of economics at University of Wisconsin at Madison in the 1950s, according to Ismael Ozanne’s biography.

His parents are also teachers: His father taught at Tuskegee University in Alabama and in Madison public schools, and as of last year, his mother was still in the classroom, teaching reading at a middle school.

Ozanne describes himself as biracial.

“I’m a person of color from a biracial marriage. … I am the son of a black woman who still worries about my safety from the bias and privilege and violence that accompanies it,” he said Tuesday…

Read the entire article here.

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