How Much Native American Are You?

How can your identity be quantified? Do you believe your identity can be dissected into bits and pieces? I know that my body and spirit cannot be quantified. As a spiritual being I know I am whole, I am complete. Being mixed by blood as many Native people are because we are dissected in our identity on a daily basis. Because of colonization and genocide the majority society takes a look at someone who says they are Native and then poses the question, "how much?" If the person is not stereotypically Native then we are asked this question. The more I talk to other people in the Native community the more I realize this question is a common question that is asked.

This weekend I was asked this question and instead of getting furiously mad like I would of in the past I was calm. I had a realization recently since reading extensively about privilege, race, class and oppression. If I become mad then I am giving away my power to this person when they have no power over me in the first place. I do agree that anger has a time and place but I have made a recent choice to rise above it all with calmness, wisdom and grace.

My friend and I were at a restaurant when this question was asked. The waitress said that she liked my earrings. She made the comment that there were very "Native American looking." I replied, "I am Native American." She replied, "oh cool." My friend and I told her the drinks that we wanted. She left and then came back with our water and tea. She then proceeded to ask, "so how much are you?" I took a deep breath and replied, "I choose not to answer that question. The waitress replied, "ok."

I spoke with my friend and she said, "all you have to say is that I am full in heart." While this is true and this is the best response to say when someone asks this question I feel that this question should not even be asked in the first place. It is not about blood quantum, skin tone, hair color, eye color, facial features or height. It is what is in the heart and spirit.

I know who I am, no one has power over me and I am whole.