Article: A Racially Discriminating Society

During the fossil-fueled extravaganza after World War II, Indian tribes in the United States were still recovering from the traumas of colonization; coerced displacement, religious conversion, and the brutal abuse of their children in state-supported, church-run Indian boarding schools was still contributing to their social, cultural and political dysfunction. Not until the 1970s did tribal communities and Indian nations across America recover sufficiently from their ordeals to begin to assert themselves in reclaiming their identities as indigenous peoples and dignity as human beings.

By the 1990s, the concept of applying the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights to indigenous peoples began to take hold. Still, it would take until September 2007 before international law would extend human rights to indigenous nations. Even then, four members of the UN opposed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Not until 2010 would the US grudgingly and partially endorse the principles of UNDRIP.

Today, as modern states and indigenous nations engage in conflict and negotiation over the implementation of indigenous human rights, many states pay these rights lip service while neglecting to observe them in practice. Witness the hundreds of confrontations worldwide where indigenous peoples' properties and resources are trampled on by insatiable corporations and corrupted states. Even the UN itself -- in the form of its conferences on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development -- excludes and marginalizes indigenous governing authorities, relegating indigenous delegates to the status of powerless observers.

With the resurgence of fossil-fueled extravagance and the reemergence of indigenous nations challenging the power of the state on all continents, civil society has found a new role for itself in both defending democracy and honoring humanity. With the recovered memory of the malign neglect of indigenous peoples by institutions and markets over the five centuries of European colonies and successor states in the Americas, human rights activists have both an opportunity and an obligation to force their dominant societies to make amends. Pretending we can have meaningful reconciliation without cultural restoration is just wishful thinking.

Conditioning the extension of human rights to indigenous peoples on their acceptance of assimilation into European forms of governance, religion and economics is moral fraud. Asking indigenous nations to forfeit their rights to self-determination, cultural preservation and religious freedom as the terms of their right to exist is perhaps the worst form of self-serving hypocrisy invented by a racially discriminating society. But then, what would you expect from a people whose entire social architecture was founded on genocide?

Original article posted on Intercontinental Cry

Poem: Lord Hear Our Prayer

Lord hear our prayer,
The drone of the organ in the church,

Lord hear our prayer,
The young Native girl prays,
In her closet,
In her home,
For healing,
She is crying,
For love,
No one can see her,
Hear her,

Lord hear our prayer,
Silent prayers,
Bounce off of walls,
Flicker,
Disintegrate into plaster breaking,
Falling,
Crumbling,
Onto hardwood floors,
Dissolving prayers between the cracks,

Lord hear our prayer,
Recite,
Recite,
Recite,

Lord hear our prayer,
Young Native boy,
Black hair,
Cut,
Combed,
Identity cut,
The patriarchy destroys a sensitive soul,
Who reaches for femininity in his identity,
But he can't be himself fully,
In a patriarchal culture,

Lord hear our prayer,
Inside the church walls,
Injustice,
Equality,
Outside of the church walls,
Inside the church walls,

Lord hear our prayer,
Inside the home,
Crying young girl,
Crying young boy,

Lord hear our prayer,
Paperwork,
Institutions,
Structures,
Deviations,

Our prayers are silenced,
Our prayers are blocked,
Our prayers are ignored.

Poem: Racist Dissection

But you are mostly this,
She points to the chart,
Starts to,
Quantify my existence,

STOP,

Quantifying my existence is racist,

TWO WORDS,

Invisible minority,

NEXT,

Genocide,
Extermination policies,
Rape,
Violence,
Sexual violence,
Annihilation,
Pride of cultured,
Destroyed,
Whirlwind assimilation,

CONTINUING,

Quantifying my existence hurts me,
Hurts my family,
Hurts my community,
To all the Native people who aren't enrolled,
Because of divisive tribal politics,
Kicking people off the rolls,
Internalized oppression,
To all the Native people who aren't enrolled,
Because the goal of these governmental policies,
Is to make us vanish,
Gone,

Quantifying our existence,
Only occurs to us,
No other race gets asked,

"How much?"
All the time,
To size up,
Dissect us,

I like your Native American look,
Says the New York City man,
I like your Native American earrings,
Says the bourgeoisie suburban girl,
Did you go to college for free?
Do you live in tipi's?
What's it like living on the rez?
What's real poverty like?
What's it like to be a token?

Hand up,
Hand out,
Hand me down,
Pushed down,

NEXT,

I am never going to divide up my existence,
For your approval,
Or narrowed belief of what my racial identity should be,

But you say,
You've benefited from your privilege,
I don't need to explain,
Racism,
Sexism,
Racism,
Sexism,
Economic poverty,
Invisible,
No voice,

Your racist dissection will be torn to shreds,
When you ask,
How much?

How about you talk to the elder,
Listen to the elder,
Hear out what the elder has to say about blood quantum,
The individual,
Family,
In our community,
In our territories,

Do not ask a Native person how much they are,
Racism,
Hurts us,

No one else gets asked this,
So stop.

Blood Quantum, Identity and Politics


 Basically this quote below describes how I feel.

"Through Congressional Acts like the 1887 Allotment Act racial discrimination became institutionalized. Racism touched every aspect of social life, sanctioning containment. Just as the South Africans during Apartheid would be in 1948, all native American Indians were racially classified into categories: Full Bloods, Mixed Bloods and White for the purpose of valid rights or claims of any persons to reservation lands. The Act not only institutionalized racism through a Blood quantum classification that has served Euro Americans in their efforts to further cut our population levels." ~ Robert Robideau, Anishinaabe Activist (1946-2009)

Stories on blood quantum, Native identity and politics

Blood quantum influences Native American identity

Less Than Blood Quantum

Blood Quantum

Love in the Time of Blood Quantum

Native American Intermarriage Puts Benefits At Risk

"Multiracial" identity and American Indians

Blood Quantum: A Relic Of Racism And Termination  - "Thus the recording of blood quantum is both a product of white racism and of white social science theories of a racist nature, and also a product of a plan wherein Native nations are expected to vanish when the white blood quantum reaches a certain level (above three-fourths, for example). For this latter reason alone, the use of blood quantum is exceedingly dangerous for Native Nations today, although the Bureau and some eastern Oklahoma Indians don't seem to care about this danger."


Check out this film on identity and blood quantum - Club Native.  Directed by Tracey Deer