miércoles, 18 de julio de 2007

state recognition vs. tribal reconnection

some descendants of indians in Tennessee want to be "recognized" by the state as politically-valid generic indians, competent and able to speak for the in-state interests of Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee, Yuchi and other nations. the idea that biological descendancy creates national identity - that one drop of indian blood makes a person indian - is as false as any principle of racial determinism.

before a non-indian political entity like the State of Tennessee is used as the means of identifying the generic indian, two questions need to be competently answered:
1. what is the need for state-approved generic indians in Tennessee? and
2. what efforts have been made to reconnect descendants with their tribal relatives?

if there is no demonstrable need for an alternative authority on indian identity in the state, then we shouldn't be wasting our time trying to make a state agency act like a tribe.
and if no efforts have been made to re-establish contact and affiliation between descendants and existing tribes, we need to question the political intent of the descendants and apply ourselves to reconnecting the tribal-Tennessee relationship.