indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Jobs at the Bureau of Indian Education
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
David Treuer: Appropriating Indianness an old tradition in the US
Monday, October 1, 2012
Filed Under: Opinion
More on: david treuer, elizabeth warren, race, scott brown
 
"Just over a week ago, a handful of Senator Scott P. Brown’s supporters gathered in Boston to protest his opponent, Elizabeth Warren. The crowd — making Indian war whoops and tomahawk chops — was ridiculing what Mr. Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, called the “offense” of Ms. Warren’s claim that she has Cherokee and Delaware ancestry.

To mock real Indians by chanting like Hollywood Indians in order to protest someone you claim is not Indian at all gets very confusing. Even more so because early Americans spent centuries killing Indians, and then decades trying to drive any distinctive Indianness out of the ones who survived. Perhaps we’ve come a long way if Americans are now going around accusing people who don’t look or act Indian enough of appropriating that identity for personal gain. But in fact, the appropriation of Indian virtues is one of the country’s oldest traditions.

Indians — who we are and what we mean — have always been part of how America defined itself. Indians on the East Coast were largely (but never completely) deracinated, and tribes like the Delaware were either killed or relocated farther west. At the same time, their Indianness was extracted as a set of virtues: honor, stoicism, dignity, freedom. Once, in college, an African-American student shook his head when I told him that I was Indian and he said he was jealous. Why? I asked. Because you lived life on your own terms and would rather have died than become a slave. That sentiment — totally at odds with the reality in which many tribes were indeed enslaved and a few owned slaves themselves — seemed a very wistful expression of what being an Indian meant."

Get the Story:
David Treuer: Kill the Indians, Then Copy Them (The New York Times 9/30)

Related Stories:
Paula Peters: There's a Cherokee princess in everyone's family (9/28)
Fact Checker: Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren and Indian claim (9/28)
Suzan Harjo: Race card comes out in Massachusetts campaign (9/27)
Gyasi Ross: Sen. Brown's racist and anti-Indian campaign rally (9/27)
Suzan Harjo: Race card comes out in Massachusetts campaign (9/27)
Sen. Brown warns staff over war whoops and tomahawk chops (9/27)
NCAI criticizes both sides in hot Senate race in Massachusetts (9/26)
Cherokee chief wants Sen. Brown to apologize for 'racist' acts (9/26)
GOP candidate's staffers caught on tape doing tomahawk chop (9/25)
Elizabeth Warren responds to attack on Indian ancestry claims (9/25)
Elizabeth Warren defends claim of Indian ancestry at debate (9/21)
Sen. McCain amused with Elizabeth Warren's Indian claim (9/18)
Indian delegates offer ways to test Elizabeth Warren's ancestry (9/6)
Elizabeth Warren doesn't want to address Indian claims at DNC (9/5)
Indian delegates at DNC seek a meeting with Elizabeth Warren (9/4)
Cole DeLuane: Elizabeth Warren and the politics of genocide (8/21)
NPR: Elizabeth Warren and questions about her 'Indian' heritage (8/9)
Cherokee women unable to get a meeting with Elizabeth Warren (6/22)
Opinion: Indian identity doesn't always come as an easy answer (06/18)
Opinion: Elizabeth Warren sticks to Indian background claims (6/12)
Opinion: Ethnic fraud with Elizabeth Warren's tenure at Harvard (6/11)
NPR: David Treuer and Mary Annette Pember talk Indian identity (6/8)
NPR 'Talk of the Nation' show to air segment on Indian ancestry (6/7)
Column: Indian ancestry claims common throughout Oklahoma (6/5)
Column: Elizabeth Warren has credible Cherokee ancestry claim (6/4)
Elizabeth Warren faces more criticism over Indian ancestry claim (6/1)
Elizabeth Warren defends self-identification as Native American (5/31)
Opinion: Dining out with Elizabeth Warren's 'Cherokee' recipes (5/29)
Elizabeth Warren cites mother for family's Indian heritage claim (5/25)
Another poll taken after Indian identity flap shows a tight race (5/24)
Poll shows a close Senate race despite flap over Indian identity (5/23)
Opinion: Senate candidate tripped up by Indian heritage claims (5/21)
WBUR: Does Elizabeth Warren get to claim 'minority' status? (5/17)
Opinion: Elizabeth Warren was an 'official minority' at Harvard (5/10)
David Treuer: Elizabeth Warren rightly claims Native heritage (5/7)
Kevin Noble Maillard: Senate candidate sees birther moment (5/7)
Senate candidate in Massachusetts defends Native identity (5/3)
Opinion: Is candidate Elizabeth Warren a Native American? (5/2)
Senate candidate in Massachusetts has a Cherokee ancestor (5/1)
Column: Democratic candidate accused of being a fake Indian (4/30)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Wrapup from National Congress of American Indians DC meeting (2/27)
Native Sun News: Rapid City leader calls for tax on alcohol sales (2/27)
Mark Trahant: Beautiful trend emerges with power of Native vote (2/27)
Ivan Star: Lakota traditional history tells the true untold stories (2/27)
Audio: House Appropriations Committee hearing on BIA budget (2/27)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee to hold hearing on irrigation bill (2/27)
National Indian Gaming Commission choice gets another hearing (2/27)
Kevin Abourezk: Omaha language advocate passes on at age 58 (2/27)
Gyasi Ross: Yawna Allen shares her Native and African ancestry (2/27)
Frank Hopper: Alaska Native Brotherhood was about resistance (2/27)
Stanley Heller: Don't forget the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado (2/27)
Cherokee Nation chief faces at least four challengers in election (2/27)
BIA and DOJ seek to mediate Cayuga Nation leadership dispute (2/27)
Non-Indians guilty for hunting incidents on Montana reservation (2/27)
Man from Te-Moak Tribe pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter (2/27)
Administrator for Alaska tribe cuts her position out of the budget (2/27)
Opinion: Find common ground on Indian mascots in Connecticut (2/27)
Hannahville Indian Community starts $8M casino expansion work (2/27)
Wilton Rancheria still waiting for BIA movement on casino project (2/27)
Lytton Band paid $4.6M to use land as parking for Class II facility (2/27)
Opinion: Menominee Nation might turn to tokers instead of poker (2/27)
Opinion: Poarch Creeks come with slot machines and marijuana (2/27)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians meet in DC (2/26)
Native Sun News: Rosebud Sioux Tribe leader sidelined by council (2/26)
James Giago Davies: Native activism must embrace all relations (2/26)
Donna Ennis: Obama budget supports tribal self-determination (2/26)
Rich Winter: Let's keep Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City (2/26)
Oglala Sioux Tribe wants Lakota Nation Invitational out of Rapid (2/26)
Former Sisseton Wahpeton chairman joins marijuana company (2/26)
Hoopa Valley Tribe places marijuana referendum on April ballot (2/26)
Blog: Firm saves billions by exploiting Native 'loophole' at FCC (2/26)
Klamath Tribes aid investigation into stolen artifacts in Oregon (2/26)
Alaska Native community still waiting on funding for relocation (2/26)
Alaska Native lawmaker in hospital after emergency at capitol (2/26)
Elise Patkotak: Alaska must acknowledge high rate of violence (2/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe waits for decision in recognition lawsuit (2/26)
Muscogee Nation seeks 5000 workers for big casino expansion (2/26)
Little River Band expects wait for $180M off-reservation casino (2/26)
Northern Arapaho Tribe plans to open casino food court in May (2/26)
Cherokee Nation promotes citizen to manager of $80M casino (2/26)
Tribes share nearly $16M in casino revenues with New Mexico (2/26)
Connecticut tribes face threat from casinos in Massachusetts (2/26)
Updates from National Congress of American Indians meeting (2/25)
Native Sun News: Artist Del Iron Cloud wins top award at show (2/25)
Witness List: Senate Indian Affairs Committee budget hearing (2/25)
Steve Russell: Cherokees learned discrimination from colonists (2/25)
Mary Pember: Tlingit masks appraised on 'Antiques Roadshow' (2/25)
Julianne Jennings: Keep talking about race in American history (2/25)
Bill to create day to honor late Elouise Cobell stalls in Montana (2/25)
Washington tribes head to trial in dispute over fishing grounds (2/25)
Mobile dental clinic takes service to Navajo Nation communities (2/25)
Shingle Springs Band gun range draws questions from neighbors (2/25)
NCPR: St. Regis Mohawk Tribe continues land claim negotiations (2/25)
Opinion: Oklahoma attempts to rewrite role of Whites in history (2/25)
more headlines...


Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.