Gyasi Ross: Think of consequences of Indian Child Welfare Act

"On the rez, the kids at my school got into fights quite a bit. We had this saying, when one of the few white kids (or one of the Indian kids that “looked white”) who went to our school was involved: “A fight! A fight! An Indian and a white! If the Indian don’t win, we all jump in!”

I’m sure every racial group has some variation of that saying. For some reason, ignorance is multi-lingual.

Usually we were true to our word: if the Blackfeet kid didn’t somehow prevail in the fight, we were ready to get down James Brown. I suspect that sometimes the white kid would just give up because, heck, getting beating up by one person is better than getting beat up by 15.

I read a story yesterday that made me reconsider this saying. The story is about a custody dispute involving a Native dad and a non-Native couple. From what I read, it seems a perfectly sane, adult Indian dad voluntarily signed away his rights as a parent, with, according to all evidence, no gun to his head, no duress, of his own free will."

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Gyasi Ross: A Fight, A Fight, an Indian and a White! Of Childhood Chants and Indian Child Welfare (Indian Country Today 1/10)

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