Steve Russell: Full-blooded Indians still facing the most racism

"FBIs (Full Blooded Indians) get weary of hearing about the vicissitudes facing mixed-blood Indians, for understandable reasons. FBIs bear the brunt of anti-Indian racism. “Race,” having no freestanding reality, is most often conflated with color, and so racial stigma follows color.

Then there’s the history of colonists searching for Indians to sell out tribal interests. Who hangs around the fort but mixed-blood political shape shifters? You get this weird social reality in some places (hello, Oklahoma!) where representing as “part Indian” is cool but representing as Indian is at least poor judgment and at most evidence of a character flaw, an attempt to take advantage of helpless white people by stealing a ride on the mythical Indian gravy train.

My own tribal history confounds the stereotype. Chief John Ross, the one-eighth-blood great grandson of a Scots trader, led the Cherokee Nation through its most tragic confrontations with colonial greed. Ross’s National Party, supported by most full bloods, was undercut by the largely mixed-blood Treaty Party, opening a wound that persists to this day."

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: 'FBIs'—Full-Blooded Indians—Face the Most Anti-Indian Racism (Indian Country Today 12/2)

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