Simon Moya-Smith: Citizenship vs. membership in a tribal nation

Simon Moya-Smith discusses a touchy subject in Indian Country:
To the business: What is the meaning of “member”? Let’s get to the point here. I’m not a member. I don’t even bowl! I’m a citizen of a nation, for godsakes. Gym rats are members. Narrow-minded Knights of Columbus cretins are members. A citizen of a nation should never be demoted to the status of a bowler, a gym rat or a knight of the bastard Columbus. So, here, let me reiterate for the record that I am not a member, but a citizen of a sovereign nation. If I am a member of anything I’m a member of Church Street Boxing in the Lower East Side of New York where big guys name Biff swallow me whole with their fists. I don’t mind the beating. It humbles me, and it reminds me that some things are best left in the ring. Ding, ding, folks.

I’m also not a lawyer (though I do share in their taste for mayhem). But I do know that, legally speaking, Native Americans are not even considered a race in the United States. We’re considered a “political group.” This is due to our guardian-ward relationship with the U.S. government. And this acrimonious hate affair was justified by the powdered-wigged powers when they believed indigenous peoples of this continent were inferior, weak, non-Christian and savage. Lo, if you know your U.S. history, then you know there were very few people in this world who were as savage as the early-American Christian who desired gold and scalps to sell to the wiggy British who would admire the glisten of the bullion and the blood and hair over tea and discussions of Benjamin Franklin’s compromised crotch. He was quite the libertine, which is why many in England today still talk about how whenever he took a bath his tub was given a serious scrubbing immediately after his leathered ass got out of it, if not completely discarded.

Right. And to hell with Benjy. We’re discussing citizenship here, which is a heavy discussion to have in Indian country at any time of the day, because it touches on blood quantum and disenrollment.

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Simon Moya-Smith: Bowlers With Balls and Silverback Politicians (Indian Country Today 2/21)

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