12 October 2015

Intrigued By More Exposure of Black Folks Who Celebrate Indian Heritage

Today, I read an article on 'The Root' website by Yesha Callahan, "Social Media Celebrates Indigenous People's Day...Not That Other Holiday.' It was the catalyst for further research and viewing other articles.
Twitter Feed

The Root, Twitter and Facebook had this image of a young girl with a sign recognizing 'Indigenous People's Day' and what was more intriguing is the end reads "Native Strong and African-American Strong.'  What's the big deal about that...some would say.  Briefly, in our community there's been this rather amusing issue among many blacks claiming to have some Native American ancestry. It was always viewed as again... we want to be anything other than {totally} black and there's been jokes about it for decades.  Henry Louis Gates' research on our African-American identities addresses that issue and states that there are very few of us who can make that claim.  He also addressed that we have a very complicated history with Native Americans which entailed wars, slavery and tribes who helped escaping slaves.  The Buffalo Soldiers killed many Indians while supporting the very system that enslaved them and treated them as second class citizens.  There were some tribes who enslaved black folks.  In fact, with some exceptions there is this perception that Indians aren't receptive to African-Americans today.

There were lawsuits filed by mixed ancestry black folks who aren't recognized by some Native American tribes and again it's that knock at the door that remains locked.  I must say that there is a unity movement afoot that also encompasses what we witnessed on October 10, 2015.   Thousands of blacks, people of color, Indians and other marginalized groups participated in the "Justice or Else" gathering on the capitol mall.  Many of us who were aware of the complicated notion of Columbus Day, with its myths and revisionism are clamoring for more exposure of this truth.  Social media has expanded it to the point that we are viewing articles and events that exceeds previous efforts.

Years ago, on the Phil Donahue Show there was a Harvard educated Native American Chief in full dress and a African American leader {name escapes me} discussing the state of minorities in this country.  I can't remember the exact quote but the essence of the statement by the former is that...America put them on the reservation and blacks on the plantation and went about building this nation.  They were talking coalition then but nothing came of it. I'm sure 'tribalism' and which group suffered the most dialogues had something to do with it.

We must recognized that the crumbs thrown to oppressed people keep us fighting among ourselves instead of galvanizing to empower our groups to become truly first class citizens with 'inalienable' rights. We must correct how this country has reneged on treaties and find solutions for those of us who were here long before Columbus lost his way.

There is more to write but I did say..... BRIEFLY!

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