Thursday, November 27, 2008

Note to Justine Kondrat:

Justine seems to have expressed some outrage over the fact that my cocker spaniel appears to have more Cowlitz blood running in his veins then the ubiquitous David Barnett:

in response to another comment wrote:

Justine Kondrat : 11/23/08 5:43pm - Report Abuse

"In the first place the main people running the show for the poor Cowlitz tribe are not Indians or are 1/64th such as David Barnett who spouts tribal rhetoric but is about as Indian as someone from Germany or would that be France?"

I am very tired of hearing this particular point of view. Why is it that the only people who tell me that I'm not Native American are non-Native Americans? I co-led a trip of undergraduate students to the Swinomish Community Reservation and I was welcomed with open arms as family, as a "distant cousin." I have never been questioned by another Native American about my heritage and my right to practice my culture, even if I have dark brown hair and paler skin.

Do we tell Germans who they are? Do we tell Chinese people who they are? No. We let them define themselves. It's really upsetting that people don't understand this.

Germans and Chinese do not get to ram one of the largest casinos on the face of this planet down the throats of a community that does not want it, or where they do not and probably never will live... much, come to think of it, like you.

You claim you're "tired of it?" Not half as tired as we get of being lied to, used, abused and ignored by that precious sovereign nation you care so much about... particularly since you don't live here and won't have to contend with the massive negative effects of your tribe's criminal enterprise.

We do not want your casino here. You obviously don't give damn one about us.... why should we give a rat's ass about you?

Since you asked.


Justine said...

I'm not saying that I necessarily agree with a casino, but I am saying that amends need to be made. This has been done in the past when the U.S. interned Japanese-Americans in places like the Puyallup fair grounds for no good reason.

You're talking about an entire culture that was forced off of their land. What if I told you that I would pay you for about 10% of the worth of your house and if you didn't like it, too bad? That's what happened to my tribe. We offered pennies for our acres and refused and had our land taken away from us anyway so we were forced to integrate into the white settler community, therefore losing much of culture and heritage.

Unfortunately, money is needed to help bring back some of this culture and research. In the past few years, for example, we've hired a linguist to write down our language before that was lost forever.

Please don't make assumptions about a person you've never met. You wouldn't know that I'm a pediatric ICU nurse that hopes to go to graduate school to become a pediatric nurse practitioner to serve some of the rural southwestern Washington population.

My Dad grew up in a poor family and joined the military to gain an education, so yes, I don't live there and didn't when I was growing up until I went to high school and college. But my heart lies in Washington and I intend to raise my future children there.

I'm sorry that you're so angry. I might be frustrated in your circumstance, but I would understand that one can't ignore the obliteration of a society and not make amends for it, even if it wasn't directly my fault.

Mikst said...

Blood quantum is not a Native American concept and it was quite common for different tribes to intermarry among each other. It was actually a source of pride.

For many reasons blood quantum is a flawed concept and has nothing to do due with the character of people. It is tiring to keep hearing about this issue over and over.

Also, where do you get your information that David Barnett is 1/64 anyways? Why does this even matter?

A number cannot ever define someone's heritage. You are either one thing or you are not, it is as simple as that. Everyone carries the heritage of their parents and that is something that will never go away.

For example, I am Corsican (in addition to other things), just like my mother, her mother, and like my son is. No one in my direct family line will ever stop being Corsican, just like no one can ever stop being Native American.

I am sorry that most Cowlitz people do not fit your stereotype of the "leathers and feathers" Indian and that they were not willing to inbreed with their own family to maintain some arbitrary number.