APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2007-04 > 1176207415
From: "Barbara J. Mathews" <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Georgia court case question/ Removal of Indiandisabilities
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 08:16:55 -0400
> I suppose a lot of Native Americans did what my distant grandmothers
> did: they married white men and then claimed their darkness was due
> to "Portuguese" or "Mexican" ancestry.
Your words unfortunately hold weight today, too. My daughter is Native
American. As a youngster in YMCA summer camp, she found it much easier to
say she was Italian-American. That didn't require explanations and she
didn't have to know Spanish to make it work.
Now that she is in high school, she is just starting to be able to claim who
she is. This isn't just an external society thing, some of it is internal to
her. Even though she has close native friends and participates in the native
community here in Massachusetts, a part of her doesn't want to be different
from everyone else in middle or high school. There, everyone else is Asian,
Hispanic, or white. The statistics on the percentage of Native kids in her
primary school were 0.5%. Since there were 500 kids, that basically just
I remember going with her to a steakhouse in Salt Lake City out on West
Temple. She was about four years old, so this was a dozen years ago. There
were manniquins in scenes of the Wild West in the restuarant lobby area. One
scene was a drunken Indian in jail. This was just plain hard to take in even
if meant as a joke.
So, being a Native living in white suburban society still isn't a piece of
cake, either from inside oneself or in society as a whole. It is better, in
that the legal situation doesn't so quickly assign a secondary status as it
did early in the last century.
Now, I really do not mean this as a rant. Nor do I mean this to start a
discussion. We're all aware that white European society and Native Americans
have a long and sad and dismaying and death-filled history and none of us
can argue with that. But we are making a future here and it is better and we
are trying our best both as Natives and as whites and we have made progress.
I just wanted to say that Carolyn was quite right about what her ancestors
did and that -- at least when my daughter was young -- I've seen it happen
here, today, too.
|Re: [APG] Georgia court case question/ Removal of Indiandisabilities by "Barbara J. Mathews" <>|