Indigenous Caribbean Network

Senator Charles Brown: Speaking of Indians, what is your definition of an Indian?

Mrs. Jane Penn: (Morongo California Reservation) Briefly, I would say a person who is half could be either one, but when you get less than half you are more of one than you are of another.


Senator Brown: I just wanted to know that question came up...

Mrs. Penn: for different purposes the government classifies them as one eighth,one quarter without giving us a true definition. . . I believe a person more than half, would be that but in our case, (on our reservation) we have one sixteenth (and one thirty second)

Mr Leonard M Hill (Sacramento area director, Bureau of Indian affairs):
To answer that Senator, there is no definition contemplated under this act.
I think I mentioned it that the government itself has that question before it., trying to find some definition of an Indian. There was a bill presented to congress last session which made a definition that any one with less than half blood was not an Indian and is not entitled to services. They are still talking about it in the Department of the Interior, and in the congressional committees on how to define an Indian. . . and it is not possible under our multiplcity of laws and regulations to define it. You have to look for the purpose of which you are trying trying to define an Indian. . . .for some purposes. . .he must be quarter-blood and live on trust land. for educational purposes. . . he must be quarter blood or more. . . I just think there is any definition that you can give to an Indian. . . . He is an Indian for some purposes and for other purposes he isn't an Indian, so there just isn't any clear definition.

Seanator Way: I think we should have a definition of an Indian who comes under this act.

Mr. Hill: Well sir, a definition in. . .the act defines a tribal group of Indians and I believe it states those Indians that reside on and have an interest in Trust Property.

Senator Way: I still don't know what is a person that is described as an Indian.. . .

Mr Hill: I am sorry I cannot make a definition. . . We in the Indian bureau are concerned with this also.

WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO DEFINE AN NDIAN

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Louis, that must be in the blood. Cause every time I saw an indian movie even though they were playing the bad guys. I was always was cheering for the indians. I would get really upset.

I get the same thing. Poeple like your mestizo you should acknowlege the caucasoin side. Im like why, that alway get acknowlege. It our native side that doesnt. Especially us who are of taino anecstory. But happy to see that you hold on to your native roots. Sadly I dont bring it up as much as I should. It not untill I am asked if I have indian that I say something about it. Or they say hey you dont look dominican you look like your from south america. I have even had native americans tell me I should not use that mestizo label. Lucky I met Jorge Esteves. Who is doing great work not only for dominican tainos but for all the tainos. Even though I have alway been aware of my native roots. It wasnt untill I met him that I learned more of our taino ancestors.

The other thing i wanted to say. The african gene is very dominant. I met a dude who obviously looks like a light skin black man to many. But i asked if he was indian. Cause he had many of my traits. My eyes and check bones. His eyes were very slanted. But he didnt look chinese. He pulled out is registerd card. He was 1/4 african american and the rest native american. He even lived in a reservations in his youth he told me. I wish your picture was more of a close up. But even thoug its not I can diffently see native traits. You eyeglasses seem to be flushed on your cheekbones. I dont wear glasses but the same happens to me if I have shades on. It harder to tell on the native that have more black than you. I hope you dont get offended. I dont think your half in half. I think you have less african. Many african ameican dna show that they are about 60% african and the rest white. Many look alot more black than you do.
Hey my brother, I just accepted your friendship invite. Thanx. No dought hopefully in the future we will meet. Even though we are from diffent island we share the same taino blood. This makes us blood brother. More Dominican, Puerto rican and cubans need to know that even though we are from diffrent island. We are more like brothers and sister than we are neighbors.

Good I didnt want to offend you. I understand when people are proud of there african ancestory There is nothing wrong with that. But I feel that if you have native anccestry. And especially in your case where the native probably outweights the african its shouldnt be denied.
One of the sovereignty issues concerning Native American nations is that they also get to define who is an Indian for their purposes. For some it can be as little as 1/2056 "Indian blood." For some it depends on who your mother was, for others who your father was, and for others just the fact that you were born on the reservation. This is one reason that DNA testing has hit a brick wall in some cases, since the tests can prove Indian ancestry, but not prove it the way some tribes require it to be proven which is with specific documentation of your ancestral line on the father's or mother's side, depending on the tribal nation. You have to admit, Indian identity is one of the most legislated, regulated, debated identities in the world -- I think many must get fed up with having to try to prove who they know they are, and it really is oppressive for some to have to do so.
proving who you are in order to be legitimate to any outside government, for the purposes of that government does not make you indigenous or non-indigenous
I have a brother who is Nanticoke. They are state recognized but not federally recognized.

One of their tribal members was arrested on felony charges; he had eagle feathers and was transporting them over state lines (from one powwow to another).

He's not federally recognized so is not "allowed" to have raptor feathers and freedom of religion doesn't cover him either, because for Native religion protection you MUST be native from a federally recognized tribe.

Talk about a catch 22! Max was on the ball when he said that Indian identity must be one of the most argued issues in the world!!

As far as I am aware, the tribes can adopt into tribal enrollment as well, even without blood quantifiers...
By all means, this is assumed among the people... I thought we were talking about government recognition....

You can't do much assuming when it comes to the government.LOL!

Found this interesting article on line

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