Sunday, 24 July 2016

Questions of identity

What defines Native American identity?

Is it enrollment in a tribe/band?
Is it possession of a blood quantum?
Is it family, friends and residence on tribal lands?

The biggest non-Native allies of Native Americans are on the left of American politics and yet many Natives see white Americans as illegal immigrants in their country - a stance more in line with the American right - as outlined by a Donald Trump supporter to Alex Jones recently.

What makes someone an immigrant?
How far back does "legality" go?

I am a white, Anglo-European Lawful Permanent Resident in these United States. That is the legal framework to my not being sent back to England by the US Federal Government. Yet, I never sought or received permission from the Lakota or Ojibwe to stay on their lands.

Such a step is deemed unnecessary by the federal government, founded by English settlers and bolstered by multiple waves of immigration by invite, as well as waves of immigration by necessity for poorly paid jobs.

I'm an anarchist, therefore my ideal world would not include borders and restrictions on where people could live. I'm also a pacifist, so that world would see peaceful settlement of all races - not violent conquest followed by generations of anger and dispossession.

Identity would be a voluntary decision and a matter of co-operation with your chosen group.

I'm the editor for Niijii Radio. I was recently greeted by a station founder with "oh, you're the British guy".

We'll see what my identity becomes.