What kind of insult is “Aborigine”?

Unless in the minds of Whites like Scott Beason, and Black American politicians, Native Americans are inferior to both, in the USA’s “racial hierarchy.” Or perhaps Australian Aborigines are? But late Native American scholar Jack Forbes (an extremely distant cousin of mine) theorized that most historic USA Blacks have Indian ancestry, and proposed research into the ‘Red Roots’ of much of Black culture. Even before I read him, I’d heard that 40 percent of Black Americans know of Indian ancestors … which suggested to me that a majority at least had them.

It’s also curious to me that Beason seems to allow that people who aren’t identified as “Indians” here can still be “Aborigines.” That’s almost a Canadian (Horrors!) usage of the word: They use “Aboriginal” as an umbrella term for Indians, Inuit (aka Eskimos), and Metis. What a concept!

Biblical Judges: Chiefs?

So say some Jewish scholarsOne per “Tribe” of the traditional 12 Tribes of Ancient Israel?  Maybe even a permanent office in each Tribe, versus the occasional charismatic commander we’re told about?  Some of whom were more noteworthy than most?  (How many Presidents, Monarchs, or Prime Ministers of any one country can you name?!)

I know enough Hebrew to know Professor Sarfatti isn’t out on a limb here (no pun intended!).  Conflating shevet and shofet?  Consider that every Sunday School class — or Hebrew School — has been asked, “Why are they called judges?”  We see them as military commanders, prophets, philosophers, power-lifters, lovers….  The answer is, They might not have been called “judges” as the word has been most commonly understood in the centuries since then!

Maybe King James should’ve sent the Old Testament by his translators one more time!  Then again, a Biblical book of “Chiefs” or “Chieftains” around that time, the early 1600s, might’ve made Irish or American Indians look too favorable for His Majesty’s comfort … or rather, that of his wicked counsellors….

It’s a minor semantic point.  The roles and deeds of the particular Israelite Chiefs upheld in Judges are clear enough for Scriptures’ purposes.  But since the English words chief, chieftain, chiefdom, etc., are today so identified with Indigenous Peoples, Scottish Clans, Irish Septs, and other oppressed people, “Speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”

What do we see, then, in pre-Monarchy Israel?  Twelve or so loosely-affiliated “Tribes,” or rather, Chiefs, each with his “staff” or “scepter,” literally and figuratively — the Tribe.  “Tribal Sovereignty,” even!  With him, various officials, aides, counselors.  And within each Tribe, Clans, Houses, and so forth.  And a God Who opposed a permanent royal federation under an earthly king: The Israelites’ problem in Judges isn’t that they keep getting harried by their neighbors, but that they keep slacking-off in their devotion to Him Who Is, so He lets them have their way, and they get the stuffing beat out of them — rightly, we are to believe, since who knows better than God how to do anything?!  Their problem isn’t geopolitics, it’s Theology.  (Even these gentlemen agree today.)  Doesn’t God say so often throughout Scripture?  Early Israel’s throne was atop the Ark of the Covenant, not in “a cedar palace.”

And so should we who are “Judeo-Christians” today continue to adjudge the ups and downs of our favorite “nations”: My sins, not anybody else’s, not any other nations either.

(I know: “Joshua Chiefs Ruth” doesn’t have the ring of “Joshua Judges Ruth”….)

Lumbee Indians near Federal Recognition

That’s Heather Locklear‘s tribe.*  They believe they do it by swearing-off casinos they say they’ve never been interested in anyway.  Like my Nanticokes and many other East Coast tribes who’ve borne the brunt of the colonization of what is currently the U.S. the longest, Lumbees have been heavily intermarried for many generations. 

Issues around racialism, after 518 years of European-American politician and governmental influence and oppression, have unfortunately penetrated parts of America’s Native community also, hence the references in some WWW comments to certain Tribes or individuals as Black or White or “Wannabes,” attempting to deny their Indianness.  This is despite the claim of U.S. “Indian Law” and every Federally-Recognized Tribe that their Sovereignty gives them the inherent right to regulate their citizenship just like any other nation; tragically this basic U.S. law is contradicted by other laws, such as Congressionally-supported regulatory Recognition criteria requiring a nearly-Amish level of endogamy thruout the Tribe’s recorded history, and remaining in a small geographical area, despite the violent, racist, anti-Indigenous, economic, and cultural pressures of the Settler polities.  (Their own Common Law stipulates that a criminal should not profit from his crime, yet these crimes go studiously and dishonorably unpunished in a tradition as old as British settlement here.)

Anyway, Many Years to the Lumbee Nation!  And their website!

*–(Locklear is a frequent surname among Lumbees.)

Looking down on State Recognition of Indian Tribes?

Sure, it’s not the same as a Treaty … er, Supreme Court ruling … er, Executive Order … er, Act of Congress … er, BIA ruling….

OK, now we realize anything government (pretends to) give* it can and will take away.

Be that as it may, check out what some Metis in Alberta, Canada, have got themselves!

(*–Including “recognize” as “inherent from time immemorial,” am I right?!)

Update from Buffalo Commons

from NY Times Magazine in 2006, an intriguing ‘surface-level,’ face-to-face, “up close and personal” *  encounter with the emptying Plains.

The article isn’t a very enticing ad for a region theoretically trying to attract ‘new homesteaders’ or semi-homesteaders not already from or IN such a place, if you get what I mean.  But does it have to be hopeless?

Indians said a century or more ago that it really was (all due respect to the writer) more desert than farmland….  The Dust Bowl just added insult to injury.  There are a couple large Reservations near the communities featured, Fort Berthold and Fort Peck Reservations, that maybe could be asked about helping ‘re-vision’ the larger region’s future ISTM.

More conventionally, the Dakotas are already home to “National Grasslands” that maybe could be a future attracting visitors … and wildlife … maybe even hunters … and/or bison or other ranching.

Going out on a limb, let me say as one American who’s never been to ND that winter there sounds intolerable to most Yanks!  At least Alaska has windbreaks (trees, mountains…), mild Pacific currents and breezes, etc.  HOWEVER: Remember that scene in the recent HBO remake of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee where the Mountie welcomes Sitting Bull across the Border in Queen Victoria’s name with the polite warning, “The winters get pretty cold up here — This isn’t Dakota!”?  I’m sure some scriptwriter had tongue planted firmly in cheek at that point.  But my world atlas’s climate maps suggest a kernel of truth after all: ND as a little bit warmer than most of Canada, and drier than most of Settler Canada … you know, that ribbon of population that stays pretty much within 200 miles of the Border, from Nova Scotia to Vancouver?  I mention drier since they say Manitoba’s provincial bird is the mosquito!  So, a “modest proposal”?: Instead of being America’s Icebox, how about … well … The Fridge, to the Rest of Canada’s Icebox!?  If North Dakota became the 11th Province (ND residents might prefer the sociopolitical approach of this post!  And spooky: exactly two years ago…!), right away it’d have nearly the same population as New Brunswick, well larger than Newfoundland-and-Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, respectively — two provinces also losing residents.  And long term, I’d imagine lots of Manitoba and Saskatchewan folk moving south now that they could do so without changing countries … followed by Alberta Oil Sands layoffs once the world starts recovering from its hydrocarbon addiction.  (Many Sands workers are the expatriates from Atlantic Canada, where it IS less cold in winter than Alberta, though wetter … and increasingly desolate of Settlers’ descendants.)

And provincehood isn’t even necessary ISTM.  MB and SK are sometimes referred to as “North America’s socialist heartland,” traditionally strongholds of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), actually social democratic rather than strictly socialist.  Point being, a healthy sense of the Common Good — not unlike many ND’ans’ ancestral Scandinavia — and they just might open their bleeding hearts to ND’s economic needs, especially if ND were to join one or both provinces.  Either way, sounds like a Win-Win proposition, eh?

Otherwise, I guess some version of the “Buffalo Commons” idea will pretty much replace ND.  And/Or some version of the outstanding Great Sioux Nation claim.  Waving grasses, thundering herds, fenced-in towns if any at all, elevated highways/railroads if any, Tribal Villages / ranches / farms…. 

Your call.

(*–…what with the Olympics coming up and all…)

Census 2010: Further thoughts

occasioned by Native American students in Idaho and an ’08 MSNBC piece on the increasing profile of ‘mixed-race/multiracial’ folks, what with Obama and all.

Black Indians at Smithsonian

Specifically, the National Museum of the American Indian.  Fascinating, maddening, enlightening, racist and anti-racist, historical and anti-historical discussion among the Comments, too!

Here’s the exhibit’s website.

Speaking as a controverted Nanticoke (who doesn’t qualify for Indian Assn. membership at this time AFAIK) who also likes his Irish background too, the U.S. Metis Identity movement looks more and more appealing….

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