In Which I Write Some Poems...on my Iphone...and forget they are there until I rediscover them while trying to find my password to HBO-GO
Here is my list of ways that I answer the old "how much?" question
You're native? How much?
You couldn't afford alllll thisssssss.
1$ for the first minute, $1.50 for each additional minute.
My BIA blood quantum chart is somewhere in my filing cabinet at home...sorry.
Let me consult my handy, dandy scientific, fraction calculator right quick.
Just the left half of me. (Better rhythm on the left side.)
Just the top half of me. (Higher cheekbones, long...range...vision.)
All of me except this hand. This hand is straight up white and enjoys polo and high tea and diet coke and teevas and Subarus and other white people stuff.
Also, that's none of your business.
You're native? How much?
Actually, that question is quite offensive.
Based on colonial interpretations of what it means to be native. In fact, you are probably asking for my degree of Indian blood, as established by the blood quantum principle which holds that a Native person is made up of a percentage of native blood and when mixed with any other "blood" or race, their children loose an amount equal to exactly 1/2 of the previous total amount. Of course, all white people are full blooded white, which encompasses to most, nearly all European and some Meditteranean countries. Mixed raced children are therefore products of "white, just white, only white" and a "full blooded or mixed blood or lost blood Native."
The entire system was created as a way to establish "scientifically"
the eventual (hopeful, probable, please, please please) extinction of Native people.
Blood quantum is designed as a losing game.
Eventually all Native people will cease to exist, which solves the "Indian problem"
It's not real.
I can't receive a blood transfusion from a white person and suddenly become white. It's an entirely made up system that has been adopted as having some type of meaning but is actually the worlds greatest colonial hoax that Native people have embraced.
It's none of your business.
The above images are from "Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir" by Deborah Miranda. She writes: "Do you have extra BIA Blood Quantum charts left over from those heady days of proving up? Don't just waste them; use every part! Here are some ideas to get your started." If you haven't gotten her book -- DO IT.
15 ways I knew that I was a "real" Native American while I was growing up (a list I wrote after someone asked me "But, were you raised like in a real Native American way?" Whatever that means...)
1. My mom and dad told me that I was.
2. I had a weird name.
3. I had long brown hair that I wore in braids. Sometimes kids would pull them and ask me where my bow and arrow was and I would respond "if they were up your butt you'd know."
4. My grandmother had diabetes and only drank diet soda and chewed carefree sugarless gum.
5. I knew, for a fact, that eating too much sugar free candy gives you really awful diarrhea. #DontAsk
6. When I was little and I would talk back to my mom or whine about having to help in the yard or say something snotty my Grandmother would say "stop acting like a white girl."
7. Commod cheese is the best cheese (everybody knows that) but little known fact - commod peanut butter makes the best peanut butter cookies (with commod shortening).
8. People were afraid I would never get married because I suck at making fry bread.
9. When they realized I was pretty good at fileting and cooking a salmon they felt a little less worried.
10. My Uncle told me a lot of "guess what chicken butt" jokes. Actually, I guess it's just the one joke. "Guess what?" "Chicken butt..." told many times. My favorite joke he told me I can't remember, I only remember the punch line: "liquor, but I barely even know her!" I think it involved a priest and a nun.
11. The first time I ever drove it was an El Camino coasting down the road coming into the rez. In college someone would ask me "what's your dream car" and I would say "el camino" and they would give me a weird look because their dream car was a Maserati.
12. Sometimes we would have to leave school early to attend the Boat Dance or the Deerskin Dance or the Jump Dance.
13. When I would tell my Grandma "I'm so bored" she would say "ooooh, so you want to clean pine nuts!"
14. In the sixth grade we read some book about this Indian guy who had a secret name or something that nobody could ever say or his magical Indian powers would disappear and something bad would happen. After we read that book a whole bunch of kids followed me around the playground trying to get me to tell them my secret Indian name.
15. It's "none of your business."
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Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. She received her PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She is also a writer, mother, volunteer Executive Director for the Native Women's Collective and is currently re-watching My Name is Earl...
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