Matthias: blog
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How much blood does it take to be an Indian? Mittwoch, 09. Februar 2005, 19:52:42

The Ward Churchill mess is entertaining, outrageous, and depressing at the same time. I'm sure everybody's covered just about every possible angle in this sorry affair. What strikes me is this piece by one Stuart Steers, Rocky Mountain News, on the American Indian Movement (AIM) website:

To be a full-fledged member of the Keetoowah, a person has to prove he or she is at least one-fourth Cherokee. Churchill has never had such a membership. Only full members are allowed to vote, hold office and receive tribal privileges. Churchill has cited his associate membership in the tribe as proof of his Cherokee roots. He told The Denver Post on Wednesday he is three-sixteenths Cherokee. In the past, he has described himself as one-sixteenth Cherokee and also claimed to have Creek Indian blood.

So you guys are actually arguing over the exact fraction of "Cherokee blood" in this guy's veins? Considering the fact that physical race is a figment of our collective imagination, this whole argument is bullshit. It doesn't mean a thing. I have to agree with what Professor Tinker is being quoted as having said here:

"Tracking blood lines is the business of Nazi Germany and South Africa (under apartheid)," said professor George Tinker, who teaches American Indian culture and religious tradition at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. "That's not an Indian issue at all."

Of course I don't know much about Native Indian politics, but it looks like they're no better than other kinds of politics. No reason to believe they should be, either.