Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fauxcahontas, Grey Owl, and Dull 'Hawk

So, professional archator Elizabeth Warren may have a trace of Native DNA-- assuming the expert who interpreted the results of her DNA test isn't politically motivated to confirm (however trivially) her claims. A trace doesn't make her Native.

If it was an honest mistake on her part, that's easy to understand.

If it was an intentional lie, it was worse than that of Grey Owl. Much worse.

She used the claim, whether an honest mistake or a lie, as some sort of entitlement to govern people other than herself. That's wrong on every level.

My mountainman name, Dull 'Hawk, has been mistaken for an "indian name", but I've never claimed it is. It's just the mountainman style. I have a respect for many Native things, while not idealizing them in any way.

I had been told my whole life that I had Native ancestry. From both sides. My dad's adoption paperwork even said so. But a couple of years ago, both my parents had DNA analysis done, and there's not a trace from either of them. (So much for government record inerrancy.)

I was surprised, but it really made no difference.

I am curious whether, had our DNA samples been somehow mixed up, the expert who examined and interpreted Ms. Warren's DNA would have found evidence of Native ancestry in a sample of my DNA which he thought was hers.

When I believed I had Native ancestry I didn't use that belief as an excuse to bully, boss, or otherwise govern anyone. I didn't use that belief for gain. I had Native friends who opened their arms to me, asking unprompted if I had Native blood, and I said I thought I had a little, but that wasn't the basis of our friendship. Two of them have said I have a "Native Spirit". Not that I believe in such things, but I accept the compliment in the spirit in which it was offered.

Yes, I like wearing buckskin and bone (or dentalium) chokers, but I've never claimed it was for any reason but that I liked them and it was a mountainman style. Same with my long hair. And, if asked now whether I have any Native blood, I would say "no". But I'm still me, and since I never tried to use it to my advantage or as an excuse to get anything from anyone, my conscience is clear. I was mistaken; now I know better. No harm done.

I wonder how Ms. Warren's conscience feels, assuming a professional archator has one which functions.

Reminder: I could very much use some help.

This blog is my job.
"I do the job... I get paid."


  1. So if you're not native, where are you from?

    1. I'm native; not Native. Not indian, aboriginal, "First Nations" or whatever the term is these days. For whatever that's worth.

    2. Meh. Everyone in American either came here from some place else or their ancestors did -- and that latter fairly recently in the scheme of things.

      I'm pretty sure I have some ancestors who came over the Bering land bridge instead of catching a later boat, but I don't see that that makes me any more or less native/foreign than anyone else who was born here.

    3. I agree. It doesn't entitle anyone to anything, or change your rights in any way. It's just a matter of which ancient people you got some of your mix of DNA from. That matters to some people, not so much to others. It's like how it has always excited me to think I probably have some Neanderthal DNA-- it doesn't matter, it's just a cool connection to the past. I'll "culturally appropriate" whatever I appreciate, from wherever and whoever.