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Identity among American Indians - Essay Example

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In the paper “Identity among American Indians” the author analyzes an identity crisis within the various American Indian tribes whose membership is determined by the degree of tribal blood that an individual has. Their culture and identity are being eroded with the growing influence of Western culture…
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Identity among American Indians
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Download file to see previous pages outdated practice as the quantum blood policy can be seen not only as a way for the federal government to reduce the number of Indians who are dependent on its support but also as a way of eventually forcing the dissolution of Indian tribal groupings in time and the eventual assimilation into the mainstream American way of life. In reality, the majority, if not all, the current Indians can be said to be of mixed blood to a certain degree. Miscegenation between European settlers and Indians began within the first century of European arrival in North America and has continued since then to modern times. Moreover, as the other racial groups came to America, they also inevitably mixed with the Indians. In the 2000 census more than 1.6 million American Indians reported descent from two or more races and at the beginning of the twenty first century, at least 40% of American Indians were of mixed blood. The lives of Indians is always complicated by the non Indian opinion of how the Indians should look and act because they are often envisioned as noble savages and are expected to look and act just the way their ancestors did during the time of the Pilgrims at Plymouth or as they are depicted in books and movies. What most people in America do not realize is that the Indians have developed and adapted to the modern world just as they themselves have and that their cultures today are not so different to be distinguishable. It is a fact that many of them live and work in the urban areas of America and that they are so well assimilated that it would be very hard to actually recognize them to be phenotypic Indians. A large number of Indians are marrying outside their own communities and in doing so, the number of mixed race Indians has also increased dramatically. This brings us...
Some Indians identify very strongly with their native cultures and actively participate in them while others are all for the abandonment of their culture and see the adoption of mainstream American culture as the only way to secure their future. There are others who take a stand in the middle believing that the best course is to adopt the best from both Indian and American cultures and use them as a basis for their future. The majority of those who support the latter are mixed blood Indians who tend to identify with both cultures but are unable to comfortably fit within either culture. Most of the young unemployed Indians in the reservations would prefer to abandon their culture and go to the cities where they feel that there are better opportunities for them than in the reservations. There are however some Indians who have experienced mainstream American culture and have not found it to be fulfilling. This has led to their rediscovery of their native culture and their participation in it which has filled a void within them.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that the current means of identifying and determining who can be considered an Indian and who cannot should be changed. It is my belief that all people with Indian blood, however minimal should be identified as an Indian because doing otherwise as it is being done today is very discriminatory. It should be remembered that no race in the world, whether red, black, white, or yellow, is genetically pure because over the ages, racial mixing has been inevitable. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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