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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

What the f*** is a "state" Indian??? Don't diss your own people!

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I have noticed that there are several groups on MySpace that are listing many groups of people as "fake Indians" and a whole list of other disrespectful names. Whenever I see a posting like that, I immediately delete the group from my "friends list" and I encourage you to do the same.

A good man from my tribe (Warrior Wolf - Echota Cherokee of Alabama) and my other elders always say the right things to inspire me. Whenever I feel like giving up, I seek wisdom from my elders and they always come through for me.

Warrior Wolf posted a bulletin that made me think about this issue of disrespecting people based on how they look, how they live, or who they know. I left a comment, but I wanted to share it with everyone:

Warrior Wolf wrote:
Be strong and have courage. The wolves will protect their own.
Remember who you are and all you are.
Our ancestors fought hard for everything and even though many died, they died proud and they died for us.

Note: Many of us had ancestors who hid what they really were to avoid certain persecution and instant removal to strange lands that were later taken from our people anyway. We are now in a position to be all that we can be and live as our ancestors would have wanted us to live.

Let's honor them and be CHEROKEE!

Here is my comment:

You bring up a very good point. Many people don't know that until very recently, it was illegal to be an "Indian" in Alabama. Many true Indians lied about their heritage to avoid imprisonment and death.

Another important point is that it isn't an ID card that you carry that makes you a Cherokee - it is the blood flowing through your veins. Being a member of a "state" recognized tribe doesn't make you a 2nd class citizen.

If you lived in New York, would you apply for a drivers license from California? Of course not. They may give you the same privileges and have the same criteria - but you would apply for the one where you live.

This same principle applies to "State Indians" - I was born in Alabama so my family is registered in Alabama - not North Carolina or Oklahoma. We have the same blood as any other Cherokee and so we are all one big family. Those groups who don't acknowledge "state" Indians are denying their own brothers and sisters.

We need to honor our ancestors and the sacrifices they made for us. We have now finally reached a point in history that we can preserve our language and culture for posterity. We also have the power to unite as one people and the help each other create the next chapter of our people's history. Despite all of the horrible things that we have suffered through, I pray that the final chapter of our people's story is going to have a happy ending. It is up to us to write the next chapter.

As I used to say in the military, "What have you done for my country today???"

-- Gary Wright II

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