Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Go Ahead, Call Me Pocahontas

I don’t see the issue with Elizabeth Warren's DNA much different than Trump’s birther movement against President Obama. Trump, and people of his ilk, made such brouhaha that Barack Obama finally had his long form birth certificate made public in 2011, because he considered it was causing a distraction, of which he thought to put an end. Did it make any difference? No, birthers claimed it was a forgery and, to this day, maintain their position.

It wasn’t enough for Elizabeth Warren to say she had empathy for Native Americans because she grew up being told she had Indian blood. Conservative talk show hosts went berserk, grasping any small item they can blow into an outrage. Trump publicly stated he would donate $1 million to a charity of her choice if Warren took a DNA test to prove her heritage. When she acquiesced, he didn’t donate. Surprise.

I grew up with a father who always told us he was part Indian (Native American was not a part of our vernacular at the time.) My mom told me that when she brought him home to introduce him to my grandparents, they referred to him at a half-breed, though he was only 1/16th

My grandparents, like Warren’s grandparents, were not all too happy when my mother showed up with an older black-haired man, whom she’d met three weeks prior, and declared their engagement. Props to my grandparents; they accepted my dad and grew to love him. 

My mother was religious, went to church on Sundays and dragged us children with her, though Dad rarely attended, only when it was a whole family affair, like a baptism, wedding, or funeral. He told me his church was the woods and he worshiped the mountain (Rainier), the stars, sun and moon. He didn’t believe you could easily find God within four walls. 

We knew my great-great-grandmother was Pocahontas. Not the real Pocahontas, my dad would tell us, and that was not her real name, he insisted. Years later, I discovered that women were called Pocahontas during censuses and on marriage certificates, when they couldn’t spell their name, speak English, their husband spoke for them, or they simply didn’t speak up. It was common practice, as calling an Indian woman squaw was completely acceptable, though there is much debate about the use and meaning of squaw. I was called papoose from my earliest memories. It was never said with malice or negativity.

For Elizabeth Warren to be taking heat for claiming her own DNA seems to me just another media circus; I don’t care which side makes claims against her. It has Trump rubbing his hands together with more broken promises and unmitigated glee. Another thing to distract us from real issues, such as 50 white male students of the graduating class of 2019 of Baraboo High School in Wisconsin standing on the Sauk County Courthouse steps with the majority  giving a Nazi sieg heil salute. Comments on the incident have been made by many, from the Democratic Governor-elect of Wisconsin, to the photographer who regretfully took the photo, but the fact remains. Trump has unleashed hatred and malevolence in our country and it’s beyond bullying and pussy grabbing.

Thanks for reading.

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