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Cate Denial @cjdenial
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.@badndns begins session on DNA and Elizabeth Warren with a land acknowledgement of the local Native communities. Introduces the panelists: @BettyRbl, @JeaniOBrien, @Doug_Kiel, @malindalowery, and Julie Reed.
.@BettyRbl Talk today focuses on a feminist issue: the marginalization of Native women within the gendered violence of a settler colonial system. Will focus on the use of the name Pocahontas as a slur, and its effect on Native women.
.@BettyRbl Establishes the chronology of the Elizabeth Warren controversy. 2012 campaign: articles printed about EW's alleged Native heritage.
.@BettyRbl "It is time we moved onto the important issues facing middle-class families in Massachusetts." - Warren staffer.
.@BettyRbl 2018 before Warren confronted the terminology used as a slur against her.
.@BettyRbl Within settler colonial society, "Native women are expected to disappear."
@BettyRbl The 2020 presidential campaign promises to expand misogynistic demands of settler colonialism on Native women.
.@Doug_Kiel In work as historian, committed to advancing a more nuanced understanding of race, indigeneity, sovereignty
.@Doug_Kiel Warren etc - urgent conversation. Most Americans lack an understanding of Native nationhood. This is a problem. Most Americans can spend their whole lives without historical and political literacy about Native America.
.@Doug_Kiel Many Native elected officials are not particularly concerned about Warren. Warrens is just one of many Americans who claims Native kinship. But Warren fundamentally disregards systems of sovereignty. Native nations have a right to weigh in on issues of kinship.
.@Doug_Kiel Everyone should read @KimTallBear on DNA - DNA testing cannot prove that someone has Cherokee ties consistently or reliably.
.@Doug_Kiel Warren says scientists have the answer to her heritage, not the Cherokee themselves. (This is not a defense of blood quantum.) Warren appeals to ideas of race that are not connected to ideas of kinship.
.@Doug_Kiel "Blood quantum" is a European anxiety/fixation. The idea of purity of blood has links back to the Spanish Inquisition. Gradually became an idea of permanent racial identification.
.@Doug_Kiel "Blood quantum" is European pseudo-science. It's a story that inflicts pain, and which does not acknowledge the definitions of membership defined by Native communities themselves.
.@Doug_Kiel Blood quantum inflicts a paradox on Native communities. The vexing notion of "Indian" blood is tangled with nationhood because of settler colonialism.
.@Doug_Kiel Blood quantum flattens indigeneity into a "simple" question of blood. (Non-Natives defining who is Native.)
.@Doug_Kiel Warren disregards the Cherokee people on questions of her membership, and prefers to tell her own story.
.@malindalowery Thanks to Senator Warren's announcement this week, she has a new website which starts by upholding claims about her Indian heritage. This is now an urgent part of the 2020 presidential campaign.
.@malindalowery there is a fundamental conflict between liberal democracy and the political systems of Native communities. Individualism is not the same as the kinship of Native communities, and the central concept of reciprocity.
.@malindalowery Tribal and national politics are complicated by ideas of blood quantum. Warren is a visible case of 'I have a Native ancestor' folklore, which always erases Native actors.
.@malindalowery DNA testing is not the first time a "scientific" method of upholding racial identity has been used by the US state. Eugenics in the early 20th century is another example.
.@malindalowery Measurements of head width to head length contributed to a "racial diagnosis" akin to a diagnosis of a disease. Lips, hair, teeth, noses - all measured. Supposedly would identify "full blood" Native people. Led to fraud and widespread dispossession of Native land
.@malindalowery All part of a hierarchy of race in which white people were at the top and African Americans were posited to be at the very bottom. Eugenics fueled genocidal policies.
.@malindalowery 1936 and 1937 - hundreds of Lumbees examined for racial identification. Color of skin, color of hair, length from shoulder to hip, breadth of chest etc Examination intimate. Supposedly a scientific method to figure out race.
.@malindalowery 22 people of 209 examined = "full blood". Absurd. Punishing consequences for Lumbee people.
.@malindalowery This "racial science" has had a direct effect on their ability to establish sovereignty that the federal government will recognize.
.@malindalowery Warren's folkloric heritage is deeply connected to these racist policies; DNA can be wielded like eugenics. DNA has nothing to do with kinship or reciprocity, which are central to Native communities.
.@malindalowery The conflation of race and identity poisons Native nations' ability to control their membership.
.@JeaniOBrien While the buzz around Warren has been around for some time, her DNA test elevated the spectacle to new heights.
.@JeaniOBrien Indigenous scholars have been deluged with media inquiries (none more than @KimTallBear ) taking them away from their own work.
.@JeaniOBrien "Blood quantum" is a hoary spectacle, connected to ideas of racial purity. Fraudulent claims to Native citizenship are common. General public widely misunderstands Native sovereignty.
.@JeaniOBrien Native people are the voices of authority about who is Native, not scientists in a lab coat. The Cherokee have clearly said Warren is not Cherokee. To claim Cherokee connection is appropriation. It's not about who you claim, it's about who claims you.
.@JeaniOBrien Warren uses her Cherokee family connections to frame her raggedy-edge middle-class status. An 'up by the boot-straps' story.
.@JeaniOBrien Tribal sovereignty is the issue. Warren talks about heritage, ancestry etc. Does not talk about nationhood and sovereignty.
.@JeaniOBrien Warrens claims are about a cultural identification, fueled by family stories (an American way of defining identity) rather than understanding that tribal nationhood and citizenship mean something particular to Native people.
.@JeaniOBrien Sen Warren commands enormous visibility. What might this platform make possible? Seems unable to grasp most basic notions of Native sovereignty.
.@JeaniOBrien Warren could take up strong Native stances in her platforms, protect sovereignty, but instead she articulates an idea of strong individualism - rights for all. Does not acknowledge more than 500 Native nations who have a different relationship to culture/nation.
.@JeaniOBrien Tribal citizenship, sovereignty, treaty rights - they should be central to this story, and they are not.
btw, @MuseWendi is also live-tweeting this event - please also check out her tweets for another perspective!
I had to step out to stretch my painful knee! Sorry everyone!
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