My Authors
Read all threads
I can’t speak on whites pretending to be Black in the academy. But I see similarities with how whites have adopted a Native identity in the academy. Yes, there’s a question of resources. What’s not often spoke about is the politics of injury tied to these make-believe identities.
The cunning of trauma politics is that it turns actual people and struggles, whether racial or Indigenous citizenship and belonging, into matters of injury. It defines an entire people mostly on their trauma and not by their aspirations or sheer humanity.
Who’s the audience for the politics of injury? It certainly isn’t for those who are marginalized. Mostly it’s for white audiences or institutions of power. It’s non-threatening to be a traumatized person, especially when those dishing out the trauma become those who solve it.
Most Indigenous people I know became politicized through their collective historical experience from colonization. But being Indigenous isn’t solely a source of trauma. Thought of as nations with aspirations for freedom, the struggle itself through an identity can be liberatory.
We have seen the horizon of Indigenous struggle shift. Once it was beyond the settler state. Now it is seeking recognition and remuneration from the settler state for the injuries it has caused. @bloodizcurrency explains this in her book Therapeutic Nations. Read it!
Two examples: Elizabeth Warren’s narration of her fake Cherokee identity is based on a sense of perceived discrimination in her family. Andrea Smith creates an entire field based on locating and defining Indigenous trauma, which was based on her fake Cherokee identity.
I’m always cautious of trauma narratives. Indigeneity is more than just genocide. It’s a world-making politics for just relations. And the most dangerous elements — decolonization through land back and class struggle — tend to be neutralized within academic spaces.
The best way to combat this liberal tendency is by building and foregrounding actual politics that call for the material transformation of the world. No more crying on the shoulder of the man who stole your land or putting star blankets and headdresses on colonizers.
Identity plays a role, for sure. Class is about power. And Indigenous people often experience their class position through their Indigeneity and through the power dynamics of the colonial relation. But being Indigenous doesn’t automatically equal “good” politics.
What we are experiencing is less identity politics and more a politics of injury, or that an identity is based on injury. We can’t just be human beings, we have to have some kind of “plight,” as V. Deloria once put it. It’s not to reject identity but to reject dehumanization.
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Keep Current with Nick Estes

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!