Yesterday I received a visit from my Uncle. When I was a kid being raised in Florida my adopted parents and family, would announce to us the we received a letter from our Indian relatives. I never recall my parents call any from here, brown people.Being raised in Florida did subject colored people to choice names but black people suffered the most.
Since returning to the reservation in 1988. I have experienced my “racism” from a tribe tribal government at a place I thought was home. Most experiences springs from treatment from a white women struggling for power on the reservation.
I was hired by the Chief in 1999. I recall him remarking about how well my resume was written. He asked me if I wrote the piece. At that time I was very young and really wanting to please everyone. I rarely recognized insults. As I look back now, that was an insult to me.
Within a few years the Chief hired a new legal counsel, who was a white women. She made him feel more comfortable, as she worked for him. She often stated this to me as I began to attempt to build a working relationship with her.
She considered herself a “white women” and I had no problem characterizing her in this way. I never felt it was a racial slur or sexist reference. I never thought she felt that way either. After much thought I have discovered many derogatory statements and stigmas she would make to me. These terms echo in many tribal governments today!
“Are you people qualified”
“Your people are a liability”
“Indian People are historically alcoholics”
The list goes on…but I was the one who would sit down with her and discuss the community issues with her. She started working for us after waiting a few nights in her car. As a young person I never thought much of it but she was just starting in Tribal government too.
As time went on she was the major influence with “my people” and soon eliminated me, as she felt my leadership was not appropriate. She continued to make an example of me and allowed a foreign entity take my home.
I was soon lost in alcoholism.
I gave her the first copy of the 25 CFR “Indians”, she was shocked I had it and I made motion as a tribal council member to get her a room full of law books. I wish I would not have been so nice to this new white women on the reservation.
Today if one says “white women” in a tribal council meeting, it is almost akin to being racist. I do not understand as most white women make a disticntion with out a man or other races help.
Why do I write about this? I got jumped on social media about it as if I was being mean.
I do not hear any one saying we should stop saying “Black Women”.