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Opinion
Yellow Bird: Churchills make lost Indians look bad


"Some of those who claim they are American Indian and boast a miniscule blood quantum say federal recognition isn't important, even as they take advantage of their federally protected status. Some even turn around and began to teach American Indian people about being American Indian -- after they have studied American Indian history, of course.

They are few. They are the Churchills.

There are far more American Indian people who are lost to their ancestors. They try to reclaim who they are, yet don't have the paperwork to prove it. A few short decades ago, it was a policy of the federal and state government to take Indian children from their families and let non-Indians adopt them. Many lost their ties to their relatives and tribe.

These unenrolled American Indian people are the ones who suffer from the "who is an Indian" issue. They are the ones who come quietly to ceremonies. They try to fit in the best they can, even though they don't have an American Indian grandmother or grandfather or aunt and uncle to nurture them.

They are the ones who may feel guilty when the Churchill story reaches their ears. They should not. These unenrolled American Indian people are the ones who suffer from the "who is an Indian" issue. They are the ones who come quietly to ceremonies. They try to fit in the best they can, even though they don't have an American Indian grandmother or grandfather or aunt and uncle to nurture them.

They are the ones who may feel guilty when the Churchill story reaches their ears. They should not."

Get the Story:
DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: At times a label means nothing (The Grand Forks Herald 2/5)

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