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Harjo: Characteristics of the non-Indian Indians

"In l'affair Churchill, many non-Native people are amazed that there are non-Native people who take on the identity of a Native person.

Pseudo-Indianism is a well-known phenomenon in Indian country. Pseudo-Indians usually have some useful skills, but their real talent is their ability to con kind-hearted, trusting people into validating them as Indians.

Here are some familiar traits of pseudo-Indians.

Eager beavers
There are many legit Indian and non-Indian people who are enthusiastically, unselfishly, tirelessly helpful to Indian people and causes. These generous traits are welcomed by many Native people, especially those who are overworked, understaffed, impoverished, stressed out or under siege.

Weeping willows
When asked about their Native nation or relatives, the weeping willows duck the answers and sob on the shoulders of peaceful folks about the mean ''inquisitors'' who hurt their feelings, when all the weepers are trying to do is to help the Indian people (as opposed to the mean Indians who don't do anything to help the people)."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Identity, part deux (Indian Country Today 4/8)

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