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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reply to 'vom Trompeter', on DNA forums thread, "How do You Prove You're an Indian?"

['vom Trompeter']

It sort of rubs me wrong when I'm called Caucasian because my roots are in Northern Europe, nowhere near Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia, Chechenya, etc. Now my ancestors may have passed through there multiple millenia ago but it doesn't make me a Chechen or an Armenian, not that I have the remotest problem with being identified with those populations should it be warranted. I teach on a reservation and my students would not be thrilled to be called Siberians even if their ancestors passed through Siberia all those many millenia ago.

I know I'm knitpicking...call me what you want just don't call me late for dinner. Incidentally, my Native students call me "nih'oo3ou" which means "spider." This is the Arapaho word for European people. They call African-Americans "wo'ooteenih'oo3ou" which means a "black white man." Their name for themselves is "Hinono'ei." It doesn't matter where your DNA comes from in Arapaho culture, if you follow the traditions, you're 100% Arapaho.
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So you feel it's impossible to be both, ie a relatively recent Northern European-American, whose more ancient lineage(s) probably originated in the Caucasus mountains? IOW, you think that the two concepts are mutually exclusive within one individual, and that you MUST choose between the two?

Is that why some of you commentors insist that I'm not Cherokee, because you don't believe a Cherokee can have genetic roots in the Old World, unless our ~mtDNA is 'Siberian' or Asian? Because, you believe that only Asians or Siberians could have had the determination or know-how to get here, that long ago?

I assume that you were born in America, but that some or many of your (post-Columbus) ancestors were from "Northern Europe"? And, that if you could follow the lineages of your family back far enough in time, you would probably (hypothetically) eventually find ancestors from the Caucasus region?

Then if you went back even further in time (that is, if your family wasn't Saami, Basque, or some other type of indigenous, Stone-Age Europeans) you might find many of your ancestors came from ancient agricultural India (Indo-Europeans/Aryans); or (whether or not they were indeed indigenous Europeans) even further back, all the way back to the Source, somewhere in or near Africa?

Are you trying to distance yourself from the Source? Why else would you (most likely born in America, yourself) prefer to identify with your more recent ~European ancestors to the exclusion of your roots? Are they too gnarly for your taste?

The Caucasus mountains & even Northern Europe has changed immensely since the Stone Age, to say the least. Even Africa is probably far different now, than then. If that (chronology) is your yardstick for identity, why bother to claim Northern European ancestry? Just call yourself North American or United Statesian or Ohio-an (or whatever), and be done with it. Why draw the line in Northern Europe?

Is it the geography of the Caucasus itself, or the current demographics of it, that bother you?

As for me, I don't mind being a 'Caucasian' Cherokee, it seems natural to me. America is a long journey from the Caucasus mountains, whether by land or by sea (even further away from India); so it must have been a very interesting experience getting here, for the maternal branch of my family. I would love to know the whole story, it must have been quite an adventure.

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