When it comes to indigenous rights, it’s easy to get bipartisan support. People of all political stripes like to support beleaguered tribes, as long as such support doesn’t come at too high a price.
A Change.org petition calls on the Federal Government to recognize the Duwamish tribe, which is native to the Seattle area. The city is, in fact, named after a (half) Duwamish chief, Chief Si’ahl, or Seattle. I won’t be upset with you if you sign that petition.
If you’re interested, here’s a more comprehensive history of the Duwamish, Erik Painter’s answer specifically.
The Duwamish tribe’s official website is sparse on photos of actual Duwamish tribal members, but the two who are depicted appear white.
Here’s a tribal gathering, courtesy of Call of Compassion.
If you look closely, there’s one guy who looks a little tanned. Other than that, the gathering is as white as the Forbes Real Estate Council. It’s as white as Elizabeth Warren.
It doesn’t appear that there are any pure-blooded Duwamish Indians remaining; taking a wild guess, I’d say that the average Duwamish is one quarter to one eighth Indian, with some older members being one half. Feel free to correct me if you know otherwise.
Far be it from me to blame the actual Duwamish people for this situation; they were subject to various forms of persecution and genocide. I have the utmost respect for actual American Indians who fight to preserve their culture and genetic legacy. Unfortunately, it appears that it’s too late for the Duwamish, at least when it comes to their genetic legacy.
Basically, what we have is a bunch of white people clamoring for recognition as a “tribe.” I think this is great! I’ve never been a huge believer in racial purity anyway, and if a drop of Indian blood is what it takes to allow whites to organize as a recognized tribe/ethnicity, then so be it. The fact that they get together to dress in Indian garb, perform Indian dances and music, and create Indian art doesn’t bother me; it’s harmless, and no different than white people getting together to enjoy sushi or yoga.
In today’s political climate, white people are practically prohibited from gathering as white people. While there’s no law against it (yet), you’ll lose your job, your safety and any political aspirations you might have had, if you’re identified as a proud white person. Identifying as “Indian” might serve as a loophole for some of us.