Paper Example on American Indian Identity

Published: 2024-01-11
Paper Example on American Indian Identity
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race America
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1078 words
9 min read


Identity is a major issue in many states of the world. Any member of a state who has attained the threshold age is expected to identify themselves with their country’s identity. Every person has an image of their selves and beliefs about the type of people they are. Strong identity yields desirability and helps one to make critical choices by knowing how to conduct themselves, at least with decorum. Moreover, lack of identity would mean increased levels of nervousness, reduced self-confidence, depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, and alienation (Robertson 115). The general perception of the public toward those who lack identity is even more life-threatening compared to the impact it has directly on an individual.

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Indigenous Peoples

Such people may be associated with evils committed in the society such as burglary, theft, rape, terrorism, among others, which may not be a true reflection of what they are. A member of any of the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere excluding the Eskimos and the Inuit are referred to as an American Indian. To achieve the subject surrounding American Indian identity, this paper has been discussed into two different categories; the complexity associated with acquiring identity for American Indians and the influence of external societal events on people’s attitudes toward their ethnic identity (Robertson 116). That said, the focus on identity should be given as much preference as it is for an individual’s gain.

Obtaining an American Indian Identity is a rigorous procedure more so to the inhabitants since it is founded on the racialization of American Indians through a federal policy that is not in support of inclusivity. As a result, American Indian Identity serves to define those not to be included in the federal statute and coming up with explanations based on race that only achieves the organizational legality (Robertson 120). Also, owing to the racial association’s ability to concretize the federally distinct validity procedures, the American Indian Identity seizes the cultural sense of belonging. It is built upon the foundations of race and steered by ethnicity, a fact that confirms the discrepancies in the definitions (Robertson 122). A huge convolution occurs vis a vis the requisites needed of American Indians to attest their ethnic birthright. The people who provide definitions for Indian identity define it differently.

American Indian Identity

The parameters that characterize "Indianness" include culture, society, genes or biology, law, and self-identity. The law provides vivid socio-political peculiarities for those considered natives. There are distinct benefits that arise when one owns or not in possession of a legal American Indian Identity. American natives who are acknowledged by the law to own American Indian Identity enjoy rights, services, and protection unlike those who do not. To be eligible for the identity, the natives mandatorily first lawfully ascertain their Indian origin in a way regarded as convoluted and self-contradictory (Robertson 125). Consequently, a growing number of infants in America born to native parents are not registered as tribal members since they are not qualified under blood quantum prerequisites. With no documentation in place, the generation of non-enrolled Indians is not eligible for a variety of services ranging from healthcare, jobs, farming, ranching, and accommodation to fishing and hunting rights. This birth yet another crisis, identity calamity, which puts a variety of services rendered by the federal government at bay (Robertson 128).

Thus, matters of emotional attachment and social and spiritual well-being chip in. Spiritual well-being defines one’s search for deeper meaning in life. It is shown when one’s actions are more consistent with their philosophies and morals. By contrast, emotional wellness is a measure of one’s delight and gratification with their life. The kind of emotional attachment and social and spiritual wellness depends on whether or not one is enrolled under the American identity. As already discussed above, the rights, freedoms, and privileges enjoyed by natives with American identity do not commensurate to that of the non-enrolled natives (Robertson 130). This creates a very low sense of belonging to the non-enrolled, as they do not feel part of the system. They are being perceived differently does not only affect their emotional empowerment but also their socio-spiritual wellness.

External Societal Events

Mihesuah and Sturm argues that external societal events may influence people’s attitudes toward their ethnic identity. External settings and reference points mediate people’s understanding of things (Mihesuah 79). Arguably, it is through the definition and meaning of white that black acquires importance. Similarly, it is concerning night that the day assumes its form. For a fact, even before the Indians’ interaction with the Europeans, The Hopi got significance concerning the Navajo and the Apache, the Mohawk concerning the Oneida and the Onondaga among other ethnic individualities. Unlike the twentieth century where reservations for the natives were low profile areas where diseases, poverty, and alcoholism loomed, the trend has since totally changed today as reservations are homes to many Indians (Mihesuah 79). It is the attitude of some that they are protected from partiality. In their work, Becoming Indian, Sturm reflects on blood politics, racial classification, and the Cherokee National Identity. Just like Mihesuah views, the external contexts provided a framework to start perceiving things differently (Mihesuah 80). If it were in the twenty-first century, the heck of a thing that the Indians underwent in their pursuit of identity would not have happened. Scientific inventions and new technology have changed people’s convictions toward a variety of things, and civilization is accredited with that.


Ethnic identity remains to be a matter of global concern. The difficulty that natives of a particular country undergo to be officially recognized by such a country as her citizen is still in existence. Given the rise in many trending issues surrounding the identification process, there is still a need to treat the matter with great concern. In so doing, procedures are made clear right from the very offset. Although there are foundations within which a country bases its processes, the procedure of acquiring identities should not be very complicated to ignore some individuals the right to be fully identified with the country in which they are born.

Works Cited

Robertson, Dwanna. "A necessary evil: Framing an American Indian legal identity." American Indian Culture and Research Journal 37.4 (2013): 115-140.

Sturm, Circe. Blood Politics, Racial Classification, And Cherokee National Identity: The Trials and Tribulations of The Cherokee Freedom. (1990): 143-160

Mihesuah, Devon A. American Indians: Stereotypes & Realities. Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2009: 79-8.

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