“For myself, I want no advantage over my fellow man, and if he is weaker than I, all the more is it my duty to help him.” —Eugene V. Debs
In Canada, you can be a status native (we prefer First Nations, Aboriginal or Native instead of India) and not be a member of a band (or tribe as you say in the US). Native status is based on family background, a parent, plus a grandparent need to be status. We don't worry about genetic testing. Heard about the tribes using racial models and it all comes down to one thing: money. The less members these tribes have then the more money each individual gets from casinos or resource development.
Yeah, capitalism is the reason for Indian racism. I think the Canadian system is better, but having lived near a rez in northern Ontario, I know Canada has got a long way to go before she can be proud of her treatment of the First Folks. (I like the First Nations name a lot, but I don't think many Americans know it yet. I can't remember if the term was popular when I was in Canada; the local folks were Ojibwe, and sometimes people would talk about the Cree, but I don't remember anyone using a blanket term like "First Nations" in daily conversation.)
I've never wondered about having Indian/Native American ancestry. If our family does have any (highly doubtful), all I have to do is look in the mirror to know I didn't get any of it. However, I have wondered if I have Scottish (Sutherland) and/or Viking ancestry.
Oh, if I look in a mirror, I don't see a hint of anything other than European either. But Dad's much darker than I am, and I really wish I had a picture of Grandma Bess. (Who always said she wasn't Indian, and very well might not have been, but one of the surprises of genetic testing is finding out you're not descended from the folks you thought. A sad story I came across was about a woman whose genetic testing established that her dad was not who she thought, and she was thrown out of the tribe, even though she'd grown up in it. That's just wrong.)My most serious take on all this is if a culture fascinates you, do your research and claim it. We're all human.But do the research. What's most annoying about the wannabes is they think wanting is enough.
If I had the requisite bucks just lying around gathering dust, I'd like to take one of those genetic tests that give you a rough idea where your ancestors come from, just out of curiosity. The ultimate irony is that originally all humans were very darked skinned, which makes black people the "true" humans. White people are mutants, which kinda shoots the whole "white supremacist thing in the foot. . .
I have been tempted to get the test, but I can't prioritize the expense, alas.And full agreement on white mutants. I like to say the problem with "African American" is that all Americans, including Native Americans, are ultimately African Americans.