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Native American Facts Scraped To Face The Truth

Bibiana Canales, Staff Writer, Opinion Editor

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According to the Daily Herald, “within the U.S., there are 562 Native American tribes. The largest are Navajo, Cherokee and Sioux. More than 3 million people in the U.S. are Native people.”


Now let me bestow upon you the common facts that most people know about Native American life:

  • People who are Native American live in reservations.
  • Reservations are protected and paid for by the government.
  • Students who are Native American can get scholarships for being so.


Seems pretty legit, right? Well let me lay down some more details to those facts now.


Have you ever heard of a “blood card”?


In order to be recognized as someone who is Native American you need to have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, or CDIB, from the United States. The card states that you need to have a certain percentage of Native American blood in you, and have the ability to prove it, in order to get any government recognition for help with scholarships or tribe association.


And you might be asking, “What about if I have some but not the full 25% needed to prove that I am Native American? Or what if I have been raised in a Native American lifestyle and have dominant phenotypes showing my heritage but don’t have exactly 25%? Well the answer is: Officially to the government you aren’t Native American since you don’t have the “proper” amount of blood and/or documents.


People rarely qualify for those scholarships.


Now, some may be thinking now, “Well, don’t most of the people living on reservations own casinos… so they must be rich, right?”


No, actually. Reservations are straight-up poor and casinos don’t help either.


Casinos are made in an effort to attract tourists and make a profit to help family financial situations on reservations. Land and culture are ruined in order to make some money without leaving the reservation completely. Although hardly the case, casinos that are actually successful only benefit one family directly. The rest of the families are left to be even more poverty-stricken with loads of hopelessness.


The book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie depicts what life on a hopeless reservation is like. A reservation where violence, alcoholism and death are common travesties to come across more than once before you’re 18 years old.


And now think back to the fact on the top of this article: “3 million people in the US are Native people”.


Three million…


There are 326,474,013 people in the United States.


That is 0.9 percent of the United States population.


People question why people who are Native American should get scholarships over what their blood may be. Look at the number above. 0.9 percent is nothing and if you know the history behind America’s acquiring the United States land then you will understand why these people with just a sad history deserve better treatment. Even more than we give them now.


The United States has been recognized as a “melting pot” for having so many different cultures. The reality is that this “pot” isn’t as glamorous as it sounds.


A proper metaphor for the United States would be be a bucket of paint. The bucket started off as red. It was a bright, proud red. Then white came along… No matter how much white paint is poured in it, it will never go back to it’s proud red or turn into a pure white. Because now we have all types of colors that have been mixed in, so well that the original color is indistinguishable.


This metaphor was created by Cristina Canales. As a first year Ethnic studies major, she’s been learning about all types of cultures, the most recent being Native American studies.
Native American land was the first land taken in order to form America. Don’t claim to know what a person, or group of people, deserves without knowing the true facts and the background history as to why those facts are true. Too often, people don’t dig deeper into what they hear. Without knowing more, we become insensitive to the truth.

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Native American Facts Scraped To Face The Truth