being half native, i am beyond tired of this reoccurring theme. for all of you cryptid fans, the wendigo, thunderbirds, skinwalkers, etc. are NOT cryptids. they are a part of indigenous culture and are spirits/entities, and not anything like mothman. they are religious and cultural folklore, despite the fact that cryptozoologists try to classify them as cryptids. 

also, do not associate any non-indigenous oc’s with ANY spirits from native culture and folklore, as it is very insensitive (i.e. kylo ren wendigo, named “rendigo”) to the culture and considered white-washing. our culture, practices, and religion has already been stretched far and thin over the years. be respectful please.

“Sometimes when I tell strangers I’m Cherokee they ask,”How much are you?” They’re not asking if I know myself as a Cherokee and if I am considered by other Cherokees as Cherokee. That would be a valid, though invasive, question. Instead, they’re asking, “What percentage of ‘Indian blood’ do you have?” This question implies that the degree to which one is Cherokee is defined by racial purity. By this logic, the higher percentage of “ Indian blood” you have, the more cherokee you would be. It’s a racist question because it implies that Cherokees are defined by race, not by culture. People tend to forget that “race” is a concept created by cultures. The concept of race continues to have power only because we continue to believe in it. Funny thing is, in all my life I’ve never been asked by another Cherokee, “How much are you?” Instead, the questions are: “Where do you come from?” “Who are your people ?” “Who’s your mother?” They are questions of beginnings and continuities, kin and relationships.”

— Christopher B. Teuton, from “Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club”


For those of you who claim Cherokee and know you’re not, please note that the tribe will not hesitate to call you out!

Why do people love to pretend they’re Cherokee?

Cherokee Syndrome is where people believe they have a little Native American blood in them or have Native American heritage. This myth is passed down in the family and attributed to many different stereotypes that have been made about native people. However, now that whiteness is no longer the standard, people seem to have adopted Cherokee Syndrome as a way to escape white guilt. 

You’ll notice these people using phrases such as “part Cherokee” or some fraction of Cherokee or they will reference a grandmother, great grandmother or great great grandmother. A male ancestor would threaten the integrity since a male of a dominate culture marrying a female of the colonized culture is seen as him “liberating” her from the “savagery” of her culture. The point is, they will know nothing of their culture or their tribal community and their only connection to being native american is this one alleged ancestor. Since native identity is about connection and not blood quantum, those who end up actually having a Cherokee relative are still not going to be native. 

Why Cherokee? There are different theories about why this claim was appealing in the past for it to be passed down. But for now, it’s an easy claim since many Cherokee natives are lighter skinned and the tribes have low blood quantum requirements for enrollment.

no offense but i’m not about to sit here and let the culture and language of my ancestors disappear off of the face of the earth

i may look white, most of my ancestors may be white, but i refuse to lose sight of my native ancestors and their systematic oppression under colonial powers

blood quantum only seeks to suppress and eliminate native identity from this country, and bitch i don’t care if i’m 100% native or 10% native or 1% native, i’m sure as hell going to pay respect to the ancestors that gave up everything they knew just for this country to exist

so here’s to all my anishinaabe family, and even more, here’s to all the diné and mi’kmaq and kanien'kehá:ka and nēhiyaw and tsalagi and lakȟóta families and all the other indigenous peoples of the americas that i could spend hours talking about

much love to you all at the end of this indigenous history month, and hopefully all you people without indigenous ancestors will consider looking into the native languages and cultures of the land we live on because they’re cool as hell


If you live in the Western world, you’re probably pretty familiar with the idea of an alphabet. But not every writing system uses an alphabet, and some things that resemble an alphabet are not what they seem. So today we’re exploring some different types of writing systems from around the world. 

Alphabet: I think it’s best to start at the beginning. If you’re on Tumblr, you probably know what an alphabet is, but I thought I’d give us all the definition of an alphabet anyway, since it’s easier to compare the rest of the systems if we all agree on what an alphabet is. Generally speaking, an alphabet is a system of writing where each letter represents a basic sound in the language. Often alphabets can be adapted for use in more than one language through the addition of extra letters or vowel markers. The most important thing about an alphabet for our purposes is that alphabets treat vowels and consonants equally. No matter what it is, each sound gets its own letter. This writing system tends to work well for languages with lots of vowel sounds and very few limits on how vowels and consonants can be combined, like English. 

Abugida: Not a type of mythical creature, but a class of writing systems, abugidas give vowels a little less precedence than alphabets. In an abugida, each consonant has an implied vowel that follows after it and is not written with its own letter. In the case of a different vowel being used, it will be written with diacritic marks or symbols above or below the main script, not as its own letter. In some abugidas, there are separate letters for the vowels when they appear on their own, or at the start of a word, whereas in others there is a “zero consonant” letter that acts as a consonant for the vowel mark to attach to, though the consonant sound is not pronounced. This writing system works well for Southeast Asian languages, such as the Brahmic languages of India, as well as Thai, which we discussed last week. 

Abjad: In an abjad, consonants run the show. Only consonants are written, and the reader has to fill in any vowels. Of course, the most famous abjads in the world, the Arabic and Hebrew writing systems, do have letters for long vowels, though these letters, much like English “y”, also perform double duty as consonants. Most abjads have some form of diacritic marks for the short vowels to help young children and people learning it as a foreign language. In Arabic, these diacritic marks are also used in the Quran to ensure that words are not misunderstood. (This is particularly important in the Quran, which unlike some other religious texts is generally regarded as the literal word of God.) This writing system works well for the Semitic languages, like Arabic and Hebrew. (The Arabic abjad is also used for Persian, where it definitely doesn’t work as well. Persian needs an alphabet, and what it has is a modified abjad.) 

Syllabary: Picture an abugida, but instead of each consonant having an implied vowel, with the option to have a different vowel, every single consonant-vowel combination has its own letter. That’s a syllabary. Obviously, this would be impossible in English, which has way too many sounds (seriously, we have way too many sounds in this language. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it but English has like 12 vowel sounds, easily, and we’re trying to write all of them with five or six letters depending on whether you count y.) But, it works pretty well for languages like Cherokee and Japanese, which have a fairly limited number of possible sounds. 

Logography: Logograms (or ideograms) are symbols that represent ideas or objects. As opposed to representing the sound of a word, a logography has a different symbol (or combination of symbols) for every idea it wants to convey. Generally, logograms give few clues as to a word’s pronunciation, requiring readers to memorize the characters for each word individually. Logograpies can be some of the hardest writing systems to learn (take it from someone who studied Mandarin Chinese for five years) but they can become incredibly complex in their use of repeated shapes within individual logograms (like Mandarin’s radicals) to show meaning and create “word families”. Logographies don’t rely on sound, so they can be used for any language, though very few of them have opted to take that route. 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s tour through some of the world’s major writing systems. Tune in next week for more linguistics! 

comrademagneto  asked:

Hi, I'm writing a story that has a Native (Cherokee) mc. In my story, 70 years into the future, America is trying to rebuild itself after losing WW3, and isn't the safest place to live. My mc' s parents want her to be successful and able to leave America, so they send her to a boarding school in London, where she studies engineering in hopes of getting a job and enough money to get her parents out of America. I wanted to know how to avoid making the school seem like an assimilation school?

Sending a Cherokee Protagonist Away to School and Possible Assimilation Issues

I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear: there is no way to avoid making this look like an assimilation school, because the plot is built on assimilation and places assimilation as not only necessary, but preferable.

Indigenous groups from around the world have, indeed, sent their children to Western schools because their home was in danger. Many anthropological interpreters, who have lent the best data because they lived in two worlds, are such children. Many negotiators for treaty rights, stopping further colonialism, and teachers are more such children. Every example I could name— and sadly names other than Princess Ka'iulani and Francis La Flesche are escaping me— have the children return to the nation so they can try and negotiate with colonizers, and/or work with anthropologists to preserve culture. They are viewed as a necessary sacrifice in order to survive long term.

Children are so, so, so prized in Indigenous cultures. They are our future, and our societies have fallen apart because our children have been taken away. We try to keep our children close (unless trauma over generations of forced assimilation makes us think it’s for the best our children assimilate, but that is a plot non-Natives should not touch), so sending a child so far away, where there is no hope of them being able to continue their culture, is a level of hopelessness I cannot articulate. Having the goal be to take the parents away is even worse. When everything we do is to protect our ancestral lands, throwing that away is inconceivable to an Indigenous person.

And there lies the crux of why this story has an inescapable assimilation plot. When Indigenous groups send their children away, they do so in order for the children to come back partially assimilated and help protect their home. Natives do not have the concept of giving up their ancestral lands willingly. Every single resistance movement since colonization began has been built on the exact opposite, which is to stay on our homelands as long as humanly possible. Despite everything colonizers have tried to do to have us leave, we refuse to.

You cannot escape the assimilation plot you have, should you choose to go on this course. Read the story of Queen Liliʻuokalani and Princess Ka'iulani. Read the story of Francis La Flesche. Read them as told by their people. Those stories are the narratives for why we send our children away. It is not to help our parents escape. It is to help our lands remain as ours.

~ Mod Lesya

What Does America Look Like?

America is Black.

America’s fathers are Natives.

America is Intersectional.

It wears a Hijab.

It has a Spanish Speaking Tongue.

It welcomes Immigrants.

It is Trans.

It is Queer.

It is Jewish.

It is Disabled.

It is a Woman.

It is an unapologetic melting pot that relies on diversity.