A Review of Becoming Indian: The Struggle Over Cherokee Identity in the Twenty-first Century

Suzan A. M. McVicker

Abstract


Twenty-first century United States Census results stoke a wildfire racial conversation that sweeps far beyond Kituwah, the ancient mother town of the Cherokee People in the Great Smoky Mountains.  The Cherokee People of the Fire and their hidden descendants who passed as white are engaged in an expanding talking circle over questions of identity and belonging.  Circe Sturm, an interdisciplinary anthropologist with Sicilian, German, and Mississippi Choctaw ancestry, is quick to state that she was not raised on tribal land or in tribal community.  Though her readers do not know how she checked boxes indicating her race on the US Census form, she is clear about her aspiration for the book, Becoming Indian: The Struggle over Cherokee Identity in the Twenty-first Century.  Sturm invested over fifteen years of research toward realization of her vision for greater political understanding about a topic that arouses a conflagration of polarized perspectives.

 


Keywords


American Indian Passing for White; Belonging in Federally-Recognized Tribes; Cherokee Identity; Identity Politics; Indigenous Identity; Lost Kinship Status; Shifting Racial Identity; Tribal Belonging; Self-in-Relationship; Sovereignty Entitlement

References


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England-Aytes, Kathryn. 2014. “Memories Hold Hands: Perceptions of Historical Trauma and Associated Behavioral and Emotional Responses Among Four Generations of American Indian (Cherokee) Descendants.” PhD diss., Fielding Graduate University.

Garrett, J. T. and Michael Tlanusta Garrett. 2002. The Cherokee Full Circle: A Practical Guide to Ceremonies and Traditions. Rochester, NY: Bear and Company.

Herrmann, Susan L. 2016. “Explorations of Global Consciousness: From Emergence Towards Integration.” Unpublished PhD dissertation, Fielding Graduate University.

McVicker, Suzan A. M. 2014. “Internal Family Systems (IFS) in Indian Country: Perspectives and Practice on Harmony and Balance.” Journal of Indigenous Research 3(1): Accessed March 21, 2016 http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/kicjir/vol3/iss1/6.

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Walker, Polly O. 2007. “Singing Up Worlds: Ceremony and Conflict Transformation Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples in Australia and the United States.” Taiwan International Studies Quarterly 3(2): 23-45. Accessed March 21, 2016. www.tisanet.org/quarterly/3-2-2.pdf.


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