I was with you until you basically said “you’re not Native if you are not using the colonizer’s given definitions of which ‘Native American’ are legitimate”. As a Black Native, my ancestors were purposefully erased from the easily consumable phenotype of ‘Native American’ the colonizer used to enslave Natives of “copper skin”. Those descendants can now only vaguely recall “an elder who was Cherokee” and could today not pass the (incredibly racist) blood quantum test to “legitimize” their heritage. But why should I need to use the white mans classification tools when it was those very tools that divided and colonized my people in the first place?

I understand you likely had a white audience in mind when you said that, but understand that our history is very nuanced and your words can end up doing the same things you’re claiming to protest. Yes, I WILL be referencing my Powhatan great great grandmother and my Cherokee ancestors who I’ve never met, because my ability to even claim my identity is an act of revolution and an act of decolonizing myself.

Anisa Matthews is an artist, healer, and quantum being. Words are her superpowers.