Kevin Noble Maillard (Syracuse) has posted “Redwashing History: Tribal Anachronisms in the Seminole Nation Cases” on SSRN. It is forthcoming from the Freedom Center Journal. Here is the abstract:
The status of people of African descent in indigenous nations generates important questions about what it means to be Indian. A fair understanding of the Freedmen controversy necessitates an explanation of the historical sites of contention that affect the Freedmen’s inclusion in the Nation. This essay critically examines the plasticity of memory – how both parties remember and forget the past in order to justify the present. It directly addresses the radically disparate interpretations of government documents by Indians and blacks, and how these readings of federal texts are constitutive of Seminole membership. The rigid adhesion to Indian blood by tribal governments marks a curious manifestation of sovereignty and self-determination. This dogged claim to autonomy and authenticity exemplifies a misapplied and dangerous discrimination hiding behind the mask of political ideology.