“This brings me to the issue of how we frame diversity. I want to ask you whether you think it’s helpful to refer to Natives as people of color—or if this ultimately obscures political status.
It absolutely works against our best interest to be placed in the framework of people of color. White children’s authors, for example, write about American Indians and civil rights. And my response is that it’s not about civil rights, it’s about treaty rights. And that’s an encapsulation of what goes wrong when you use a civil rights framework. To start with, people don’t know that we’re sovereign nations, that we have a political status in the United States, as opposed to a racial, cultural or ethnic one. So it’s easy to see why people fall into that multicultural framework. But it’s really not culture—it’s really politics. When people in education start developing these frameworks and chart out the ways that people of color have a history in the United States, they’ll slot us in there, too. But that collapses, erases and obscures our distinct political designation in the United States.”
See on colorlines.com