Authenticity: Ethnic Indians, non-Indians and Reservation Indians

Authenticity is a puzzling feature of contemporary Indian life. Growing up on an Indian reservation, I rarely encountered challenges to one’s identity as an Indian person. People within the reservation community knew most of the families. If they didn’t know the family connections of a specific person they could learn with a few inquiries to elders or their own family members.

Pretty basic stuff, but a lot of people still do not get this. 

And that’s exactly what comes from the purposeful conflation/confusion of actual culture and ancestry. One of the things, at least. Besides all the people who do think it’s somehow relevant to absolutely anything even if they were really descended from Pocahontas or something.