Essay about Afro Native Identity, Racism And Preservation

1785 Words Dec 7th, 2016 8 Pages
Afro-Native Identity, Racism and Preservation In American Red and Black: Stories of Afro-Native Identity, Alicia Woods tells the stories of six individuals who identify as both Native American and African American. The film’s style is raw and direct as Woods eschews any personal narration of her own, choosing instead to feature only the words of these individuals (Vella, Jolene, Sequoyah, Tall Oak, Richard, and Minty). Through their telling of their own stories, these individuals offer glimpses into the complex issues such an intersection of ethnicity and heritage brings. These issues include reconciling these two (at times conflicting) ethnic identities, dealing with racism from multiple groups in society and the necessity of preserving such unique heritages. One of the most prominent areas of discussion throughout the film is the idea of reconciling one’s personal identity. During her interview, Vella describes how her “great-grandfather is full blood Cherokee” and her great-grandmother is half.” These ancestors intermarried with African Americans, and she is the product.However, she is unsure how to feel about this ancestral identity. This confusion and struggle is compounded by her search through old census records, as all of these relatives, whom she identifies as native, are recorded as black. Tall Oak also discusses this issue, saying that they recorded “anything so they wouldn’t have to put the word ‘Indian’ into the record books” and that “what they couldn’t…

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