Unsettled Citizens | Citizenship and Its Gatekeepers || Radcliffe Institute

Unsettled Citizens | Citizenship and Its Gatekeepers || Radcliffe Institute


– Welcome back, everybody. We’re now going to
start our second panel, on citizenship and
its gatekeepers. I’m going to ask the panelists
to come up and occupy their seats. And while they do so,
allow me to introduce Professor Phil Deloria to you. Phil, who I am just so
absolutely thrilled and charged that he has joined
us here at Harvard– it is a real revolution
and awakening on campus– is a professor of history
at Harvard University. His research focuses on
the social, cultural, and political histories
of the relations among American Indian
peoples in the United States. He’s author of some
very important books. Many of you may know them, but
if you don’t, Playing Indian, Yale University Press in 1998;
Indians in Unexpected Places, Kansas, 2004; American Studies– A User’s Guide, 2017. And forthcoming,
and it is beautiful, and just go to one of his talks. There’s going to be an
event at Harvard Bookstore– – May 4– – May 4. – –or 6. – Check it out. Or 6, or something. Go both days. [LAUGHTER] And Becoming Mary Sully– Toward an American
Indian Abstract. Just a beautiful volume. A really remarkable volume. With that, I’m going
to turn it over to Phil and this
remarkable panel. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Well, thank you
all for being here. And I think we all want to
pause and think and acknowledge the first panel, which set up
so many interesting questions for us to contemplate around
some of these questions. So in our first
session, of course, we talked about
economic citizenship. When we were having
the planning meetings, there was a lot of
conversation about this. And I had sort of forgotten
what a deeply interesting kind of set of problems
really come up when we put these things
together and think about them. So we’ve thought a bit about the
uneven distributions of wealth and how these things produce
an uneven range of citizenship, sort of gradated scales
of rights, privileges, responsibilities–
things like choke points, chickenization, new economic
kinds of constraints, which actually sort of affect
our practice of citizenship. So in this session, Citizenship
and its Gatekeepers, we want to turn to a
more sort of concrete, almost a case study
sort of approach to some of the structures that
gatekeep and sometimes enable– and I think it’s
important to understand the sort of dialectic
relationship there– that enable citizenship
and the experiences of people encountering
some of those structures. We might quickly think
a bit about– what we want to do here,
I think, is take three of the central
master narratives that show up in American history
and then sort of diffuse out from that. And that would be the story
of conquest concerning American Indian people– Indigenous people;
the story of slavery, concerning African and
African descendant people and Indigenous people as
well; and then immigration and the ways in which
immigration, as we know, plays into all of these kinds
of economic sorts of questions. So we might imagine a
set of legislative acts that sort of structure
how we think about this. For me, this always begins
with the three-fifths clause. I poll my students
every semester, and they happily tell me
it’s all about three-fifths of an enslaved
person for purposes of proportional representation. What they almost always miss
is the other clause in there, Indians not taxed,
which establishes a certain kind of
ground for Native people to be in the Constitution
as being excluded from the Constitution
and setting up the sort of baseline,
or the grounding, within the American
constitutional system to imagine Indian people as
discrete and separate political entities who might leave those
entities behind and become members of the American polity. So from there, we
might imagine, thinking about the 14th Amendment;
of the civil rights legislations of 1960s; the
1924 Citizenship Act, which brings Native people into the
American citizenship regime; the Indian Reorganization Act,
as Rosita Worl talked about; the 1924 Immigration Act;
the 1965 Immigration Act. All of these things
are, I think, part and parcel of
the structure of what we want to think about today. So we have three
fabulous speakers. I will introduce them in order. Jill Doerfler is
professor in the head of the Department
of American Indian Studies at the University
of Minnesota, Duluth. Her most recent book,
Those Who Belong– Identity, Family,
Blood, and Citizenship Among the White
Earth Anishinaabeg, examines staunch
Anishinaabeg resistance to racialization and
the complex issues surrounding tribal
citizenship and identity. And Jill has spent the
last many, many years sort of deeply engaged from a
community kind of position. Pap Ndiaye is professor of
history at Sciences Po, where he specializes in the history of
black minorities in the United States and France. He’s published a
number of things, which are all really
interesting and all of which have French titles. And for me to say Sciences Po,
that’s as close as I can get. [LAUGHTER] But I do want to
sort of mention some of the fascinating conversations
we had last night, that he’s a member of the scientific
committee for an exhibit, Le Modele Noir, which opened at
the Museum d’Orsay on March 26, and which completely is this
incredible and important effort rewriting, in terms
of race, and I think, arguably, citizenship, some of
the sort of classic paintings that we associate with French
and other kinds of paintings. Chia Youyee Vang is professor
of history at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee,
where she also serves as associate
vice chancellor in the division of Global
Inclusion and Engagement. She’s the author
of Hmong America– Reconstructing
Community in Diaspora, as well as a number of
other kinds of texts. And so what we’ll
be bringing to you, hopefully, is a series of really
interesting and evocative kinds of treatments that
will illuminate some of the things we
heard today and lead into the conversation
we’ll be having over the rest of the day. Jill, I turn things over to you. [APPLAUSE] – Miigwech. Thank you so much
for inviting me to be a part of these
interesting and important conversations. Phil, as you noted, that
important groundwork that was laid by the first
panel, for me– especially for Rosita’s panel, I think that
will set up some of the things I’m going to talk
about quite nicely. So one of the vital activities
for American Indian nations is the regulation
of citizenship. Citizenship is, of course,
a much debated topic in many countries,
with some currently questioning longstanding
citizenship requirements in the wake of
political changes. And American Indians are also
in that similar situation. Historically, American
Indian nations had a wide range of ways
in which people were accepted into their nations. But as we moved into the
modern paperwork, card carrying kind of citizenship era, the US
became increasingly influential on the citizenship requirements. So today, I’m going to
share from my research about how the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe came to adopt a one-quarter Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe blood quantum minimum for tribal
citizenship in 1961, and then, briefly,
as time allows, White Earth Nation’s efforts
for constitutional reform, including citizenship
in the early 2000s. So I don’t have a
lot of slides today, but I’m going to put up the
map slide, just to help give some context and background. The Minnesota Chippewa
Tribe is unique in that it is six member nations, or
reservations, combined together under a single constitution. And so just to give us
the reservations here, we see, moving our way from
west to east, the White Earth Nation, my home nation. Then we see Leech Lake, Bois
Forte, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, and then Grand Portage,
far up on the North Shore. You’ll note that the term here
is Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. That’s the official legal name. We also use Ojibwe
and Anishinaabeg. And my preference
for Anishinaabeg will guide some
of my terminology today, so I’ll
also be using that. The Minnesota Chippewa
Tribe Constitution was adopted and approved
in 1936 in accordance with the Indian
Reorganization Act. And each of the six
reservations or nations that make up that governing body
maintain a degree of autonomy, but governed under that
single constitution. Citizenship with
American Indian nations is also sometimes
called enrollment, also sometimes
called membership. I’ll be fluctuating between
those terms and citizenship today. While the US courts and the
Bureau of Indian Affairs have officially recognized
the inherent sovereignty of American Indian nations
to define and regulate citizenship and
practice, the BIA has pushed some tribes,
including the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, to enact
blood quantum requirements. Citizenship became
a pressing issue shortly after the
formation of the MCT and was discussed at length
at several Tribal Executive Committee, or TEC, which
I’ll be using today. The Tribal Executive Committee
is the governing body of the tribe, and those
minutes are rich in detail and record a great
record for us. So many Anishinaabeg at the TEC
meetings held in May of 1940 spoke about the negative
impact that using blood quantum for tribal citizenship
would have on their children and grandchildren. For example, Bill
Anywaush from White Earth declared that he did not approve
of the use of blood quantum. He felt it would Institute
a “great harm,” because it would deprive their children
of participation in the MCT. William Nickaboine
from Mille Lacs stated, quote, “I
personally wouldn’t want to be a party to this
striking off of our youths, for the reason that my
children in the future may have these
mixed bloods, and I don’t want them to say
that I have done that, restricting them from
the roles,” end quote. Anywaush and Nickaboine’s
resistance to blood quantum reflects a concern
for their family and their
responsibility to ensure that future generations
would have the ability to become Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe citizens. Likewise, Bill Morrell
from Leech Lake spoke out against blood quantum. He also talked about future
generations, as well as equality, stating,
“I feel this way. The only way we can
ever reach a settlement is that no matter how
small quantity of blood an Indian man has, he
should have the privileges of a Chippewa Indian. We are all human, just like
any other people in this world. Why would you deprive your
own grandson of the rights of a Chippewa Indian? We aren’t like dogs,
who go and forget their pups as soon
as they’re big enough to go off by themselves.” Here, Morrell uses family as
leverage to call for the TEC to follow Anishinaabeg
values and practices. And he further advises the
Tribal Executive Committee to, quote, “be guided by the
love of your children, your little grandchildren,
even if they are mixed bloods.” He continues, “You can’t
tell your own relatives to get out because they
aren’t full bloods. You are a loving people. Consider the people
you are going to hurt by making that demarcation. Think how bad that
poor, old Indian woman is going to feel when she hears
that her little grandson is not a member of the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe.” Morrell’s call for the
traditional value of love to guide decision-making
is compelling. His comments also
raise questions about the future of the
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. What would happen to the
nation if citizenship declined and future generations
were, in fact, excluded? In addition to the concerns
for future generations that were expressed
at the meeting, past generations
were also mentioned. So Mr. Savage from Fond du Lac
noted that their forefathers had included mixed
bloods in treaties made with the United States. And he asked, quote, “Why
should we go on the record as opposing the
mixed bloods when they were approved of by our
forefathers so many years ago?” Asking this question
forced those at the meeting to think about the ways in which
their ancestors had addressed the same question of
including mixed bloods. And so the question
of tribal citizenship was not only about the
inclusion of future generations, but also about honoring the
wishes of their ancestors and continuing Anishinaabeg
practices of inclusion and caring for relatives. One year later, at meetings
in May and July of 1941, tribal citizenship was
again a prominent issue. Mr. Rogers from
White Earth began by summarizing the
discussion from May 1940, and he noted that this
question of citizenship had come up for the
last five years. So this is just a
small summary of what they have been talking
about over and over again in these meetings. And he said, now,
it’s been five years. We have basic agreement
that everyone who is descended from what they
call the Treaty of 1889, which we know as
the Nelson Act– he said, everyone that
is a descendant of that should be eligible for
tribal citizenship. And so he worked with the
Bureau to draft up a resolution. Rogers explained, quote, “These
rules throw the gate wide open. Any descendant of
the original members who were entitled to enrollment
under the Treaty or Agreement of 1889 are entitled
to enrollment. These rules provide
that any descendant, no matter what degree of
Indian blood he possesses or where he lives or where he
is born, so long as he can prove that he is a descendant or
issue of the original families, is entitled to enrollment
under these regulations. We want to enroll everybody
who is entitled to enrollment. We didn’t not want to
consider the quantum of Indian blood, the
place they were born, or where they lived.” So Rogers was attentive and
deliberate with the citizenship requirement that he drafted. The suggestion for
generous inclusion was grounded in
family relationships, Anishinaabeg values, and
all of the sentiments that have been expressed by the
delegates over several years. We also see that they don’t
want to exclude anyone who is, quote, “entitled”
to citizenship, indicating that a restriction
like blood quantum or a restriction
like place of birth would be a form of
disenfranchisement. So the resolution went
forward to the political body and was approved
in July of 1941. Then, as required by
the MCT Constitution, the resolution was submitted
to the commissioner of Indian Affairs for approval. That took a little bit of time,
as workings at the Bureau do. More than a year later, Oscar
Chapman, assistant secretary of the Department of Interior,
wrote to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe rejecting the resolution. Chapman noted that the
policy would create increased membership, which, of course,
they were very aware of that’s what they were doing. But Chapman notes that it’s
going to increase membership, but it’s not going to
result in increased funding from Congress,
which really wasn’t a part of their
discussions at all. This is his imposition of that. So the letter states in part,
“If the Minnesota Chippewa Indians desire to share their
property with a large number of persons who are Indians
neither by name, residence, or attachment, but by merely
the accident of a small portion of Indian blood, the
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe must realize that
every new name which they add to the
membership role will by that much decrease the
share every member now has in the limited assets of
the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.” And I feel like you can
hear the paternalism oozing from these letters. [LAUGHS] So here, Chapman’s
direct implication is that the fewer
citizens, there are the more resources
there are going to be for each individual–
so bringing economics into the citizenship
discussion here. He is attempting to sway
the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe into passing a
citizenship resolution that would be more restrictive. He presumed that the
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, elected
leaders, and citizens would be more concerned
with monetary compensation than with the inclusion of their
family members as citizens. In the following years, the
Bureau of Indian Affairs advised the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe to adopt a more restrictive
requirement for citizenship, noting that if they
were going to submit another resolution that
was the same, based on this concept
of lineal descent, they would again be rejected. And they were, several times. So to speed us along here,
despite these setbacks, for a number of years the Tribal
Executive Committee continued to push for lineal
descent as the requirement for citizenship, but they were
unsuccessful in ever getting that approved. In fact, as they were
told, those resolutions would be rejected,
and they were. So I’m going to speed
us ahead to 1961, which is when the Tribal Executive
Committee finally bowed to these pressures and passed
a citizenship requirement. The ordinance stated,
quote, “After the approval of this ordinance by the
secretary of interior, all children born to the parent
or parents whose names appear on the basic
membership roll shall be eligible for membership
provided they possess at least one-quarter degree Minnesota
Chippewa Indian blood, and provided further that an
application for enrollment is filed with the secretary
of the Tribal Delegates within one year of birth.” And we see in this
resolution, they’re already acknowledging as soon
as the secretary approves this, they’re finally giving
into that pressure. The Minnesota Chippewa
Tribe president has to qualify what
they’ve passed. And president at that time which
John Pemberton, and he said, quote, “It was necessary to set
the one-quarter degree blood quantum in the
ordinance in order to receive the approval of the
Department of the Interior, which defines an Indian
as being one-quarter or more degree Indian blood.” He went on to explain, quote,
if the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe does not set
up enrollment rules, then the Department will
make their own rules.” This is a time when termination
is going on in the US and they there have been
threatening letters sent to the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe– you guys have to decide
this, as though they haven’t tried to decide
it four or five times but been rejected. So no surprises. Ordinance was approved by
the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Also, during this time period,
the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is working to make significant
changes to the governing structure. And so what they did was
they proposed a whole host of changes in a
referendum in 1963. And MCT citizens voted
1,761 in favor and– oh, excuse me– 1,761 for, 1,295 against. And so both the citizenship gets
codified in the Constitution at that time as does a
host of other changes, and the secretary approves. The shift to blood
quantum as the determinant for tribal citizenship
in 1961 has, of course, had a significant
impact on the MCT. As feared by
Anishinaabeg leaders, many families have literally
been divided by blood quantum, with some family members
recognized and other family members excluded. I’m personally in a kind
of situation like that. My mother is enrolled as
a citizen and I’m not. And we see that pattern, just
as delegates were concerned about future generations. We’ve seen that
come to fruition. Recent research conducted
by the Wilder Research Center for the
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe found that, quote, “The
overall population of the MCT is declining under the current
one-quarter blood quantum requirement.” In her 2007 State of
the Nation Address, Erma Vizenor, chairwoman
of the White Earth Nation, spoke of the accomplishments
of the tribe as well as future goals,
and she announced it was her intention to
hold a Constitutional Convention in the fall, noting
that among other issues that needed to be addressed, the
citizenship issue needed to. And she stated, quote, “As
tribal membership continues to decline under the present
one-fourth blood quantum requirement, we must decide
eligibility for enrollment.” 40 White Earth
citizens volunteered to serve as delegates in the
Constitutional Convention process, and four
conventions were ultimately held between October
2007 and April 2009. The issue of
citizenship was just as significant to the
constitutional delegates as it had been more
than 50 years earlier. For example, William
Anywaush’s plea to, quote, “consider the relationship”
remained equally relevant. Constitutional delegates
discussed citizenship at each convention,
and while there was a diverse range
of views presented the discussion often
came back to family as well as the importance
of practicing our values, getting those values codified
into the Constitution. For example, one delegate
stated, “Everything we do– all the hard work,
love, respect– all of that should be pointed
toward future generations. Core values should
be used to take care of future generations.” Others equated
citizenship with resources and feared a larger population. For example, one
delegate stated, quote, “How can we cut
this pie any smaller? It scares me.” After several lively
and lengthy discussion, the constitutional
delegates decided that blood quantum was
not an appropriate means to define citizenship and they
wanted family relationships to take precedence, and
they passed a requirement for tribal citizenship that
was lineal descent that was very much like the
same kinds of citizenship requirements that
the tribe had tried to get passed years before. Over the next few years,
the process stalled. There are lots of
political issues to be navigated with
White Earth’s relationship with the Minnesota
Chippewa Tribe. The effort finally
moved forward in 2013, and White Earth citizens
voted to adopt the proposed constitution by a
margin of nearly 80%. But despite the landslide
approval of the Constitution, elected leaders at White Earth
halted the implementation, in part over concerns
over lineal descent and also because of this
question and uncertainty about White Earth’s position
within the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. And so the future of the
Constitution of the White Earth Nation is uncertain. If the US Secretary
of the Interior had not rejected
the MCT resolutions requiring lineal descent
for tribal citizenship, it seems unlikely that the
MCT would have ever created and implemented a one-quarter
blood quantum requirement. This imposition on
the fundamental right of the Minnesota Chippewa
Tribe to determine citizenship has had lasting consequences. Efforts to eliminate blood
quantum as a requirement continue as Anishinaabeg refuse
to forget about their children. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Good morning. Thank you very much, Philip,
for your kind presentation. Thank you very much
to the organizers of this important conference. It’s a pleasure and an
honor to be part of it. My presentation aims at
raising a number of issues about the connection between
citizenship and race in France. In spite of its proclaimed
universalist colorblind principles, the French
state has incorporated race as a central element into
its policies of citizenship. Black persons in France
often find their citizenship questioned in a suspicious way. As I will show, they are often
seen as foreigners, possibly undocumented migrants. Although trained as
a historian of the US and still working
on US history, I have delved more and
more in French history, partly because of my
French Senegalese origins, but also because as
a citizen of France I felt almost too obliged
to deal with these issues. In July of 2016, in a police
station located in the working class suburbs of Paris where
uprisings took place in 2005, a 24-year-old black man named
Adama Traoré died of natural causes, as the police stated. The Traoré family protested
and asked for a full inquiry regarding the
causes of the death. We soon learned that Traoré
died in this police station because he couldn’t breathe. His neck and chest were crushed
by three policemen standing on him. A few days later,
a demonstration took place in Paris, with
hundreds of protesters all asking for the truth. The movement, Black Lives
Matter France was created. You can see that on
this slide behind me. In other words, the
American situation, far from being totally
foreign, has often been a means or a window
through which to question French society and politics. Of course, BLM France
is much smaller and marginal than BLM USA,
not only in demographic terms but also politically speaking. Anti-racism in France
has been struggling, facing an aggressive
ultrarightist opposition. Anti-racism in my
country doesn’t have a history of
political victories that could energize new
generations of activists. No civil rights
movement in France, but a long history of
intellectuals and activists trying to bring to the
forefront racial inequalities and questioning the very
meaning of citizenship so closely linked to
Frenchness, as you will see. There is clearly
a growing interest for these issues in France,
including on the fine art scene. The Musee d’Orsay,
as Philip mentioned, has just opened an important
exhibit on the representation of blacks in the French painting
from the late [? 18th ?] to the 1930s. The name of the exhibit
is Le Modele Noir, attracting a huge attention
in France for some days now. So I thought that my
different points could be well illustrated, so to
speak, by paintings from this exhibit, which I
will also briefly comment. OK, so if I– correct, I should press here. So my first point is about
the fragility of citizenship. This fragility stems, I think,
from the French Revolution and the very foundation
of citizenship, which created
universal citizenship and abolished slavery in
1794 under the pressure of the Haitian Revolution. This new citizenship– the
invention of citizenship in France during the
French Revolution didn’t last long, as
slavery was reinstituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. A good example of
this is this woman who is behind me on the right. Her name is Madeleine. She was slaved in Guadeloupe
in the French Caribbean, brought to Paris as
a free woman in 1798, four years after the abolition. Here, she is painted by
Madame Benoit in 1800. And two years later, she
would be back to slavery in Guadeloupe, and we don’t
know what happened of her. The original title
of this painting was Portrait of a Negro Woman. But thanks to
research being done in the archives of
the Benoit family, we know now that this
woman’s name was Madeleine. So we chose to
rename the painting as Portrait de Madeleine
in the exhibit, and it will remain so at
the Louvre Museum, when the painting gets back
to the Louvre Museum in a few months from now. Another example is
the man next to her, Jean-Batiste Belley, who
was born in Senegal in 1746, was deported as a slave when
he was a baby to Saint-Domingue in the 1750s. And he later bought
his freedom and was elected to the French
Parliament in 1793 as the representative of
the island of Saint-Domingue with the aim of
abolishing slavery. So he’s painted here as one
of the proud representatives, having abolished slavery. But when Napoleon reinstituted
slavery, he also decided– Napoleon– that
all nonwhites had to leave Paris and
the surrounding area, which forced Belley
out of Paris in 1802. Obviously, all French
lost their citizenship with the empire and
the restoration. But citizenship–
that’s my point here– was first questioned
on the basis of race. The first unsettled citizens
of the French Republic were the former slaves. My second point is about the
gift of citizenship– what I call the gift of citizenship. That is, the fact that the
French Republic has often presented political
rights as granted, as generously
granted by the state. A good example of that is the
second abolition of slavery in 1848, as painted
by [INAUDIBLE] here, who was officially commissioned
by the Republic to celebrate the abolition, which is
typical of the narrative which the republic wanted to impose– citizenship granted to slaves
by the envoy of the republic. Slaves, as you can see,
very happy and surprised. As you may know, the
historical situation was vastly different,
as slaves had already rebelled at the news of
a revolution in Paris. When the abolition
was proclaimed– officially proclaimed–
in the spring of 1848, the French Caribbean were
uprising on a massive scale. So here, it is really about
the memory of slavery. The new citizens should
be thankful in a way and shouldn’t ask for more. They shouldn’t ask for
reparations, of course. The issue of reparations
surfaced as soon as 1848, but the former slave
owners, and only them, received substantial
amounts of money for the loss of
their human capital. Same, actually, in the United
Kingdom a few years earlier. My third point would be
about the invisibility of the nonwhite citizens. Many observers of French
social and political life seem to have recently
discovered the existence of black populations
in metropolitan France. On an individual level
these people may be visible, but as a social group and
as a cognitive category French blacks don’t have
much of an existence for social scientists
as well as policymakers. They have [? indeed ?] been
called invisible men and women. As a group, they don’t
have an existence, since the republic
doesn’t officially recognize ethnoracial minorities
and has defined itself as colorblind with no racial bias. This situation would
not be a problem if the social difficulties
encountered by French blacks were acknowledged and analyzed. As I argue, this
is not the case, so this invisibility,
rather than being the logical consequence of a
quiet life in French society, can be analyzed as a consequence
of discriminatory processes. On the academic level, the
situation is rather similar. In France, there are
more books and articles published on African Americans
than on African French or Caribbean French people. Indeed, African American history
is a fairly well-established field in France in
contrast to studies on African immigrants,
African students, Guadaloupian civil servants,
Senegalese [INAUDIBLE] et cetera, which are scarce. And there is not much
on “French blacks,” as if this notion had
no legitimacy or meaning to describe past and
contemporary social situations. In the exhibit Modele
Noir, I told you that we wanted to
rename those who had no name, including
one of the model of the late 19th century. Her name was Laure. You can see her in those
two paintings by Manet. And thanks to research by Denise
Murrell and another curator of the exhibit,
Isolde Pludermacher, Laure and other anonymous models
have been put to the forefront. Denise Murrell tells about
her art history courses at Columbia University
10 years ago when she was studying
the famous painting Olympia on the left,
which was painted in 1865. And she remarked that
the black person that is Laure in the
background was not even mentioned by
the art professor analyzing the painting. And she also remarked
that there are more studies in France on the
black cat which is on the bed than on Laure herself. And Laure didn’t have any
name, literally, but the three of those delved into the
archives for the last year and found quite a few
things on this woman who shifted from small jobs,
model but also servant. She took care of babies and
she did all kind of small jobs at that time. We don’t know what
happened of her after 1880. So the issue of invisibility
is very much there, including obviously,
in the fine arts. And that’s of the
objective of the exhibit, to tell a different story. My fourth point is
about the language. And here, I mean
the ways in which institutions of the French state
have used the French language to make proper distinctions
between French citizens and French subjects of
the colonial empire. The French language was
seen as too sophisticated to be properly learned
by the subjects. During World War I, when 150,000
African soldiers came to fight in the trenches, a new
language was invented, named [? Francais-Tirallieur, ?]
a Pidgin French, supposedly easier to
learn for simple minds. Then this Pidgin French
invented by French linguists came to be so closely
associated to Africans that it was naturalized
and seen as their language. Most nonwhites in
France have stories to tell about people talking
to them in a simplified French. Talking slowly, as if
they couldn’t understand. Here you have, on this
slide, the [? manual ?] that is the book that was
published during the war and in the subsequent
years so as to familiarize the
soldiers with the French. But the French, as it
is explained and taught in this little textbook,
is not a standard French. It is a simplified
French, as I said. And you have an example of that
in the sentence at the bottom of this commercial. [? “Y’a ?]
bon,” meaning it’s good, but it’s not a good French. Obviously, it’s this Pidgin
French, invented, again, by the French linguists. The command of French is still
one of the current criteria to get French citizenship, with
French exams becoming harder and harder over the years. And I suspect that quite a
few French people would not pass the exam. We can also think of
efforts by the French state to erase local accents
in metropolitan France, especially through the
higher education system. The intimate link between
citizenship and language is crucial when analyzing
the internal boundaries of citizenship. My fifth point is about
getting citizenship. Several thousands of the
World War I African soldiers chose to stay in
France after 1918, in spite of the French
authorities which insisted that the colonial
soldiers had to return to their native colonies. A mixed population of persons
from Africa and the Caribbean grew in the interwar period– I think around 30,000 people–
at a time when blacks were not only a matter of
colonial discourses but became a fairly banal
fact in Paris, Marseille, or Bordeaux. The issue of citizenship soon
came to the forefront since many of these soldiers–
former soldiers, veterans– subjects of the empire were
asking for French citizenship. And most of their demands– I believe 80% of their
demands– were turned down. When looking at
the files, we can see that they did not
deserve citizenship. The merits– [SPEAKING FRENCH]—-
none proved merits. Marriage to a French citizen
did not automatically grant citizenship and still does not. A citizenship based on merits
included a higher education degree. For example, this is how
Senghor, born in Senegal, became a French citizen
in 1932, since he went to the Sorbonne University;
political support; or fame. Here, I found the
application for citizenship by Josephine Baker in
1937, when she married a French man, Jean Lion. In the file, there is a note
by the American Consul, which basically says that
there is no need to start a more detailed inquiry
regarding Josephine Baker. She was obviously so
well known that there was no need to go further. And this is how she was
granted French citizenship while keeping her
American citizenship. But when we delve
into applications from anonymous
people, we can really see the discrepancy
between, on the one side, the official criteria to
get French citizenship, and the actual practices
regarding citizenship. The actual practices can only
be seen through the individual files when looking at the little
notes written by the mayor, written by the governor, the
[INAUDIBLE] of such and such area, regarding the morality
of the soldier explaining that the– the soldier, if it’s
a former veteran– it was often the case
in the 1920s and 1930s– all kind of things
that are taken into account when
granting citizenship. So citizenship is not
about the general law. It’s really about
the specifics of it. My last point is about
exoticism and the fact that the depiction of nonwhites
as foreigners, visitors, sometimes unwanted visitors,
migrants, is still very vivid as the French have
been struggling with the transformation
of French society. And here you can see the
depiction of Josephine Baker obviously in highly exoticized
ways in the 1920s and 1930s. And if there is one question
which black persons have often to answer in France, it
is where do you come from. And if you say,
well, I’m from Paris. It’s my case. People say, but where
do you really come from? As if, obviously, you
were coming from some kind of exotic country. So as a conclusion, to quote
Professor Mack this morning, who raised the question of the
meaning of formal citizenship. If it’s still a valid
category of analysis, my answer would be that the
most fragile, vulnerable, take formal citizenship
very seriously. Thousands every year apply
in the US or in France to get citizenship. And it is not an easy
process, which speaks volume about the importance of it. In the case of black
persons in France, citizenship can be seen as
a protection against some of the most burdensome
kinds of racial injustice, and most importantly
facilitate the trips to their native countries. However, there are also
internal boundaries between different
groups of citizens. The yellow vest
movement in France recently showed how class,
in the Marxist sense, still very much matters
in political activism and consciousness. The yellow vest speak about
being second class citizens. There are also racial
boundaries, as we have seen, also prompting the
activists of BLM France to speak of being
second class citizens. I’m not sure that the language
of second class citizenship is very helpful from an
analytical standpoint. I like much better the
idea of unsettled citizen. I also speak of
vulnerable citizens. However, what matters here is
that the demands for rights, wages, health care, better
behavior of the police, education, et cetera,
are still framed in the language of citizenship. I think it tells a
lot about the enduring power of citizenship in France
as well as in the United States. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] – Good morning. When people ask, where
are you really from– [LAUGHTER] –they often say, well, there’s
no country called Hmong, so where are you really from? So I get that question
all the time too. So it is indeed a great pleasure
for me to be here today. Thank you so much to the
committee for inviting me. What I want to do
today is that– I think that all of the
topics that you talked about, even the chickenization,
is very important in terms of Hmong American lives
in the United States. Many Hmong actually
became chicken farmers. And I’ve actually studied some
of the farms that they buy, and they’re very tragic stories. So thank you so much for all
of you for being here too. And I think, just
having me come today says a lot about
the kinds of things that we want to talk
about as a nation. And earlier, we talked
about how citizenship was sort of promised
before people even came to this country. So there’s so much I
want to talk about, but I think that for the purpose
of our conversation today, I want to show how
Hmong American veterans’ mobilization for citizenship
and belonging, especially incorporating into US
military history, sort of demonstrates the different ways
in which they are people who have very little agency, the
ways in which we’ve described them, but at the
same time they’ve exercised tremendous
agency in terms of reframing this whole
idea that they were merely foreign mercenaries, reframing
that narrative constituting their military
service during the war to be something
that’s very patriotic, something very patriotic. And so when I talk about
Hmong experiences, what I want to hope to do
today is to demonstrate that really the extent to
which ethnic minorities like the Hmong are perceived
to be included or not really depends on the different
ways in which states have various processes
to incorporate marginalized groups. So just so that we are
all on the same page, I want to do a one-minute
Hmong history because I think not everyone may have that. I know we’re at
Harvard, but sometimes people still have
questions for me. So I will do a
one-minute history. So for most of you who
may have heard of Hmong, I hope it’s not just
through Gran Torino. [LAUGHTER] So the Hmong are an
ethnic minority group, where about 4 million still
live in southern China. That’s where our roots are. But in the mid to late
1800s, some of my ancestors began to move to what is called
the Indochinese Peninsula. And in the 1950s, ’60s, with
the emergence of the Cold War, then it was really precisely
because they became involved in the clandestine army, that
we know that for the United States, over 3 million
Americans served in Vietnam– American soldiers. But because of Lao
neutrality, they weren’t American
soldiers inside of Laos. And so the United
States had to create these foot soldiers to support
the larger war in Laos. So this is just the image of
some of the soldiers’ children that were being trained
and paid for by the United States during the course
of the Vietnam War. So for me, I think
it’s very important to talk about this a
little bit more in depth. Because from 1961 to 1973,
over 40,000 Hmong combatants served in this
clandestine army out of a population of a little
bit more than 300,000. And during the
course of the war, about 17,000 combatants died. So when we compare that to
58,000 Americans who died– I mean, several
hundred thousand who were injured as well, but 40,000
out of a population of 300,000, and 17,000 died. And then thousands more died as
we escaped Laos to seek refuge in Thailand. So over the course
of the war, we became displaced– internally
displaced within Laos, in our mountains and
villages and towns, wars that were decided on the
other side of the world, that had nothing to do with us, but
we became entangled in that. So after the war
ended in 1975– again, it ended for the
United States in 1973, but for the Hmong and
other Southeast Asians, it did not end until 1975. And over 170,000 Hmong
have been resettled in the Western hemisphere,
the vast majority of us came to the United States–
about 140,000 in the United States; a little
bit more than 10,000 in France because of
the colonial history. So a lot of the things
that Pap talked about are very much relevant to
Hmong experiences as well. So the vast majority, again,
came to the United States. We had very small populations
went to Canada and Australia, and about a couple
of dozen families to Argentina and Germany. So today, I think
there are about– the 2017 US American
Community Survey estimated a little
bit over 300,000 Hmong in the United States. And we are all
over the country– California, Wisconsin,
and Minnesota are the three states with
the largest Hmong population. So that will help to
explain some of the things that I will show you about
why these things are happening in these various
parts of the country. But one point to make
that’s very important is that the vast
majority of Hmong came from an
agrarian background. They were Hmong people who
received formal education in France, as well as
being trained in English, to work with the
Americans during the war. But the vast majority of the
people who came to this country came with very
limited education. So indeed, by the mid
1970s, early 1980s, you see all these
Asian whiz kids. Right? In Time, Life magazine. And for the Hmong Americans, we
couldn’t live up to that model minority identity. And so people began
to talk about how we didn’t belong in this country. Many people talked
about how we didn’t belong because we
didn’t fit neatly into that minority status. So beginning in
the mid 1980s, you began to have Hmong veterans
creating organizations, wanting to lobby Congress
to seek formal recognition. So very instrumental
is the creation of several organizations–
veterans organizations. I mean, things like this
didn’t exist before they came to the United States. But they learned about
the different processes in this country and how to
get access to recognition. So the Laos Veterans
of America– and I won’t read
through all of them, but pay attention
to the mission– the purpose of
these organizations. Right? The Lao Veterans of America. Really very much pro-Vang Pao,
the Hmong general who the US– the CIA in particular–
worked with. The organization’s
purpose is really about not just
recognition for Hmong, but for US national security. So think about the language that
they use in their own missions. And then one of the most
common descriptions of Hmong, especially by CIA and other
people who worked with them in Laos is that the Lao Hmong
in American Coalition formed in the mid 1990s was
that they were– or we– I should say we– were America’s
staunchest allies. Most loyal allies
in terms of all the different covert
operations across the world. And then another organization
that’s very active now is the SGU– the Special Guerrilla Unit– and Family Development of USA. So really to get
benefits for Hmong, be acknowledged as veterans,
and then also very much talking about the Hmong’s unique
military service to America during the war. So they learned how things
work in this country. So legislative advocacy is one
of the most common examples of Hmong trying to
get recognition. In 2000, signed by President
Clinton, the Hmong Veterans Naturalization Act. Really, again, as I mentioned,
people came to this country with very limited
formal education. They didn’t speak English. Very difficult for people
who are 40, 50 years old who have never gone to school to be
able to learn English and then pass that citizenship test,
which I know when I administer, most of my American
students can’t pass. And I had to take that
when I was 18 years old. But really, the Act
was to facilitate, to make it easier for Hmong
soldiers in particular who served in this clandestine
army who can prove that they actually served in
those army forces, to have the language waiver– the English waived;
and then also at the civic
education part waived as well for some of them. And spouses of those
who passed away could benefit from that as well. But perhaps the most
instrumental legislation, which just passed very
recently, this spring, is the Hmong Veterans
Recognition Act of 2018. And here, again, the whole idea
that Hmong veterans continues [INAUDIBLE] perpetual
is that we were willing to die for
the American nation before we even set
foot on US soil. So as a benefit– but they had been
advocating this for years– for many, many years– and finally, 2018, this passes. And now Hmong
soldiers or veterans who, again, could
document that they served, could be buried in
national cemeteries, with the exception of
Arlington National Cemetery. So besides legislation, one
of the most common activities that Hmong communities
across the country have done is to advocate for
and build memorials, really getting their
supporters to support creation of memorials at
the national level as well as in local communities. And you’ll see why they exist
in the different locations that I’ll talk about. So through much advocacy
work, and by the mid 1990s, the CIA, especially
William Colby, who had served during
the secret war, and many other Americans who
worked with Hmong in Laos, began to acknowledge this unique
role that Hmong people played during the Vietnam War or during
the US secret war in Laos. So in the mid 1990s,
the first memorial– it’s not even a memorial–
the little plaque– can I get a show of hands–
has anybody ever seen this? OK. So the gentlemen in back. So this Laos Memorial,
recognizing Hmong and Lao and Americans who
served in Laos, is in Arlington
National Cemetery. So small. It’s right on Grant
Avenue, overlooking the Tomb of the Unknown,
very interestingly. Small plaque. But every year, Hmong
American veterans come to have a
memorial service there. So very interesting
that it’s actually right in the heart of
the American nation at the Arlington
National Cemetery. But what’s probably
more interesting is all the different community
efforts across the country to build war memorials. This one in Fresno, California,
the biggest single city concentration of
Hmong in the nation. The Twin Cities is the biggest
in terms of a concentration, but in terms of a
city it’s Fresno. It’s not really fair to
count Saint Paul-Minneapolis, but we tend to want to be– I grew up in
Minnesota, so we tend to think that that’s
the most important part. [LAUGHTER] At any rate, in Fresno,
this wonderful memorial is built right in front
of the courthouse. It’s community driven. And it’s also, you know,
the local leadership that advocated for,
supported, the construction of this memorial. But you’ll see this
dominant narrative of the secret war, where
American soldiers were rescued by Hmong pilots
and as well Hmong soldiers. So that’s a typical memorial,
in terms of war memorial. So around the base,
you’ll have this history about how the Hmong
deserve to be here, and that these
memorials represent why they are a part– they
are friends in our community. But something that’s
very interesting. The next year, in
2006, a large memorial is erected in
Sheboygan, Wisconsin. And maybe most people have
never heard of Sheboygan. About an hour
north of Milwaukee, overlooking Lake Michigan,
right in a public park. When people come to this
event, it’s like 24 panel, with history, with
all kinds of rationale for why Hmong people are
here in that community. So whether or not
people want to engage, people who visit the
park, whether or not they want to engage,
they can’t avoid it. It’s so big, right
in front of them. So children, visitors from
all ages will have to engage, even if they don’t want– – [SNEEZES] Sorry. – And then, again, changing
a little bit to Minnesota, where we have large
Hmong populations. It’s interesting how
that didn’t come first. Right? So in Wisconsin, Wausau,
Wisconsin is a place that if you’ve ever read about
immigration and [INAUDIBLE] in the 1990s really was
very important in lifting or educating people
all over the country about the problems with Hmong
refugees in Wausau, Wisconsin. Today, Wausau’s population
has over 10% that are Hmong. And before the Hmong
arrived, I think that people of color
population was almost– well, with the exception of the
Native population, very, very few people, with the exception
maybe a few Korean adoptees, but other than that there
were no “diversity” in terms of racial composition. But in Wausau, this wonderful
2016 memorial is erected. Again, very typical, similar
to the one in Fresno. And no longer are they
talking about Hmong and US soldiers in Laos. In fact, they’re
claiming– you know, this is the Hmong Vietnam
War Memorial in Wisconsin. And then, the same
year, right in front of the state Capitol in
Saint Paul, Minnesota, over 10 years of work, raising
money by the local Hmong community as well as friends
of the Hmong community in the Twin Cities,
2016, this memorial is built, right in
front, on Capitol ground. So instead of soldiers,
you see this, you know, vigorous sprout, is
what they call it. And around it, you have
stories of village life, war, migration, around that. So it tells a larger community
story than just veterans. And then last but
not least, I have– plans in the state of Wisconsin,
in La Crosse, Wisconsin, right on the Mississippi River, there
is now, under construction, a new memorial. So Hmong people are
spread all over Wisconsin, and so there’s going to
be a new memorial built. But you’ll see that now it’s
called Hmong Lao Vietnam Veterans Memorial. So now including some
of the other ethnic Lao individuals as well. So just a couple of points
that I want to make. This memorial building
practice is actually not just unique to
the United States. We are the largest population in
terms of Hmong in this country. However, in France
in particular, the second largest Hmong
diasporic community, in 2013 there was a memorial erected
to recognize the Hmong who have moved to France. But what’s interesting
is that the inscription on that memorial in 2010, which
was located in [INAUDIBLE].. And what the memorial
and the inscription actually says,
[SPEAKING FRENCH].. So this is really
recognizing the Hmong who sided with the French
during the First Indochina War. So interestingly,
neglecting the American war, but really lifting
that colonial history in that alliance with the
French during that war. In 2016, there’s
ceremonies in Lyon. And then also, very,
very recently– February 16, 2019,
at [INAUDIBLE],, there’s another memorial,
again, built, recognizing the Hmong who died for France. So in fact, to me,
it’s very interesting, the picking up in French
Guiana where some of the Hmong currently live, there’s
now ceremonies to recognize the Hmong combatants during
the First Indochina War. So just a few thoughts
in my last minute here, is that I think
as Cold War refugees, the Hmong were indeed
really voting with our feet to come to the United States. And as refugees, we were
legally admitted into the United States, and we have access
to eventually become citizens if we are able to. And for those who
couldn’t, there have been efforts to
facilitate that process to enable them to
become US citizens. But what’s interesting
is that almost always, in terms of Hmong veterans,
the Hmong Americans, especially the
elders, almost always referencing their sacrifice,
the ultimate sacrifice that one makes– being willing to
die for a nation– as the reason why we
in the [INAUDIBLE] deserve to be here
in the United States. That we earned our
place to be here. That’s the message. Over and over again. Politicians, people who
support Hmong Americans, almost always–
you can’t avoid not talking about our
sacrifices during the war, justifying our presence
in this great nation. So thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] – So as with the
first panel, we’re going to take a few minutes to
sort of chat among ourselves and then we’ll open
things up for questions. I’m struck by the ways
that, in the first panel, we thought about the
unevenness of citizenship. And there is a sort of
sense that there’s perhaps hierarchies that are attached
to that– some citizenships are better than other citizenships. But I think what
that first panel was getting at was
actually something that’s more complicated than that. Right? There’s no clear hierarchy. There’s a continuing set
of shifting possibilities. The ground is a little open. Two of the things that I heard
out of our papers– and I’ll just sort of throw this
out, and perhaps folks would like to respond or not. Or perhaps you all just have
things to say to each other. You know, in some
ways, there’s perhaps a little bit of a typology
that emerges out of this. So I was just listing– of course we have
the regular kind of formal legal citizenship
that we think about. We have cultural forms of
citizenship– cultural claims. We clearly have racially
defined citizenships– black colonial soldiers. And in France, blood quantum
is, for Native people, sort of a racializing
practice that goes to citizenship
at the very moment that the institutions of
tribal governance are claimed– through a legal case
called Morton v. Mancari, which is under
grave threat right at this particular moment– to be political,
not racial, groups. Right? So there’s a really interesting
and odd tension around this. There’s clearly sort
of kin citizenships, when Josephine Baker
doesn’t actually have to prove anything. There’s a famous citizenship. She gets to sort of count
for two different categories. There are certain kinds of
merit citizenships, which we oftentimes hear about today. We only want certain
people of merit to be in certain kind of
places, which then concludes the sense that if there
are people without merit, they actually don’t
deserve to be here. There’s a sense of a sort
of gifted citizenship, with the question of
slavery in particular. Right? You ought to be grateful,
because now we’re going to make you a citizenship. The value of citizenship
is your reparation. Right? You know, be quiet
and be grateful. And then this sort of sense
of repayment or service citizenship, I think,
which is so often attached to the military. The sense of blood sacrifice
prior to even thinking about citizenship. We see this with
African American colonial French soldiers. We clearly see it with
Native American soldiers in World War I, leading to
the Citizenship Act of ’24. And World War II, Native
American stuff happens. And so there is this
sort of typology that sort of
arranges itself here. And then I think there’s a
set of pathways, also, of how we imagine thinking
about citizenship. And certainly, the
African American narrative in the United States gives
us one of these pathways– from slavery to
freedom to citizenship. Freedom is the weigh station
on its way to citizenship. Right? So the slavery to
citizenship thing is not necessarily
kind of direct. And there are
certain meanings that are implicated in freedom
in relation to citizenship. What I heard was a couple
of other pathways as well. Sort of a military
kind of citizenship that leads to a
claim of patriotism as the grounds for a
claim to citizenship. Or sovereignty, in a tribal
context, that leads to a claim to citizenship. Or I think– this is the
last thing I’ll say– what we heard in
particular is sort of a sense in which
nationalism is a sort of route into a claim to
citizenship as well. And I think it takes us to sort
of the very famous Benedict Anderson argument,
about citizenship being– or the nation
being constituted as an imaginary
community, too large to actually be a physical
face-to-face community, but an imagined
kind of community. And of course,
Anderson said there are many, many ways in
which that imagination takes place, including things
like memorials and museums. And I think it’s not
out of line to suggest that the memorialization,
and particularly around the patriotic claim of
soldiers and military service, is really key here. Jill didn’t mention it, although
we were talking about it before– the Native American
Veterans Memorial is being planned right now. Will go up on the Mall
in 2020, as I recall. And then this list of
military memorials, which are sort of everywhere
and extend into France. So these to me feel
like the things that are sort of on the table. And there’s a relationship
here between citizenship, nationalism,
rights, patriotism– all of these things, which
is a little hard to untangle. And so I’m wondering if folks
have thoughts about this, or perhaps if there
are things that you’d like to say to each other
relative to what you’ve heard. – I just want to say that– you know, you were speaking
about African colonial subjects in Paris. I think most people know the
story much better now, too, but you have so much of the
Indochinese colonial subjects going to Paris. And that really
raised consciousness of our most famous colonial
subject, Ho Chi Minh. Really, I think, very
fascinating to see how they come to Paris in
the idea of citizenship. Right? Or it’s sort of
formed in that space. But in the colonial
space, they’re not able to really
engage or benefit from the kinds of
developments that were taking place in their own nation. So I think many Indochinese
colonial subjects– I think after the
war, many people became French citizen as well. When I lived in Paris,
what’s interesting is that they had
ceremonies as well to remember their sacrifice. But it wasn’t until all
these different things that were happening here
in the United States. So remember, things
were already– legislative actions
were taking place here in the United States
for years, and then just a ceremony in France in 2013. So it is really through
this diasporic consciousness that Hmong in France
and in French Guiana are now understanding how
they too can then demonstrate their patriotism or commitment
to the French nation by articulating their
sacrifices on the French side during the war. – Well, there’s Hmong soldiers
who served in the French Army during the first
war in Indochina are being honored now
with different memorials. And I was surprised to
realize how many of these were integrated, or
have been integrated, for these past few years. But I would argue that there
are more of these memorials regarding the soldiers than
African soldiers, you see? So here, we are talking about
different kinds of merits regarding the military
service, which is a way for me, of course, to
get back to the issue of race. There are different kinds
of nonwhite soldiers. And in a way, it relates to
a somehow more positive image of Asian migrants who are
seen as hard walkers, who are seen as not complaining
about their situation, unlike migrants
coming from Africa. – Sure. – So here, we’re talking
about different kinds of military service, which
is a way for me, of course, to relate to what you said– the idea that you deserve
or not becoming a citizen is very central. The idea of a specific
merit, whatever it is– what you did, the
way you studied, the way you fought, and
so on and so forth– are very central elements
into the opening of the door, literally, of citizenship. But when you look
at that, I think what has struck me is the
highly fluctuant appreciation of those merits, because
it’s not written in the law. Is really depends
on local officials. It really depends on the kind
of interpersonal relationship which people may have. So here, we deal with law as
a very fluctuant and practical set of practices which can
really vary from one place to another. But again, the idea
that some people deserve and others don’t seem
to me very central in the understanding of
who deserves to be French, or American for that matter. – Yeah. And I think– you know, I
didn’t talk about this too much, but maybe I’ll add in the
American Indian context, the citizenship
was more a route– the US was hoping, anyway, that
it would be more of a route to assimilation and
disenfranchisement from tribal citizenship. So in part, the
1924 Citizenship Act was connected to
American Indians who served in the First World War. And some of them
served potentially out of patriotism to
the US, but many of them served for a host
of other reasons– because they were recruited
out of boarding schools, because there weren’t other
economic opportunities available to them. And for some of them
also, participating in the American military– because by that
point, tribes weren’t having their own
military societies, weren’t active anymore,
participating in the US and having that
battle experience could inaugurate them into a
certain ceremonial societies within the tribe. And so the US might
have seen it as, oh, we’re going to get these
American Indian soldiers. They’re going to become so
patriotic and assimilate. And while that may be
true to a small extent, by and large American
Indians have always fought and advocated for
maintaining tribal citizenship and that US citizenship
does not diminish our tribal citizenship. And so there is the
tension of dual citizenship for American Indians and then,
as I talked more about, the US efforts to limit citizenship
in American Indian nations to hopefully move towards
American Indians just being US citizenship and
getting rid of their status. – I mean it’s a sort
of amazing moment where citizenship
for Native people really does function as a sort
of technology of erasure– – Yes. – –in terms of tribal
citizenship and sort of pulling into a full assimilation
kind of thing. So it’s interesting that
some of the dynamics are like keeping people
away from citizenship, when in fact pulling Indian
people into citizenship for the purposes of making
them not Indian is this really interesting thing that happens. So we’ve reached the moment
where we open things up to questions. I will simply second my
colleague earlier this morning, Kenneth Mack, in saying,
the microphone is here. Please step to the line. Please tell us your name. Please ask a question. Please don’t make a statement. We all know how the rules work. If it works well,
things will go well. And we don’t all have to
answer to every question. I think it’s important for
us to have as many voices as we can, rather than sort
of have everybody respond. So with that. – Hi. I’m Adam Strom,
from an organization called Re-Imagining Migration. I loved the presentation. – Adam, can you get
closer to the microphone? – Yeah. – Thank you. – So I loved these
presentations. They were great. And they had me thinking both
about the texture of what you said, but also broader. So I’m thinking
about complementary or transnational or communal
claims of citizenship– when do they strengthen
the efforts for people to get full rights and full
recognition of citizenship, and when do they get seen as
weakening those arguments, especially considering
many folks who are claiming full
citizenship and are deprived of them are already
stereotyped as disloyal? So I’m just interested. Especially– I’m
thinking– this is come out of the discussion
of the French case. That’s where my head is at. – Should I? – Yes. – Yes, please. – OK. Yeah. When I were interviewing
many, many French blacks when I wrote a study on
that, a book on that, I was struck by how
much they insisted on their French citizenship. They would just come forward and
say, oh, you know, I’m French. And you had really to
spend time with people so that they can mention their
origin and talk about that. But their first move really is
to insist on their Frenchness in ways which I think
blacks in the United Kingdom do not do as much. There is this idea,
oh, I’m French. The insistence of French–
is interesting, of course, because it can be seen as
a way to protect themselves against issues regarding–
and people suspecting, precisely, their Frenchness. When you have to deal
with the police, when you have to deal with
some administration using the tu rather than vous as a
way to interact with people. People immediately
say, but I’m French. You see. That’s a way they’re asking
for respect and et cetera. And I was suspecting
at first that people would be more willing to
insist on their transnational, multinational identities. But not so much. In fact, unless they are in a
safe environment, of course, among friends and
family, where, of course, identity can be
more subtle and can imply the national
origins in ways which people do not in a
more formal environment. – Hi. My name is [INAUDIBLE]
[? Singh. ?] And I’ve been catching
a theme here related to Native Americans, especially
the question of identity or citizenship being measured
by your bloodlines, basically, or analysis of blood. And I know Professor
Deloria mentioned this a few minutes ago, but I’d like
to tease that question apart a little bit. There has been this theme
of blood percentage. There’s the much
reviled blood and soil discussion from racism. And I’m trying to
reconcile those two in the face of a
global climate crisis where actual citizenship
doesn’t matter because people need
to eat and they need to go to where they are safe. So I am struggling
with those questions, and any insights you
have I would appreciate. Thank you. – Do you want to– I don’t know. – I can say a few things. I mean, I think sort of the
nature of blood quantum, which as Jill, I think, really quite
artfully showed does not– this is not part of sort
of older Native kinds of traditions of belonging,
acknowledgment, and membership. Kinship matters, but blood
is a racial imposition. The United States does
in the late 19th century and continues forward. But it continues with such power
that actually Native people end up sort of adopting
and appropriating that racialized
language in order to think about themselves and
membership and affiliation kinds of issues. Many, many people
within these groups would say, well, that’s wrong. That’s not a good idea. We should really
do lineal descent. This is a way of
thinking in kinship terms and in family terms. But we should also think,
like, if we say, look, this is not a racial group. Native people have
political relations with the federal government
as tribal nations. Then we could be thinking
that citizenship in very, very different ways with our own
naturalization processes, which might involve learning
language, for example, or doing other things, or living
in community, or making other– certain kinds of
criteria for citizenship then start to emerge
which are quite different from saying there’s
a racial identity attached to that. And that feels to
me like an option not just for Native
people to think harder about this question, but for
everybody to think about it. And it may speak to the question
about how we think citizenship in a global sense in a
moment of climate change– I don’t exactly
know, and I don’t want to go too far down the
roads making claims about this, but Native people
and the dilemmas that they face
oftentimes are not marginal to the larger
world in which we live. Although we oftentimes treat
it that way incorrectly. Go ahead, please. – My name is Ricardo Cortez. And I would like to
know if any of you could comment on
perhaps one item that was not really introduced
on your discussions on gatekeepers. It’s the perception of
how are you going to be voting if you are a citizen? I mean, Cuban immigrants that
are allowed into the country very easily, where citizens
from Central America, Mexico, they are not. – So the question
is about voting? – Mhm. – Maybe– so for a lot of
Hmong American veterans, things have changed over time. I think during the Cold
War in the ’80s and– when Hmong Americans were viewed
as these freedom fighters, then in terms of
federal issues people were very much supported by more
Republican legislators, right? They were very much– but in terms of domestic issues,
so many people struggling, living in poverty,
then it is really voting more towards the left. That’s been the trend over time. But as we live here
longer in this country, I see a larger split
in the community, where many people are doing
better for themselves and then they’re beginning
to now be those gatekeepers. Right? We came here. We struggled. We made it. So those people should
do the same thing. And so the policy changes
or thinking or affiliations, alliances, are– we’re becoming like
other Americans. That’s all I’m saying. Much more diverse. Not all just freedom
fighters, but people are thinking about
what they’re interested in their local communities,
as well as the state issues. So much more
diverse than before. Before, you would
have a certain kind of politicians that would
come to Hmong events to get them all to vote. And Hmong elder leaders
would always say, OK, everyone vote for this person. So it’s not about the issues
that they’re representing, but it’s what the elders
tell people to vote. But that’s no longer the case. And for those of you who
know a little bit about Hmong Americans, we have
been very, very active politically in the state
of Minnesota and Wisconsin and California, in
particular Minnesota. In the 2018 special
elections, we had 11 Hmong Americans who were
elected to judgeships and also state and local positions. So very– we’re
changing as well. – Yeah. It reminds me a study I
did quite a few years ago, asking people about
the reasons why they applied to French citizenship. So they would start with
some lip service to France. You know, I feel French,
and French history– I love whatever– food– [LAUGHTER] – –whatever would come up. You know, just what
I call lip service. OK. And then, once the
lip service was over, you would get to very
practical things. No problem with the
administration anymore. And very important, the
possibility to travel. That’s very, very important–
travel back and forth between France and their
native countries, which is a real serious issue because
each time you leave France you never know if
you can come back, if you won’t get into trouble
at the police at the airport and so on. So these are very
practical issues. Then, I was expecting voting
rights to be very important. Yes, they are
mentioned, but they seem to be less important
than the possibility to travel freely. Voting rights are
important, but they depend very much onto the
political consciousness, so to speak, of the
people being interviewed. People, of course, being members
of political organizations, trade unions, mentioned voting
rights as very important. But for the, you know,
just regular people without any specific political
involvement, the most practical matters are put on the forefront
once the lip service to France is being paid. – It feels like this is
a discourse mobilized by political parties that
does not necessarily match up with the people on the ground. There’s four Native American
folks in Congress right now. Two are Republicans. Two are Democrats. I mean, it’s just not
as predictable, I think, as folks would say. Please. – I’m David Allen. More on blood quantum. I am struck by the startling
contrast between what we’ve learned this morning– the Chippewa approach to the
question of percentage of blood and its role in belonging and
citizenship on the one side, and on the other side the white
nationalist view that blood must be pure, which is of course
evocative of what underlies here, us and them, the other and
us, what’s inside and outside– the definitions of identity. The question is,
might we use some of what we learned
this morning as a model much more broadly
here in our society and otherwise for moving forward
on these questions of how we live with each other,
overlapping memberships, instead of the
horrors of 6 million exterminated in the
Second World War because their blood wasn’t pure. Over to you. – [LAUGHS] Thank you. Yes. Yeah. This whole idea of
blood as a metaphor has huge meanings in a
variety of cultures over time. But the idea about
blood as being something measurable and quantifiable
and connected to citizenship was really, by and large,
coming from the United States as a way to reduce the
number of people, of American Indians, who had that legal and
political status as American Indians in order to
erase that status. And from an Anishinaabeg
point of view, the record is rich
and clear that we’re interrelated bodies
of kin and families and we have obligations
to each other. We also have obligations to
this land, which might connect briefly to the other question. And so if we think about
our responsibilities, perhaps, rather
than our rights– we think about our
responsibilities and our relationships,
that just gets us a whole other perspective. You know, like the record
of the Anishinaabeg leaders who were speaking during
this time saying, what happens if we’re guided by
the love of our children and our future generations? How does that change
our perspective and how we treat each other? So it would be
wonderful if we could be moving in that direction. It takes all of us, though. – We just have a couple minutes
left, so maybe we can quickly– – Hi. [? Noni ?] Valentine. I have listened
with such interest to your exploration of
the dynamics of exclusion, and it’s making me think
about the other side. And if each of you
was in a position– a powerful position–
to determine citizenship for others, to decide who
gets included, seriously, what would be your
fundamental criteria, especially in view of merit,
which you’ve spoken about and some of the other themes? – Well, thanks for
like a huge question, as we’re trying
to wrap things up. [LAUGHTER] I don’t know if
somebody wants to– – I don’t think anybody
told us we would have to answer that question– [LAUGHTER] –when we were invited. Yeah. You know, I don’t
have an answer, but I want to steal a
little bit from Jill. I think what’s more important,
if I think about the world today, is that we need to
be more kind to each other. We have this shared
humanity, shared experiences on this earth, so I think
it’s important to have some kind of documentation
and some kind of order within nations. I think that’s important. But at the same time,
if I were in charge, if I have the power you just
asked me to imagine I would, I may not give citizenship
such a big priority. I might be very interested
in this whole idea of the global citizen,
because what I do here, right here on this
campus, impacts somebody in other parts of the world. In the corporations that
operate all over the world, they have impact– you know, the dollars might
come back to our community, but they impact those
local communities. Very importantly, my
uncles live in Laos, and the kinds of
development, globalization, that’s reached their villages–
the trucks coming to– you know, the
logging, all the film and all the environmental
issues are impacting them. So I think that’s
what I would do, is to put more emphasis on
who we are as human beings. And we’re more alike
than we are different, but we spend so much time
focusing on that difference. – So we’ve reached and
actually exceeded our time. And I think this large question
and this quite lovely response is perhaps a good
way for us to end. Could you please join me
in thanking the panel? [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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