You Become What You Resist…

Variations on this theme frequently appear in individual and social trauma work and in ordinary daily life, as well. While these phrases differ, their message is quite similar: What you resist, persists, You become what you hate, Extremes tend to morph into their opposites, (enantiondromia), Victims and Perpetrators are likely to exchange roles, and so forth. A recent example appears in Robert C. Koeler’s article “The Spiritual Jackpot” (December 15, 2011) in Koeler was disturbed by a NY TIMES opinion page entry by Ojibwe author David Truer “How Do You Prove You’re an Indian?” In essence, the story recounts how billions in casino profits have led to a process of tribal disenrollment. There was a time, Truer says, when each tribe had their own way of determining who was a member, usually based upon language, residence and culture. Nowadays, casino- rich tribes who have adopted Western values of sacred profit are casting out lifelong members, so that monetary gains can be distributed among fewer recipients. This is very American, of course, to seek to concentrate wealth in as few hands as possible.

Over the past decades, California tribes have disenrolled something like 2,500 people with allegations of a lack of proof of authentic bloodline ancestry in that particular tribe. Within such actions, Koeler detects another silent consequence of Western genocide from previous centuries when many tiny tribes were decimated and later reconstituted. As a consequence of this and other factors, many full blooded Indians are descended from more than one tribe. As casino tribe disenfranchisements continue, many members are finding themselves and their families denied their heritage and sometimes forced, together with their children, out of their homes. Ironically, many victims of disenrollment policies have had to turn to the U.S. government by asking Congress to empower the Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide legal recourse.

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