Not one’s land: David W. Mulholland, ‘I Am One-Drop, Not-Enough, Walking Through “Not-My-Land”‘, Ecopsychology, 2020


Abstract: DNA analysis provides ranked probabilities of our kinship to specific ethnic, racial, and national groups, and with one another individually, without absolute reliability. By contrast, inherited ancestral stories remain a strong indicator of one’s identity, including cultural views and practices related to the so-called natural world. My family role is to remember cherished family relationships to “earth” and “land,” where identity and place intersect at the core of being Indigenous in America, and experienced while walking attentively through “Not-My-Land.” Therein, the longstanding communion of identity and place has been irrevocably disrupted by the “chartered conquest” of America, driven by weaponized pens of distant rulers, and acted out by intermediary colonists and modern bureaucrats (Jennings, 1975). Often race decides who can possess land, and multiple-race peoples challenge this practice (Basson, 2008). Given stalwart prejudice, new generations of Indigenous peoples wrestle with being American or remaining the vanishing “other” (e.g., Fenelon, 2016). Multiracial and multitribe, I, the miscegenate author, describe challenges with maintaining an earth-centered identity in a world that historically favors and empowers persons displaying exalted demographic categories, such as favored race, national origin, and celebrity. Consequently, I cannot be White, because of my having non-White ancestors, or fully Indigenous, due to rigid policies restricting Indigenous membership or affiliation claims. Such policies effectively obscure the underlying “culturicide” against Indigenous peoples that goes unchecked (Fenelon, 2016; Strickland, 1986). Aware of consequences for affirming Indigenous status, I share my journey alongside family, ancient, and future, to reconcile origins, land, and identity in an America where racial hegemony persists.

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