Saturday, January 27, 2007

Kiss me I'm Irish

A recent article entitled, "Ethnic Fraud?" reports on a new trend toward claiming and/or inventing Native American ancestry, spurred on by a increased interest in genealogy. The article cites a quote suggesting the sudden spike in citizens claiming tribal heritage is a symptom of "ethnic shopping." The term, it says, "refers to individuals who wish to change identities and simply don new ethnicities that are more personally comfortable or interesting."

The situation as reported in this article has serious implications, and without trivializing the issue, as St. Patrick's Day peeks around the corner, we are reminded that at one time the Irish were a highly reviled and persecuted group in America, but after the Civil War, the Irish culture was embraced and today Irish descent is claimed with pride and many, with great admiration, simply adopt Irish descent. There may be a similar romanticized view attached to our images of hailing from the Emerald Isle and the struggle of Irish immigrants and to our retrospective appreciation for the heroic struggle of Native Americans.

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, rather than inventing ancestry, why not investigate your own -- It may be more interesting than you think!

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