[Ali note: A previous version made a reference to ‘amoeba’, “Are we Indigenous or amoeba”. I’ve been informed that the “amoeba” reference has been inflicted on Natives in general but has also been used to specifically target the Lumbee. While my use of the phrase didn’t have that intention, it’s important to note that this issue exists and proper respect given now and in the future. I apologize for causing confusion and I am grateful for the education. Should more information on this topic come available, I will add an additional note or article. At this time, I have removed the reference from the article. -Ali]
An anonymous account popped up and a lot of people excitedly jumped on it to support, retweet and reply about it. Even after someone brought up that the account was likely a group of pretendians in the first place, I still have mutuals with that account. @KarendianInter1.
Dept of Feds and/or fakes says whut…
Since I saw it pop up, I wasn’t particularly surprised to see that many of its followers are either already on my block list or I’m on theirs. Some are accounts that I don’t even recognize, lol. Not all are private. There are a lot of problematic accounts following and endorsing it though. Whoever is behind the account isn’t new. They are still among us.
I recently saw someone claim that Keeler normalized Natives attacking other Natives (this would be Jacqueline Keeler of the “Alleged Pretendian List” fame). Really? The photo manipulation and smear tactics are what the pretendian Sarah (of justauneg “fame”) and friends have normalized long ago and given the similarities of tactics, one fake showed more the way. Or one fake learned such tactics and they just happen to be similar and recognizable this time around. Interestingly, Sarah also follows that account.
Supporting anonymous accounts also endangers you to being affiliated with their tactics and then you’re the face of their violence. If you’re Native, they’re now wearing you as a digital skin to perpetuate damage when you legitimize them by engaging and promoting them to your followers – have you noticed who that account engages with and Likes posts from the most? Who engages with it the most? Follow some trails.
Meanwhile, eager followers, you are now associated with them and we may suspect you are willingly part of such violence and wonder at the next new anonymous wave of it. ‘Can I buy these people lunch omg’, ‘People think I’m part of this, but I’m not, lol’, sure, right. When these tactics were used before, it was easier to find who to block. This new iteration of infiltrators is being more careful. Updated tactics. Take note.
They also now know who potential allies will be for future shenanigans from all the follows, likes, retweets. ‘Hey check this ‘random’ link.’ and ‘Someone sent this to me, lol.’ Gee, I wonder why. They even said they’d accept applications by email and unless eager followers all used fake addys, they have more info on you now, too, especially if your email is tied to your Twitter account and beyond. I’m not saying to distrust all accounts, but some due diligence would be prudent.
This applies to accessing that Alleged Pretendian List AND the ‘Keeler crime timeline’ by @KaylaWayla20; both require a level of access to your information and/or email. Exercise caution. Why aren’t either public to allow for observation and/or scrutiny without the need for data collection? One would argue a public Google doc suffices, but if I keep a Google doc open, I can see the email of whoever accesses it if they are logged into Google. The doc may not log it, but that doesn’t mean such information can’t be cataloged when observed in real time or screen recorded for later playback. Anyone use a main and/or personal email to access either or have been signed into Google when accessing one or the other?
If anything, it’s pretendians/fakes tactic 1.0, still the original. Keeler didn’t do that. Non-Natives did and are still doing it. Groups of Natives are just trying to weaponize the tactics amongst our own now for their own agendas and I question if those people actually have our collective best interests in mind. That’s a them tactic; it didn’t originate with Keeler. Many of us are familiar with these tactics and they’re not new. I would refrain from considering anyone a Scout or Fed though. A bad example, lack of role model, egotistical; more of a danger to the rest of us rather than their targets.
Let’s break down some ways of how this “Alleged Pretendian List” and its aggressive opponents are both enemies to what Indigenous people and allies hope to educate and uplift about when it comes to Indigenous identity. Mind that ‘some ways’. Because, friends, this barely scratches the surface.
It is detrimental to blanket group ALL WAYS of identifying as Indigenous as an integrated ‘one way’ or ‘only way’; it’s not true or possible firstmost with the diversity of our cultures and traditions. Probably the biggest flaw for this list is if it attempts to shoehorn everything or cherry pick specific instances as a one integrated way that we should all adhere to- without input or inclusion, Indigenous and not.
The “Alleged Pretendian List” isn’t harming anyone outside of our communities, let alone holding anyone accountable. It is harming within our communities though, by the lack of transparency and implying that a federally enrolled identity is the only acceptable means of identifying. It also recklessly utilizes multiple sources, such as an article on this website, without acknowledgment that those resources weren’t by approval or endorsement.
At the same time, opponents are being overly broad as to how traditional methods are utilized and that’s problematic, too. There are complexities and specificity that should not be bastardized and overly broadened to justify a specific narrative.
There are nuggets of truth scattered about from either side, but is it worth sifting through it all? After all my sifting, I’d only say good luck if you’re going to try. It’s a lot. All of us shouldn’t have to do that and be forced to express opinions or follow the harassment of supposed friends, relatives, and/or allies. We aren’t a focus group that can be held hostage to anyone’s toxicity. Let us be Native in Twitter without caveats.
I doubt that any of our tribal governments are going to create federal policy regarding relatives that can’t prove lineage through federal documentation. That’s still federal and something tribal governments are currently bound by. That has nothing to do with traditional methods of kinship that many of us still follow within our communities. Fakes are evaluated case by case for a reason. There is no singular means of identifying as Indigenous outside of federal guidelines. Attempting to combine and/or conflate the two actually goes against tribal sovereignty by attempting to redefine connection outside established parameters. Federal AND traditional. AND by tribe. One civilian list isn’t federal policy to consider by any tribe, let alone something that needs to be endorsed by any or all of our communities.
A lot of people are trying to shoehorn other issues into this one in a series of ‘what about’ and I would wager it’s because simply condemning the list wasn’t creating enough sensation for some, and it’s an opportunity for misinformation to be spread by others. If the focus is that the list is detrimental, keep that as the focus and educate. If the author is the issue, focus on what’s problematic and let people decide for themselves. There seems to be a bigger and bigger pool of ‘what about’ that keeps cropping up, coupled with ignorant or outright wrong information being circulated.
Keep in mind that fakes are so prevalent and accepted that even when Carrie Bourassa was outed as a fake, the company she worked for stood by her at the start. Fakes in Hollywood are still being cast as Indigenous. There are still fakes among us. Kaya Jones still calls herself “Native” or Apache. Elizabeth Warren (that’s the sentence). It is obviously still a big issue and one that non-Natives need to address the most. They created the means of faking, normalizing cultural theft, and getting away with it. At minimum, they need to start collecting their own and confronting family lore stories as just that – stories. Unless they do the work of establishing and connecting. Again, there’s a difference.
Manipulating opinion based on hysteria does more harm in normalizing pretendian behavior. It gives another avenue of hiding by giving fakes loaded ammo to further ensure their claims remain obscure when they can hide behind -or even promote- that fragile connections are under attack. I feel that some people are weaponizing this angle more than protecting it.
About this carefully curated ‘timeline of crimes’ about Keeler. While Keeler has allegedly said things that deserve scrutiny, does anyone really believe that this ‘crime timeline’ contains ALL pertinent information -factual and not fabricated- as it relates to this “Alleged Pretendian List” AND all potential ramifications of its perceived angle(s)? Is it education -all information to consider- or is it violence? If you’re only presented one side of a story and forced to only see that narrow corridor, then it becomes easy to condemn. I’m fairly certain that’s intentional by those bullying and shaming any and all who so much as look in Keeler’s direction.
There are also a lot that this list still doesn’t address and it seems to be a spreadsheet with a bunch of articles, blogs, or tweets about it flung elsewhere that we’re all somehow expected to do the labor of following breadcrumbs and arrive at some conclusion the author hasn’t even defined insofar as I can tell. That’s not education either. That’s barely an elementary school project outline. Concept. Doodle on a napkin. You get the idea.
Anti-Blackness is a big issue in our communities. I am not excusing what Keeler has allegedly said in the past and regardless of intent, any action or activity that includes anti-Blackness is not a positive for any of our communities. Followers should be given the space to research and determine on their own and not shamed into a knee jerk response.
At the same time, I have personally not seen responses to specific instances in Keeler’s social media, but I also have not explored every publicly available social media post. Everyone should do so to their comfort level.
This issue with the “Alleged Pretendian List” has been festering because of instigators all year and if one were to explore the many branches of issues that this encompasses, it’d probably be best to wash one’s hands of this particular situation and both sides. You can wade through the mess, but the few nuggets that might have been useful from either side are available elsewhere. It ends up feeling more like high school drama mingled with serious issues and neither side actually does a good job of showing what’s important and why to any of us -Indigenous or allies. This is dangerous and violent, too.
There also seems to be agendas by multiple parties that I would argue seem to be fueling this identity discourse more than justice. It would be nice for this list to be pulled, though I wonder if the author and its most aggressive opponents would put our collective best interests first. I think a better and healthier discussion about fakes is possible, but only in a different space than the discourse surrounding this “Alleged Pretendian List”. And it’s aggressive opponents.
This is basically two factions with vendettas against each other. This has little or nothing to do with the rest of us. They’re pretty much at a stalemate from what I’ve seen. But the language and violence toward those of us who are basically pedestrians or spectators on the side, or who are trying to educate, has grown beyond toxic.
Keep in mind that having a larger following doesn’t always mean the individual has reach or influence. Some of the loudest people complaining about the ‘alleged pretendian list’ don’t have huge followings, yet I still hear and see them.
The issue of fakes, race shifters, and alike are very important topics. If you look at the bigger picture of how fakes are called out in various other websites and even mainstream media, there are plenty of other resources to consider for educating and being educated about fakes. This one list -and its most aggressive opponents- isn’t and hasn’t replaced them all. People are still doing the work of calling out fakes where possible. Support and promote positive endeavors of important work. Point to alternatives where you can. Educate. Put digital cones around this mess and direct people away from that wreck and its keepers. All it’s doing, along with those complaining most aggressively, is sowing confusion and creating division among all of us. It’s giving opportunities for fakes and Scouts to infiltrate and create chaos. Ego check, people. There is a bigger and more important picture.
Giving followers ultimatums, threats, or other bullying tactics doesn’t make you an ally to those following you. It makes you a dictator.
Go through some follow lists from some complaining about who YOU are following; there are plenty of problematic accounts to call out mingled throughout, so hello hypocrisy. All this list and its aggressive opponents have done is harm us and open opportunities for harm from outsiders and/or pretendians such as this ‘karendian’ account.
If you aren’t educating your followers with all the information to make a determination, don’t be bothered when everyone isn’t falling over to obey or support you.
Some people are going to continue to participate in dialogue and discourse over the “Alleged Pretendian List”. It’s actually important that some of us pay attention to it on some level, but it doesn’t mean that all of us need to be involved or have a say in such toxicity. Auntie Ali said so.
On a personal note. I do not appreciate my work exploited for personal drama or to infer support for something I, and possibly others, weren’t consulted or warned about. I did not find out that my work was cited as a resource until after the “Alleged Pretendian List” had been published and people asked me about it. I mentioned it in the previous article about the list. I would implore people to look at my site and work and not assume that this list has my support. -aliwatson117
At times when we try to collect our own, it’s still rooted in education. I would invite anyone who has wisdom for these groups to do so to their comfort level. No one owes them education, nor are they required to listen or learn. Sometimes all we can do is speak and hope to be heard and understood and respected. Maybe a collective voice of reason can reach those involved.
To Jacqueline Keeler, I would say that it is not a loss to retract this list. It is not a reflection of failure to be corrected by your community. A lot of advice has been given to you. Perhaps don’t just appreciate the gesture, but step back and reflect. If there are things that you should hold yourself accountable for, now might be a good time.
To KaylaWayla20, I would say that it is disheartening to see someone say, ‘I’m embarrassed to be my culture because of someone else’. Our cultures and traditions should not be this disposable, even in jest. It is not a negative to you to pause and reflect on where your words and actions are taking you and if they truly match where your heart is or needs to be.
To the supporters of either, I would say that it is very important to be able to stand up for issues that we are passionate about. Be cautious about supporting toxicity and justifying it as a means to an end. Especially where ignorant and wrong information is packaged together. Non-Natives and allies will look at this wrong information and absorb it as truth. This is harming the work that so many people are doing. People who are educating about fakes and specific issues are being branded as traitors or people to not support. By delegitimizing our own scholars, educators, and traditional people, we are instead warping our own identity when we can say, ‘don’t support that person’ and they are on the frontlines of pushing back against fakes. Those fakes will point out that Natives said not to trust those calling them out. Think about where this could potentially lead. I’m sure plenty of active fakes are going to continue fueling that angle; it’s already been done with the @KarendianInter1 account if they are indeed a group of fakes.
While I have only called out two names in particular for this piece, there have been a good dozen(s) or so that I’ve blocked over this issue. I do not wish to engage with any of them. This is my version of putting digital cones around this wreck and pointing people away from it. I say, “I do not support the Alleged Pretendian list, its author, nor do I support the violence that its aggressive opponents are engaged with. I won’t talk about the list. I will, however, educate as much as I can.”
The list’s author and the crime timeline author have plenty of people in their network. If they are going to continue to feud, it won’t be in my timeline. I will, however, be available to speak about specific issues or questions that people may have that may pertain to some of the general information that’s been floating around.
Please bear in mind that my family is still involved in a housing crisis and my time will be limited.
#IgnoreTheAPL #PullTheAPL #MyTLnoAPL