DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
Loney M. Setnick

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DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby Loney M. Setnick » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:12 pm

I know this is a bizarre question, but let me explain.

I was born in Colombia and adopted by white Americans when I was 8 months old. Fortunately, my parents really valued teaching me about my cultural heritage. They're perfectly bilingual, so I only spoke Spanish at home, lived in South America for a couple of years growing up, etc etc. I know Colombia is pretty ethnically diverse and I've never bothered to research/track down my biological family, so I don't know my ethnicity. I have brown skin, brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair. Most people think I'm of indigenous descent and I'm inclined to think the same. Over the years, I've met a lot of indigenous groups from South America, and I look a lot more like them than other types of Hispanics (of mixed race or of African or European descent). When I lived in South America, I was treated like someone of indigenous descent and I feel the most comfortable with that identity. However (obviously), I don't belong to a tribe or anything like that.

My question is, would it be appropriate/acceptable to put down in my applications that I am native American/indigenous and write a diversity statement based on this weird notion of identity that I have? Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice you have.

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RCSOB657

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:16 pm

Loney M. Setnick wrote:I know this is a bizarre question, but let me explain.

I was born in Colombia and adopted by white Americans when I was 8 months old. Fortunately, my parents really valued teaching me about my cultural heritage. They're perfectly bilingual, so I only spoke Spanish at home, lived in South America for a couple of years growing up, etc etc. I know Colombia is pretty ethnically diverse and I've never bothered to research/track down my biological family, so I don't know my ethnicity. I have brown skin, brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair. Most people think I'm of indigenous descent and I'm inclined to think the same. Over the years, I've met a lot of indigenous groups from South America, and I look a lot more like them than other types of Hispanics (of mixed race or of African or European descent). When I lived in South America, I was treated like someone of indigenous descent and I feel the most comfortable with that identity. However (obviously), I don't belong to a tribe or anything like that.

My question is, would it be appropriate/acceptable to put down in my applications that I am native American/indigenous and write a diversity statement based on this weird notion of identity that I have? Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice you have.



You're Hispanic, that much you know for absolute certainty. Write your ps or ds about being adopted?

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TheSpanishMain

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby TheSpanishMain » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:21 pm

RCSOB657 wrote:
Loney M. Setnick wrote:I know this is a bizarre question, but let me explain.

I was born in Colombia and adopted by white Americans when I was 8 months old. Fortunately, my parents really valued teaching me about my cultural heritage. They're perfectly bilingual, so I only spoke Spanish at home, lived in South America for a couple of years growing up, etc etc. I know Colombia is pretty ethnically diverse and I've never bothered to research/track down my biological family, so I don't know my ethnicity. I have brown skin, brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair. Most people think I'm of indigenous descent and I'm inclined to think the same. Over the years, I've met a lot of indigenous groups from South America, and I look a lot more like them than other types of Hispanics (of mixed race or of African or European descent). When I lived in South America, I was treated like someone of indigenous descent and I feel the most comfortable with that identity. However (obviously), I don't belong to a tribe or anything like that.

My question is, would it be appropriate/acceptable to put down in my applications that I am native American/indigenous and write a diversity statement based on this weird notion of identity that I have? Thanks in advance for any thoughts/advice you have.



You're Hispanic, that much you know for absolute certainty. Write your ps or ds about being adopted?


He's Hispanic, but not the kind that provides a URM boost. I'm not totally sure, but I believe the NA boost MAY require having a tribal id

LoganCouture

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby LoganCouture » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:14 pm

What exactly would your DS about being possibly of indigenous descent say? I'm not certain, but I think the NA/AI bump depends pretty heavily on how involved the applicant has been in his/her tribal community.

I think a DS about being Latin@ and adopted by white Americans would be much stronger to be honest, but maybe someone who is NA/AI should chime in.

FWIW - I am mestiza and do not check NA/AI on applications because I feel like it would be dishonest.

Loney M. Setnick

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby Loney M. Setnick » Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:48 pm

lc39 wrote: FWIW - I am mestiza and do not check NA/AI on applications because I feel like it would be dishonest.


Even though I genuinely believe I may be ethnically indigenous, I was wavering about checking the NA/AI because, like you, I don't want to be dishonest.

Thanks for the replies, guys, I appreciate it.

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Dream_weaver32

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby Dream_weaver32 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:09 pm

Loney M. Setnick wrote:
lc39 wrote: FWIW - I am mestiza and do not check NA/AI on applications because I feel like it would be dishonest.


Even though I genuinely believe I may be ethnically indigenous, I was wavering about checking the NA/AI because, like you, I don't want to be dishonest.

Thanks for the replies, guys, I appreciate it.


I am NA and have my tribal registration, some schools ask for your ID number, and I would assume at some point in order for schools to disclose information for 509's that they would require proof of tribal affiliation.

Loney M. Setnick

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby Loney M. Setnick » Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:45 pm

I get that if you're NA/AI from the US, you would need an ID number/tribal registration. But many indigenous groups in Latin America don't have that. Even if I had ties to a specific group, I'm doubtful that I'd be able to substantiate it with any paperwork. Just curious, how do law schools handle that, anyone know?

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RCSOB657

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:11 pm

This is the guidance LSAC gives.
.American Indian or Alaska Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community.

Hispanic/Latino. A person of Cuban, Mexican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

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RCSOB657

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:17 pm

Loney M. Setnick wrote:I get that if you're NA/AI from the US, you would need an ID number/tribal registration. But many indigenous groups in Latin America don't have that. Even if I had ties to a specific group, I'm doubtful that I'd be able to substantiate it with any paperwork. Just curious, how do law schools handle that, anyone know?

I think if you do either your ps or ds on being adopted and possibly trying to reconnect in SA I think you would do well

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DiniMae

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby DiniMae » Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:09 pm

Pardon my ignorance on this matter, but if you took one of those $100 DNA tests that prove you're XX% Native American (of XX tribe), are you able to apply for affiliation with that tribe?

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baal hadad

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby baal hadad » Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:16 pm

DiniMae wrote:Pardon my ignorance on this matter, but if you took one of those $100 DNA tests that prove you're XX% Native American (of XX tribe), are you able to apply for affiliation with that tribe?

in usa each tribe has its own rules on who can become/who is a member of the tribe

For example for the Cherokee theres no blood quantum requirement but you have to show that you have an ancestor on the dawes rolls

serdog

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby serdog » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:40 am

My view (Law School may clearly state something different) is that if you can identify a cultural connection to a group of Indigenous People of North,Central or South American OR talk about clear knowledge but forced disconnection then you can write a DS but have some vague connection may not be helpful
Loney M. Setnick wrote:I get that if you're NA/AI from the US, you would need an ID number/tribal registration. But many indigenous groups in Latin America don't have that. Even if I had ties to a specific group, I'm doubtful that I'd be able to substantiate it with any paperwork. Just curious, how do law schools handle that, anyone know?

I can say that a strong DS work even if one does not have US paper work, I did much better with US Law School then I should have with my GPA/LSAT(but patchwork I got rejected by lower school then accepted me) I presume this was because I am Native American(as define by the Census) I also persume this was because some school determine who is Native American differently

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Clearly

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Re: DS - Can I say I'm Native American?

Postby Clearly » Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:33 am

Has no one made an Elizabeth Warren joke yet?



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