Ancestry is not most important part of identity

June 1, 2012 at 1:01 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Another ethnicity debate raged during the early 1970s over what people with roots in the Southern Hemisphere wanted to be called, and as a student at Texas A&I (aka Chipultepec Tech), their cries demanded they be called Chicanos or Aztecas rather than some other hyphenated American label. Even then, a few radicals - having a great animosity toward anyone living in what they call "del Norte" (the North) - were seen as interlopers while they conceived themselves as the indigenous natives of the continent.

While I sympathize with Mr. Cardova's circumstance, being my heritage, although somewhat corrupted with European blood, is essentially rooted in Cherokee ancestry, I don't feel like I have an axe to grind as he does, even though my people were uprooted from their homeland in the late 18th century and forced to move half way across the country to settle in what was later to become the Indian Nations of Oklahoma. Thankfully, some of my forefathers had the good sense to move their families to lands which later became Arkansas and Texas.

Unlike Francisco, I don't suffer from an identity crisis nor attempt to claim my people are more native to the Americas than any other persons born here. What he fails to recognize is our multi-generational lineage means we all came from somewhere else at one time or another. Based on ancient, carbon-dated anthropological records, his forebearers and mine made the migration across the "land bridge" from Asia to this continent during the Ice Age.

Which one of us was here first is a debate of little importance. Perhaps my people came here before his or vice versa; our predecessors may have made the arduous crossing together which means we might be related. While ethnicity plays a small part in who I am as a person, I don't see myself as a hyphenated anything, nor do I want to be lumped into some arbitrary racial, socio-economic, diversified grouping to be set aside for future attack by opposing affiliations. The relevant fact is I am an American; everything else is mere window dressing.

Mack Simons, Wharton



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