Most of us probably know this, but because there's so much miseducation surrounding these issues, I'd like to briefly address some of the history relevant to the question I'm going to be asking. Any additional info that anyone else wants to add would be more than welcome.
Along with the murder and relocation of whole nations of native people, the white founders of north america (and other nations whose history I know very little about) did their best to demolish the culture of native peoples. By means of missionary schools, systematic rape, criminalization of cultural practices, and countless other tactics, those who were not slaughtered were relocated and forced to assimilate. In this process of forced assimilation, native children were raised to by whites, and half-white children were born to native women. Down through the generations, less and less (if any) native culture was transmitted to these children, and the stories of their people were lost. Thus, today there are "white" people in north america with nothing more than some dim awareness that somewhere back in their lineage is a native mother. People that look white, were raised white, and identify as white. People who are completely ignorant about the cultures of their native ancestors. I am one such person.
Now here is my question:
Does this dim awareness of native ancestry mean anything? Obviously, it would be wrong to self-identify as NA and co-opt the struggles of native folks while recieving all the privilege that comes with whiteness and having an identity and social reality unrelated to native ancestry. But knowing that native ancestry and culture was strategically bred out of my lineage, do I, and other folks in similar situations, have any role in understanding and validating the living culture of our ancestries? Or should advocacy be handled exactly the same as it would be if there were no such known ancestry?