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Native American Not an "Impostor"

This is in reference to the article regarding Professor Laura Browder's book ("Professor Explores KKK Ties of 'Little Tree' Author," Street Talk, Oct. 12).

It is patently unfair to put Sylvester Long ("Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance"), a person who was born into slavery of mixed-race parents and chose to identify with a portion of his ethnicity, in the same category with Asa Carter, the author of "The Education of Little Tree," a person who purportedly had ties with the KKK. For it is only under the racist circumstances of Long's time, which imposed the racist "one drop" racial categorization scheme, that he would not have been recognized as what he was, a person of tri-racial ethnicity (black, white and Native American, which is not unusual among "African-Americans," such as those who reside in Charles City).

Obviously, it was his very mixed-race appearance that allowed him to choose the identity that caused him the least social ostracization. Just as today someone who is only one-quarter Polynesian may choose to ethnically identify himself as "Hawaiian" to be enrolled in the prestigious Kamehameha school, Long, by self-identifying as Native American, was permitted to enroll in Indian schools, allowing him to obtain the degree of higher education he would have been much less likely to achieve had he chosen to identify as black.

It is important to note that as a person of mixed ancestry, he self-identified with what was a particular portion of his actual ancestry and was accepted by Canadian Native American tribes when he fled to that country. This is a far cry from someone being an ethnic impostor. And it is racist to imply differently.

B.P. George

Editors' Note: We did not intend to imply that Sylvester Long and Asa Carter fall into the same category of "ethnic impostors." In her book, Professor Browder explores in great detail Long's life and the development of his ethnic identity.

The Real Daddy

I noticed that Ralph Stanley was referred to as the "father of bluegrass music" ("Music for Some Folks," Arts & Culture, Oct. 12). That is incorrect. While Mr. Stanley is no doubt the most famous living patriarch of bluegrass, the father of bluegrass music is Bill Monroe.

John L. Morgan III

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