American Indians and People of Color: Are they different?

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by Erica Mauter | April 1, 2009 • Steven Renderos posted an opinion piece in the Twin Cities Daily Planet on behalf of the Organizing Apprenticeship Project.

cinna.mn is a place to talk about minority experiences in Minnesota. Contact erica@cinna.mn.

The message of the piece is all fine and good and whatever. What really caught my eye was this particular statement:

As a state, the face of Minnesota is changing. By the year 2035 one in four Minnesotans will be a person of color or American Indian. This growth will not be concentrated simply in the urban core but as we’ve seen in the last 10 years with the Latino community, our growth is occurring in rural parts of the state as well. In the next 15 years, Latinos and African Americans will be on par as the largest “minorities” in the state. It’s clear that the future prosperity of Minnesota is tied to communities of color and American Indian communities.

Emphasis mine.

So…. American Indians are not persons of color? Or are somehow apart from all the other persons of color? He made that distinction twice.

I guess it’s interesting because I take “people of color” to mean “not white people.” So if we’re purposely separating out American Indians (slash-Native Americans, slash-First Nations, slash-etc.), that changes the dynamic. Not that the dynamic should be strictly binary.

I’m not necessarily arguing, just curious about the choice he made.

Thoughts?

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