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Lawrence Baca on the Box Checker Phenomena

Lawrence Baca on the Box Checker Phenomena

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70 
IILP Review 2011
American Indians and the“Box Checker” Phenomenon
By Lawrence R. Baca
Former President, Naonal Nave American Bar Associaon
Who is Native American? When those who knowingly are not claim to be Native Americanto enhance their applications to college and law school, what, i anything can or should bedone? Whose responsibility is it to address the alsifcation and what should the ramifcationsbe? Does it matter? Baca’s analysis suggests that the problem may be ar more widespread than might be imagined.
In1953,theyearbefore
Brown v. Board of Education
,347U.S.483(1954),thegreatscholarandgrand
-th   I w, Fx S. Ch, wt:“It   pty tht  y A ty thk  th I   t   gu 
AmericanHistorywithoutcontemporarysignicance.Infact,theIndianplaysmuchthesame
  u A ty tht th Jw py  Gy. Lk th ’ y, thI k th ht  h  t p g  u pt tph;  u tt-t  I, v  th u ttt  th t, t th     ut th.”
WhatCohenwrotein1953isstilltruetoday.AmericanIndiansaredifferentthananyotherracial
 th ty gup  A,   tt ty. Ntv pp  A 
theopenwoundinthepsycheofAmerica.Thelandonwhichthe48connectedstatesandAlaskarest
w I  t. A h t  t gp wth wht t  t A I t qutht   th u t  wht t   I ty. A  btw A-A  I  tht    gup  pp tk  th h  th utu, thth   gup wh h th h  th utu tk  th. At  t wh A-A w kpt   pth  ggt, A I w bg  by p t  htu : bg p t bg wht   h-bw k yt h t by by th   phbt tht t A-A.A I   th 2.0%  th t pput. W hv th t vtg u y  gup  A  w  th t t b vk  th  vty -u. Wh w hv y vty u   wth th   th t,th   vty u  hgh ut tht  u  u . F tv tpup w  th  -t   ky t  thy . N-t y but th  t gt tt t g  w h  th  thy  t ky t ht  but bg  A I.A  tt  w, A I  t. A I  th y   pp
mentionedintheConstitutionbyrace(seeArticleI,Section8,Claus2andArticleI,Section2,Para
-gph 3). Tt 25  th Ut Stt C  “I.” N th  gup  A h thw tt t th Ut Stt C. A I  bth   gup    th ptt th v ght w   pt gup t p th p thp btw th gvt  y gz tb. I tb hv . Th   th -b
 
IILP Review 2011
 
71
  th ty gup  A. I tb hv gvt wth pw v th  th b. Th gvt  I tb  gz  th  ttut but w t t by th Cttut. Th gvt  vg wth pw v thpp  th vt. Th pw  I tb   ht vgty, t pwt  gt by th Ut Stt. Tb hv gvt-t-gvt thpwth th t gvt. Tb hv tt wth th  gvt. I tt wthth Ut Stt  th qu  tt wth g t. Th t pt I y th   th ty gup  A  g th thp t th  gv-t. Th thp btw A I  th Ut Stt h wy b
sui generis
. A  ut, w  uv   ut  t th y th  gup  ytth  ty  ttg  jug wh  A I. Wh  vvg I w gt t th Sup Cut t  t hgh th y th uqu   w th hv b  A I jut  tht ut. I t,  Sup Cut Jut h v h g A I k.
The governments o Indian tribes are recognizedin the ederal constitution but were not createdby the Constitution. Those governments aresovereigns with power over their people and theirreservations. The powers o Indian tribes arerom inherent sovereignty, not powers createdor delegated by the United States. Tribes havea government-to-government relationship withthe national government. Tribes have treatieswith the ederal government. Indian treaties withthe United States are the equal o treaties withoreign nations. These actors separate Indiansrom any other racial or ethnic minority groupin America in defning their relationship to theederal government.
 
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IILP Review 2011
Th  tw pt t th ph  -I g t b I,   pt  vty pt. Th w-kw  pt A I, V D J.,  h bkCut D F Yu S
(NewYork:MacmillanPublishingCompany,1969),commentedonmeet
-g hu  pp wh h bv t b Wht but wh w xu t t h  th
Indianheritage.HewroteofacommonphenomenoninthattheoverwhelmingmajorityofpeoplewhoclaimedtobeIndiansaidtheywereCherokeeandtheirancestorwasalwaysa“princess.”He
xp  tht th gt bk th w  I  g th Chk. EvyI I kw   wth th ph: yu  t   ut, yu ght b wgI jwy,   pph; thy pp Ag  thy k, “Yu’ I, ght? I’pt Chk. My gt-gth w Chk p.” Th  t thg tht hp-p t y th   th ty gup. I’v k y  y p ty. N A-A p h v h  wh k Wht  up t th t  ut  y, “Yu’ Bk, ght? I’ pt Bk. My gth w  Wz p-
cess.”Itsimplydoesn’thappen,nordoesithappentoHispanicorAsianindividuals.
Th  thg  tu  g  w h ppt. At g  uvt th  A I tut gup tht ’t hv  ug bt wth th  but hw y Ntv tut  tuy  pu. W wy gt ub  th -  tht  t pt wth th t  wh w   pu. Wth pt t g gut h  w  th Wb, Cx I  “Bx Chk.” Lt  b vy . I’ t tkg but  wh  x   wh I t  ptty v. I’ t tkg but  wh guy bv tht h  h h  Ity  tt hw  bk. Wh I y “Bx Chk,” I’ tkg but tut wh hvbuty  b tht thy hv I htg but hk th Ntv A bx  th pp-t bu thy bv tht    gttg  bk tht thy ’t v.
In1968,whenIstartedcollegeattheUniversityofCalifornia,SanDiego(UCSD)Iranintoanother
I tut  th t. Th w t th t wh th w    tut tvt gup.
Inthelate1960stherewasforthersttimeacriticalmassofstudentsofcoloroncampusestostart
- thty-b tut gzt. A, b th pky tut ght t pvyw w p, h wu gv th ty tut gzt t but whhk th  bx  yu gup  yu u tt th. Th thy w tht th gty tut wu wt t t th th b  th   thty t th h. Sy wu   I k th   t UCSD   t    th th Itut  thy gv t t u. Th w twty-x   th t. Wh w vt h th t y w w ttg  I tut gzt, twty- t u thy y w’t
When I say “Box Checker,” I’m talking about studentswho have absolutely no belie that they have Indianheritage but check the Native American box on theapplication because they believe that someone else isgetting a break that they don’t deserve.

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