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Author Topic: URM verification  (Read 1533 times)

soontobejd

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URM verification
« on: November 14, 2005, 02:49:26 AM »
This is a very difficult topic to bring up. i feel this area at times becomes heated, but I am at a loss here. I have been brought up with a strong emphasis on substantial ties to native american heritage. I just assumed this was true, and thought it was great. I have never really pursued further proof. If asked my ethnicity I would say part native american,and the other part polish. I guess you could say I have features that would have some validity in this discussion, if that is possible. The problem I have is that as I just inhernetly checked off the box when I registered for lsdas and the lsat as native american, i could see how there are many ethical questions. Do you have to be a certain percent of an ethnicity to identify with it? I just feel there are so many arguments about race & ethnicity and how this is constructed, ingrained, or developed in one, is there a line to draw that would make it "right" or "wrong" to identify with this? It's rough because identifying with a minority group has never really come up as a right or wrong. I just always thought of it as embracing your heritage, and being a part of something bigger. The law school application process is the first time that there is such a tangible advantage for choosing to identify with an ethnicity. I am completley against picking and choosing when your race,economic status,or any other factors that make you, can help you, when at other times you push these aside. I just feel that I should be able to show some form of tangible proof of this, in order for it to be a sound decision. The only problem with that is that as I look to pursue any more information I hit a block in the road. Due to factors that most would not face, I do not have many people to turn to for information about my past. To state is briefly,bio father left when I was very young and passed away later from what I have been told. I have no contact with his family. My mother always told me about this part of me, and she recently passed away. My grandparents on her side of the family have both passed away. At this point I have a very select few of relatives I am in contact with to find out more. I feel as if I should claim URM, and this is just. The only drawback I see to this is providing substantial documentation.I would assume d.n.a testing is available, but that has to be very expensive. If that is the route I need to take then so be it, but for an undergrad student who is pursuing law school....money is not something I like to throw around.If anyone has any input or info about this, please post. If you disagree with this post, please do not say anything offensive as I feel that I put a lot out here.

TruOne

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Re: URM verification
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2005, 09:38:42 AM »
Let me get this straight. . .   you are worried about not being "ethnic enough".

Are you seriously considering spending money just to prove YOU ARE NATIVE AMERICAN!?!

Who in their right mind hs the time to actually question you on whether or not you are who you say you are. Seriously, nobody, and I repeeat NOOOOOOBOOOODYY can determine what ethnicity you are just by looking at a picture of you.

Martin Sheen is hispanic, but most people would not know that just by looking at him. He'd qualify as a URM. There are lots of Black folx who could EASILY pass for white. (Hence Plessy vs. Ferguson) does that give them any less of a right to define themselves as a minority?


Hell nah, you define yourself. Don't worry about what some box says.
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Hybrid Vigor

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Re: URM verification
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2005, 09:51:53 AM »
Claiming Native history is tricky because it is the ONLY ethnic group that the US government codifies. Since tribal records have been "officially" kept for hundreds of years, it is expected that someone who says that they are Native will have the paperwork to back it up. The schools will ask for it, trust me. However, I understand your dilemma  - my father's family is also part Native, but being in the South and associated with Black people, there is no paper trail to back up the assertation. I think your claim will depend on the tribe and whether or not you think you could obtain the necc. paperwork. Personally, I wouldn't claim NA unless I had the paperwork or an experience to validate (like growing up on or very near a reservation) because the questions will most certainly come up.

However, this would be my personal litmus test - if it didnt matter (basically, if there were no AA or benefit to doing so) would you still check the NA box? If you would check the box even if it wouldn't help you, then I say you are justified in doing so. As TruOne said, no one can tell you that you are or aren't, but bear in mind that if you can't "prove" it you may not be privy to whatever benefits it would provide.
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angmill08

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Re: URM verification
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2005, 03:09:45 AM »
I doubt any schools will ask you to prove your NA heritage, or ask what percent NA you are. The 2000 census definition of Native American is:

"Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment."

If you feel you have a "community attachment", and have in the past identified as Native American or part NA, I think you can check the NA box in good conscience. If anyone asks you to "prove it" (again, I really doubt this would happen) just be honest.

However, if you've never identified as NA until the law school applications process, that will look bad and could cause concern  about your character and fitness. Only if you find yourself in this situation would I recommend DNA testing, historical research or something that can legitimize your choice to identify as NA now.
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Hybrid Vigor

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Re: URM verification
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2005, 08:26:24 AM »
I doubt any schools will ask you to prove your NA heritage, or ask what percent NA you are. The 2000 census definition of Native American is:

"Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment."

If you feel you have a "community attachment", and have in the past identified as Native American or part NA, I think you can check the NA box in good conscience. If anyone asks you to "prove it" (again, I really doubt this would happen) just be honest.

However, if you've never identified as NA until the law school applications process, that will look bad and could cause concern  about your character and fitness. Only if you find yourself in this situation would I recommend DNA testing, historical research or something that can legitimize your choice to identify as NA now.


Many schools will ask for your tribal documentation. Whether or not they will "believe" you if you don't have it, I'm not sure. But they will ask for it.


EDITED TO ADD: This is based on experience applying to undergrad. Maybe for law school, they expect you to be honest and ethical and thus don't ask for proof. However, the OP would do well to be prepared for the possible question of "Why don't you have documentation?"
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pop_tort

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Re: URM verification
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2005, 11:59:25 PM »

However, this would be my personal litmus test - if it didnt matter (basically, if there were no AA or benefit to doing so) would you still check the NA box? If you would check the box even if it wouldn't help you, then I say you are justified in doing so.

This is an excellent point, and it needs to be stated more often throughout this board.