Dying Campfires

183011464319961

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Abstract

Since the 1990s, genetics has transformed many of our notions of race, ethnicity, and identity. In the 2000 U.S. Census, respondents were given the option of checking multiple ancestries or ethnicities for the first time. The similarities of identifying as a descendant of Jews and American Indians are examined in two works of literature—Bernard Malamud's “The People” and George Tabori's play "Weisman and Copperface: A Jewish Western." Three precedents in Hebrew poetry by Benjamin Nahun Silkiner, Israel Efros and Ephraim E. Lisitzky are compared, and the administrative rulings of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Jewish halakhic writing (B. Netanyahu on crypto-Jews) are discussed as they pertain to Indian and Jewish identity.