Dying Campfires


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  • Title: Dying Campfires: Jews, Indians and Descendant Organizations
  • Author(s): Donald N. Yates
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Diverse Identities
  • Keywords: Ethnic Identity, Race and Ethnicity, American Indians, Jews, Indians of North America, Immigration
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2013
  • ISSN: 2327-7866 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8560 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v12i03/58046
  • Citation: Yates, Donald N., and Phyllis E. Starnes. 2013. "Dying Campfires: Jews, Indians and Descendant Organizations." The International Journal of Diverse Identities 12 (3): 25-36. doi:10.18848/2327-7866/CGP/v12i03/58046.
  • Extent: 12 pages


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.