I think that when people come together for a powwow, they make a temporary Indian reservation—a reservation because, by law, on the grounds where a powwow is taking place, Indians have jurisdiction. They don’t have to charge state taxes on the goods that they sell. Chief John told me that Billy Lazore, an Onondaga chief, has attended EDN’s annual Forksville powwow almost every year since he and a taxman almost came to blows over the issue of state taxes on powwow goods.

“I had to step between them,” Chief John said. “The taxman called for reinforcements, but the reinforcements never came.”

Also, at a powwow, said Heather Taffe, Chief John’s wife and a clan mother, Native Americans are free to practice their religion with likeminded people.

The reservation of a powwow is temporary because the grounds where even the largest powwow is held are too small to nourish a large group of people for any extended amount of time. I mean this not just in the literal sense of acreage, but because of the relative brevity and holiday feeling of the gathering. At a powwow, I sense, everyone is supposed to act like family, where trust goes without saying and misunderstandings are momentary. No one fears judgment, and everyone expects acceptance, but it is not the everyday world. The freedom cannot last, and the respite from the dominant society must come to an end. There are also Indian hobbyists, “wannabes,” to accommodate. Even when it is open to the public, the powwow as a reservation is in some sense clandestine because, in an actual, acknowledged reservation, the sanctuary risks becoming a pen. There is a power and danger in that duality, a hazard in living with one’s feet on both sides of the fence.

According to Chief John, when Billy Lazore traveled to Canada, the border patrol asked him where he was from.

“Onondaga,” Lazore said.

The patrolman asked, “U.S. or Canada?” and Lazore just said, “Onondaga.”

So the patrolman replied, “You can go over to that long building right over there.” Lazore went over, and the guard there asked him, “Where are you from?”

“Onondaga,” Billy said.

The guard looked at his documents and said, “Get out of here.”

As a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Lazore does not acknowledge the United States as his own. In July 2010, the Haudenosaunee lacrosse team’s departure from New York to Manchester, England, for the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships was delayed because the U.S. government took issue with the team’s Haudenosaunee passports. The United Kingdom government then refused to grant the team travel visas because the U.S. would not guarantee that the team would be allowed back into the U.S. In a message published online on Indian Country Today, Oren Lyons, a Haudenosaunee leader and honorary chairman of the Haudenosaunee lacrosse team, wrote that “…there was no way we could accede to the recommendation that we accept either American or Canadian passports to travel. The Haudenosaunee passports we travel on—like the game of lacrosse itself which our ancestors invented—are essential to our identity as a sovereign people making our way in the world community.”

EDN members are not a sovereign people in the sense of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. They live a kind of dual identity. EDN members are Native Americans, but they are also Pennsylvanians, and being Pennsylvanian comes with criteria for a different kind of nativeness.

“If you weren’t born here in Sullivan County, you’ll always be an outsider,” Chief John said. Natives of Sullivan County call the city people, the owners of second homes, flatlanders. One, the Taffes’ neighbor, came over to introduce himself soon after he bought the property next door to the Taffes’, then told Chief John to stay off his land.

“You’ll never be a native if you’re not from here,” Chief John said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here for twenty years.”

An elder member of EDN talked to me for a long time about something found in the dry bed of a creek—maybe a segment of an ancient human skull, broken along the septum, the right side of a jaw with most of the teeth still intact. I suspect that the elder was trying to distract me. I wasn’t allowed to identify this person, or to turn on my tape recorder. The elder would only consent orally to be a source. Our project’s written consent form contradicted itself, the elder said, and most of the time the elder refused to talk about Marcellus Shale, steering the conversation to wildlife or EDN’s past. I was starting to feel guilty, and desperate. “Please,” I said. “I know it sounds terrible, but I can’t use anything you’ve said, this time or when I visited you last, unless you give me some sort of permission.”

“Would you bleed your mother?” the elder asked me suddenly.

“Of course not,” I said.

“No,” the elder said. “You wouldn’t. That’s how I feel. You can tell them that.”

It could be that, without a reservation, Native Americans in Pennsylvania do not have the dubious luxury of preserving their past in their present-day practices. Who really wants to live the past? The dominant society in the United States might petrify Native Americans and stick them all in living museums if it could. I heard multiple sources speak of Indian reservations as prisons where the U.S. government has left Native Americans to succumb to alcoholism, poverty, and lack of education. Maybe, in a perverse and unintentional way, Pennsylvania has done its Native American residents a service in refusing to recognize them. They are free to blaze their own path, and—if it is one in which a tribe is run in part as a corporation, albeit a nonprofit one; age is a source of vulnerability rather than protection; and participation in the group is voluntary and optional—at least it is one that Native Americans themselves chose.

Indeed, it surprised and interested me how much the conversations I participated in about Marcellus Shale circled back to questions of state recognition and identity.

Kenneth Hayden, EDN member and hospital chaplain in York, said, “There are no reservations in Pennsylvania. We have intelligent people. Are there poor people? Yes, there are poor Native American people. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t also have intelligent people. You can be poor and be intelligent. We hope that’s part of what people will hear. We want to make sure no one goes hungry. The Marcellus Shale allows us to purchase, to get some money for this council house. It’s a start. It’s not the end. It’s a start, and it’s more money than we had to begin with. So that means we can start getting some things together. It demonstrates that we can move forward. Is there a risk? Yes. But we’re no longer going to be victims. We’re going to move forward.”

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