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Old 08-31-2007, 11:51 AM   #359
ndngirl722
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Aquidnessett
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I want non-natives to know:
-That we are not all drunks or druggies, there are many of us out there who don't even touch alcohol or drugs; and the ones who do have their own issues just like a person from any other race on the planet. Look at all the alcoholics or druggies in the non-native communities!
-That we're not all lazy and fat and have no jobs. We do have jobs, and not just in a McDonalds, but in large professional companies; we have white-collar jobs too. The ones who don't have jobs, most likely can't find one, there's a glass ceiling there that we can't always break, therefore some of us are unable to move on professionally especially without an education...which brings me to my next point:
-Not all of us are un-educated! I go to a private high school, and I'm planning on going to a college next year. I believe that if we were all presented with this opportunity, we'd all take it! The reasoning for many kids not going onto college, is that we don't always have the educational teaching resources that provide our ndn kids to go onto persuing an education in a non-native society.
-That we don't carry magic pouches with secret rocks and seagull feathers to protect us from the devil. Most of us hate those tshirts with the 'indian maiden' playing with her 'wolf sisters' on them. We don't have animal totems or spirits that are our guides or show up in various places to protect us.
-That there is no such thing as speaking Indian! If you are in India, there is still no such thing as speaking Indian! They speak Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, among many others. A Native person who speaks Lakota is not going to even come close to understanding a person who speaks Cherokee or Diné. Also the people who speak Algonquin up in Maniwaki, the language is COMPLETELY different than the Algonquin language that is spoken in Massachusetts or Rhode Island.
-We do not all worship the same! Some of us belong to the Native American Church, some of us are Christians and Catholics, some of us may not be religious at all.
-Our tribal customs and our relationships with the governments are different. And not all Indians have casinos! My tribe doesn't have one (even though we're pushing for it, but the state keeps getting in the way [it's complicated]). And we don't all necessaraly need to have one to raise money or preserve our culture.
-Our culture is not preserved in books or museums, it is preserved through our elders, our mothers, our fathers, our children. When we go to powwows, it's not like going to a convention or a recreation of a wild west show. We do not wear costumes; costumes are for pretend or 'make believe'; we wear regalia if we dance or go to ceremony. Regalia is our way of displaying our tribe, our artwork, our traditions. If we could, we'd wear it every day! Powwow is not just an event for the tourists, it's for ourselves. It's something that makes me and many others so incredibly happy. It's a natural high we get from dancing, singing, eating, connecting with old friends and family, making new ones, finding a new love (or snag lol). It's how we connect with the Creator. Non-natives come in and they hear the drums and the singing and see the 'wild' dancers, and they may think 'savages are still doing this?' But little do they realize that powwow and ceremony are the heartbeat of our nation, without your heartbeat, you die. Without our heartbeat, we die. And we have never lost our heartbeat, we're still here and we're not going away! People want us to go away, but we won't! We were always here on this continent, put here by the Creator to take care of it, and yes we've been moved around on it, but we're still on it, and we will always remain. This is Indian Country, it always has been, and it alway will be.
-Lastly: being Native...ITS NOT OUR SUBCULTURE!!! Yes, we may be here typing this up on a computer, in a house or a library or a community center somewhere, with electricity all around us. But just because we don't live in a teepee, or a wetu, or a longhouse, or a hogan without electricity and running water, does not mean it's our subculture! Just because when we're at a powwow and not all of us are dressed in regalia, or dressed in fabric regalia with glass beads, does not mean that we don't live Indian every day! We may get up every morning and brush our teeth with a piece of plastic and Colgate toothpaste(I hope you all do brush your teeth!), and turn on the CD player while making breakfast, but in that CD player we may have a Northern Cree CD playing. We have not been conquered or assimilated or absorbed into western culture, but we have learned to adapt and live with it. Whether we are half blooded or full blooded, we all live in two worlds, and if you live with your cultural and spiritual beliefs every day...your subculture is not Indian, but it's American or Canadian. I've had issues with people telling me that Indian is my subculture because I have a television and a laptop, but little do they know on that television I watch videos of powwows and Smoke Signals, and on that laptop I'm able to find people on this website who are like me, people who are Indian and can understand where I'm coming from. And for that, I am thankful.

-Leah
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