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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Ask PowWows.com My mom doesn't want me to learn my culture? Or be a dancer? My mom doesn't want me to learn my culture? Or be a dancer?

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Old 08-07-2015, 04:58 PM   #1
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My mom doesn't want me to learn my culture? Or be a dancer?

Some of you may have read my last post involving the fact I want to get involved in a pow wow.... well something changed, and I don't know what to do. I didn't want to post this on here but there is no where else where people understand so I hope I get some nice feedback...

Here's some info) I am Ojibwa. I took the light skin, blonde hair after my dads Finnish side but the facial features(I get told all the time how much I look like my mom from features) and brown eyes from my mom. I happen to have a status card, too, and my grandparents, and their parents were all natives and so on. My distant cousin is a Chief. He lives 5 hours away though and I only spoke to him twice... I don't feel like sharing personal information on everything but just so you know I'm not a poser.


Here's my issue... I thought my mom was excited for me to learn my culture but after asking her a few times she seemed to ignore me, I kind of got an idea she wasn't for it but what she said came out worse than I expected. I'd ask her if I can get involved in the community, go to camps, talk to Elders and become a dancer, get my name and colors, so on but today she made it clear she doesn't want me to. She told me that I am 'mixed-race' and I am 'too white' to dance and learn my culture:( My cousin(my mom and her sister are married to brothers, my dad and his brother, so my cousin is related by blood) has dark skin but yet, she doesn't mention him for being Finnish or having 'white' blood. Me and him are different colors, not different blood or heritage. She isn't racist but I find her ignorant to base on me on my appearance.

What do I do?:( I am so upset. Do I move on or take matters into my own hands? I don't know where to start... I needed my mom to help me but obviously she won't. She is getting my adopted sister who's pure native into it though... I'm fourteen years old by the way.

Please no negative comments. I am really sad about this.
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Old 08-07-2015, 05:50 PM   #2
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First, I am sorry you are upset. My mother and I had a few set to's about my exploration of identity when I was growing up. I do sympathize. However, I'm afraid I have hard advice for you.

There may be reasons for you mother's stance of which you are unaware. She may be trying to protect you from a situation where she fears you may be hurt. She may have bad experiences in her own past that influence her. She may be offering an explanation she thinks you'll understand, instead of the real reason. You don't know why she said what she did. You are still a youngster -- yes, I know 14 nowadays is older than it was during my childhood in the last Ice Age :). But, in my people's ways you need to respect her and her rules. This means obedience.

The good news is: you will grow out of being a teenager. In the not too distant future you'll be a young woman. When this happens you will find that you will be making decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. She will step back and you will find your own way. At this time you may find yourself in the circle.

I realize at 14, it seems like you will never get there, especially if you have to watch others enjoy something you want. But, you will be a woman before you know it.

Now for the hard part, I charge you to take this experience and turn it toward the good. You can take what you are feeling right now and turn into a seed of bitterness -- too many fair-skinned mixed-blood sing the poor me I'm so discriminated against lament. Or you can take this hurt and form it into a base for compassion. Instead you can choose to make this experience an emotional touchstone to help you understand the experiences and actions of those who've been touched by racism and exclusion. This can be a great gift.

Last edited by OLChemist; 08-07-2015 at 06:34 PM.. Reason: Correcting a touch of gender confusion *blush*
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by OLChemist View Post
First, I am sorry you are upset. My mother and I had a few set to's about my exploration of identity when I was growing up. I do sympathize. However, I'm afraid I have hard advice for you.

There may be reasons for you mother's stance of which you are unaware. She may be trying to protect you from a situation where she fears you may be hurt. She may have bad experiences in her own past that influence her. She may be offering an explanation she thinks you'll understand, instead of the real reason. You don't know why she said what she did. You are still a youngster -- yes, I know 14 nowadays is older than it was during my childhood in the last Ice Age :). But, in my people's ways you need to respect her and her rules. This means obedience.

The good news is: you will grow out of being a teenager. In the not too distant future you'll be a young man. When this happens you will find that you will be making decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. She will step back and you will find your own way. At this time you may find yourself in the circle.

I realize at 14, it seems like you will never get there, especially if you have to watch others enjoy something you want. But, you will be a man before you know it.

Now for the hard part, I charge you to take this experience and turn it toward the good. You can take what you are feeling right now and turn into a seed of bitterness -- too many fair-skinned mixed-blood sing the poor me I'm so discriminated against lament. Or you can take this hurt and form it into a base for compassion. Instead you can choose to make this experience an emotional touchstone to help you understand the experiences and actions of those who've been touched by racism and exclusion. This can be a great gift.
Thank you for the response!
I have considered just waiting until I can make my own decisions as you said, but there is an issue I am mad about- I have a little adopted brother. He has black hair and fairly light skin; it's not dark in any way but it isn't light... you can easily see the 'white' side in him... my mom may be getting /him/ into the dancing even though he's exactly like me:/ That's another thing that was making me mad because him and I are no different! But thank you, once again for your kind and quick response!

(p.s I'm a girl xD)
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:33 PM   #4
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(p.s I'm a girl xD)
Forgive me. I don't know why I got the impression you were a boy.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:05 PM   #5
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Thank you for the response!
I have considered just waiting until I can make my own decisions as you said, but there is an issue I am mad about- I have a little adopted brother. He has black hair and fairly light skin; it's not dark in any way but it isn't light... you can easily see the 'white' side in him... my mom may be getting /him/ into the dancing even though he's exactly like me:/ That's another thing that was making me mad because him and I are no different! But thank you, once again for your kind and quick response!

(p.s I'm a girl xD)
As the Musketeers say :"All for 1 and 1 for all !" If your Mom is willing to help 1 of you , then she should help all of you.

It may sound silly , but growing up I had the opposite problem ! My mom and dad divorced when I was 4. She re-married a white man (she's white also) , and I took after my dad. Needless to say I was always the darkest one at any family gathering. I didn't re-connect with my ndn family until I was in my early 20s It took many years for me to feel accepted also. Now I'm just an old guy ! LOL
I think if you keep expressing an interest , your mom should come around. I don't know the circumstances between your mom and your dad , but in my case my mom hated my dad. I didn't dare ask about him and never would have until my grandmother pulled me aside one day and told me my dad was a good man.That got me started looking for him , but I was a bit older , so it was easier and there was nothing my mom could do.....other than get mad and not speak to me for a couple years ! But we got back on good terms , it just took time.
I guess my point to all this is to not give up and to try to be patient. If it requires that you wait a bit , then don't let it tear you up. Other than that , just bug the crap out of her till she gives in (that's what my daughters always did ! ) LOL Good Luck !
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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As the Musketeers say :"All for 1 and 1 for all !" If your Mom is willing to help 1 of you , then she should help all of you.

It may sound silly , but growing up I had the opposite problem ! My mom and dad divorced when I was 4. She re-married a white man (she's white also) , and I took after my dad. Needless to say I was always the darkest one at any family gathering. I didn't re-connect with my ndn family until I was in my early 20s It took many years for me to feel accepted also. Now I'm just an old guy ! LOL
I think if you keep expressing an interest , your mom should come around. I don't know the circumstances between your mom and your dad , but in my case my mom hated my dad. I didn't dare ask about him and never would have until my grandmother pulled me aside one day and told me my dad was a good man.That got me started looking for him , but I was a bit older , so it was easier and there was nothing my mom could do.....other than get mad and not speak to me for a couple years ! But we got back on good terms , it just took time.
I guess my point to all this is to not give up and to try to be patient. If it requires that you wait a bit , then don't let it tear you up. Other than that , just bug the crap out of her till she gives in (that's what my daughters always did ! ) LOL Good Luck !
Sorry, late response!

I did what you said and I bugged her so much that she accepted to let me taking some classes for dancing and we are going to take regalia-making classes together too at a nearby reserve:) I know I'll probably struggle with my identity issues there because of my appearance but I think if I ignore it good enough, soon nothing will bother me.

Thank you!!!!
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