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Old 10-11-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
OLChemist
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Welcome to powwows.com, Danica.

I would caution you to go slowly. Sexual assault is a delicate subject. Unless you are fully conversant with cultural norms about sexuality, gender, modesty, healing and justice, it is very likely you will unintentionally step on toes. These are things learn only through extended interaction with and enculturation within a community. I suspect that this is what your colleague was attempting to tell you.

Further many Native communities are weary of being viewed only through a lens of dysfunction. Pine Ridge, in particular, gets repeatedly singled out when the subjects of substance abuse, gangs, sexual violence, and poverty in Indian Country come up in dominant culture media. The sad reality is we have had many people come to our community to shine a spotlight on some painful aspects of life. They leave, do a TED Talk or two, write a book, send some checks... Unintentionally, they reenforce the dominant culture perception of Native people and Native Nations as debased remnants. To often they do not in fact see us, but just victims.

As for the hurt feelings. I hardly have to tell you, a black woman in American, that phenotype isn't identity but it is perception. We do it like everyone else.

Take some advice from a fellow mixed-blood and an old lady: Us vs them is a fact of mixed blood life. The boundaries between us and them are redrawn at need and whim. You're going to be in and out, over and over again, all your life. Anger is a waste. You know who you are and your family knows who you are. Humbly serve, respect and honor your relations. That's enough.

And if he really ticks you off again, remind him he's only half male, since his mother was a woman. :)
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