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  • Have I "Earned the Right"?

    Hi, uhm, this is my first post.

    Short Version:

    I feel like I haven't earned the right to call myself Native yet because I haven't contributed to the community at all and don't have the same kind of struggle darker skinned Natives have.

    Long Version:

    When I was a kid we went to Pow Wows, but after moving north we stopped. I also grew up with the story of Grandmother Spider, but didn't put together I was mixed until my 20s. My mom says I'm 1/8th. I'm Polish-Native mixed and am white skinned with Hopi/Zuni facial features. When I ask my mom about tribal specifics, she gets anxious and changes the topic, trying to get me to research ALL tribes instead of our specific one. She's got a lot of racial trauma from my grandma's side of the family who were NOT thrilled about my grandma marrying a Native man. All family on that side is in AZ near Flagstaff so I suspect Hopi or Zuni based on looks and location. Literally found a photo of a Zuni woman who looks like my twin but in 1903...


    To feel more connected I got some hairpipe jewelry and beadwork from various indigenous artists but I still feel fake. I haven't done anything tangible for my people, so am I even really even Native? (Sorry, that's phrased so dramatically...)

    Thank you for your time and consideration. Honestly, any guidance is greatly appreciated. I just want to do good by my ancestors...

    I feel like we need an "imposter syndrome" board on here or a "family drama is pushing me to go to forums for help" board lol.

  • #2
    Bump...

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    • #3
      Welcome to powwows.com.


      As you seem to well know, there is no generic Native identity. Moving from being a Native descendant to being an X, like algebra, requires finding the value of X. (Sorry, always the scientist.) If your mother won't tell you, you'll need to do some old fashion genealogical legwork.

      Externals like a choker and beadwork aren't going to make you real. Indeed, in some cases, it can signal exactly the opposite; think of all those turquoise and fringe bedecked new agers infesting Sedona, LOL. Tribal identity is based in language, religion, mores and most of all family. You need to find this family.
      OLChemist
      Pow Wow Committee
      Last edited by OLChemist; 08-05-2021, 09:43 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
        Welcome to powwows.com.


        As you seem to well know, there is no generic Native identity. Moving from being a Native descendant to being an X, like algebra, requires finding the value of X. (Sorry, always the scientist.) If your mother won't tell you, you'll need to do some old fashion genealogical legwork.

        Externals like a chocker and beadwork isn't going to make you real. Indeed, in some cases, it can signal exactly the opposite; think of all those turquoise and fringe bedecked new agers infesting Sedona, LOL. Tribal identity is based in language, religion, mores and most of all family. You need to find this family.
        Lololol oh my gosh the new agers!! I was going through some older threads and saw someone mention chokers specifically and was like "oh no!!" hahahah. I'm still happy I got to support those artist's work atleast. <33

        I'm def doing the legwork to get in contact with my living relatives now that I have some names. It's hard when we're so separated. I feel like a detective sometimes, haha. Till then, I'm researching as much as I can online and am learning some basic Hopi phrases and history from JD Aragón's Indigenous Voices videos.

        I want to learn as much as I can and honestly, your comment feels like reassurance I'm near the right path, even if I'm not quite on it yet. I just need to get rid of the idea of "being real" and just be me and do the work to reconnect!

        Comment


        • #5
          Welcome to pws.com Enjoy!!
          lisaironmaker

          Comment


          • #6
            i concur with OLC

            also what do you mean hopi or zuni features? those "facial features" can easily be navajo, havasupai, pima, yavapai, paiute, ute, hualapai, messikin, chicano, japanese, tongan or anything else you may turn up

            again......LEGWORK.....forget family lore and look for facts

            you suspect gramma being native? birth and death certificates.......see if she is labelled as native or more likely "amerind", some even put the tribe if they can

            if you cant determine from there get her parents death/birth certificates......if one makes sense and an ancestor lived in native heavy place figure out which tribe or tribes....then make appt to visit tribal offices and so on and so on

            IF you find out that you descend from a tribe then go visit a social event and stop by the cultural center.....make some friends or connect with distant relatives and dont bug them with questions (they wont answer you)....just enjoy their company

            dont look to be an indian......just be you

            oh and forget about the picture from 1903.....in fact dont even mention it......it wont help
            "I on the trail of a possible good Indian lady and she is reported to like the old way's and she to believes in big family and being at home with kids all the time"... - MOTOOPI aka WOUNDED BEAR

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