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  • "You don't look NDN..."

    I'm kind of new here and, hopefully, I'm not asking a redundant question.

    I'm Chickasaw on my mother's side and inherited her dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin. My husband, who is Anglo, also has dark eyes, dark hair and olive skin. Back on my father's side (who is also Anglo), there were folks with blonde hair and blue eyes. Well... I have four girls now, 3 of whom "look NDN," but one of whom has fairer skin, blonde hair and light blue eyes (NO, she didn't come from the wrong side of the blanket, either.)

    When they've discussed heritage at school, especially when they discussed it around Thanksgiving, my daughter told her teacher and her classmates that she is Chickasaw Indian. They didn't believe her because she "doesn't look Indian." Has anybody out there got any suggestions how to help her cope with this - other than having her flash her CDIB card or Tribal Certificate? - Which I WILL NOT have her do.

    As a Chickasaw who is trying to reconnect with her heritage, any and all help from those of you who've walked in these moccasins before would be helpful...

    Chipisalacho anowa.

  • #2
    Originally posted by NorthofAda
    I'm kind of new here and, hopefully, I'm not asking a redundant question.

    I'm Chickasaw on my mother's side and inherited her dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin. My husband, who is Anglo, also has dark eyes, dark hair and olive skin. Back on my father's side (who is also Anglo), there were folks with blonde hair and blue eyes. Well... I have four girls now, 3 of whom "look NDN," but one of whom has fairer skin, blonde hair and light blue eyes (NO, she didn't come from the wrong side of the blanket, either.)

    When they've discussed heritage at school, especially when they discussed it around Thanksgiving, my daughter told her teacher and her classmates that she is Chickasaw Indian. They didn't believe her because she "doesn't look Indian." Has anybody out there got any suggestions how to help her cope with this - other than having her flash her CDIB card or Tribal Certificate? - Which I WILL NOT have her do.

    As a Chickasaw who is trying to reconnect with her heritage, any and all help from those of you who've walked in these moccasins before would be helpful...

    Chipisalacho anowa.
    I'm a little like your daughter - come from a family full of dark people, and I'm blond and blue-eyed, although none of us claimed to "be" Indian, only to "have" Indian ancestry. The easiest explanation for your daughter is to say that she has lots of white ancestors, too, and they gave her her blue eyes and blond hair. If it has to go any further than that, she can remind people that people can love and marry each other and have children even if one is white and one is Indian, and that's what her ancestors did.

    Comment


    • #3
      Native is a State of Being

      Originally posted by trob226
      I'm a little like your daughter - come from a family full of dark people, and I'm blond and blue-eyed, although none of us claimed to "be" Indian, only to "have" Indian ancestry. The easiest explanation for your daughter is to say that she has lots of white ancestors, too, and they gave her her blue eyes and blond hair. If it has to go any further than that, she can remind people that people can love and marry each other and have children even if one is white and one is Indian, and that's what her ancestors did.


      Right on...
      sigpic

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      • #4
        this is a mixed blessing. your kids are both ndn and white, so they kinda have a choice. they can either choose to be ndn and be involved w/ the tribe, or they can choose not to care.

        if your daughter chooses her ndn side, she has to know that she is who she is, and no one can change that no matter what they say. if she embarasses herself because of something she DID, that's one thing, but she should NEVER let anyone make her feel bad or not "legitimate" simply because she doesn't "look ndn."

        the people at school will either believe her or not, you can't change that. but you must help your daughter be confident in who she is, and not base that confidence off of what everyone else thinks. if they don't believe her, fine. that's their problem.

        Comment


        • #5
          I just wanted to thank you for your wise words. I talked to my daughter about what you said, and she seemed encouraged by this. Kids can be tough on each other, and even if you don't necessarily want to be "popular," there is still some degree of wanting to be accepted for who you are. My girls and I are all learning about Chickasaw culture, customs and language together, and perhaps, someday, we can even take part in a powwow on my people's home soil. This online powwow, though, is a real blessing!
          Last edited by NorthofAda; 12-23-2006, 06:49 PM.

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          • #6
            Welcome to the site goo to see your able to find sum answers.


            I have taught my daughters the same.. be proud of who yu are no matter what.. there will always be them ignorant being on both sides of the fence. Human Is Human period.. our differences are what helps to learn from and tolerate each other. I have 3 dark skinned babies.. and 2 light.. they are all beautiful.. My light skined ones get alot of the same thing too bout how they DONT look Native... and I have taught my girls to say.. they got the best of both worlds.. eh... hahaha...

            But really.. in the end creator made us all different for a reason.

            unfortunately some people in this world dont have the capacity to open thier minds and have very anrrow views about how things " Should" be.


            Peace and again welcome...


            ~~~ Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. ~~~


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            • #7
              i got native blood on both sides of the family and am Irish too. most of the family is darker haired and olive skiined and all. me: light everything, blue eyed. most of my life, not too many people who i came in contact believed that i had any indian blood in me. when i was in school, teachers would take a role of what ethnic backgrounds were in the class, i would stick my hand up for the native, only once in the years in school did someone believe that. senior year in high school, the home room teacher overtly put me down as something else. i asked her why, she said something like you don;t look indian thus i put down white for you. i corrected her that i was bi-racial and she needed to fix her mistake.
              Bahnisiain

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              • #8
                As a African/Native American, I get this all the time. You should let your daughter know that this is something she's going to have to deal throughout her life. It does sting alittle when people say things like, 'You don't look Indian' or 'You don't look Indian enough', but that just goes to show you that it's actually you that knows more than they do. People always take genetics for granted. I used to tell people who told me that, "Well if you take a look at this Punnett square I've drawn out..." lol.
                Don't ever stop dancing

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm kind of proud of being Scottish as well as Creek and Cherokee.........I've got some pretty strong ancestors that overcame a LOT is the way I feel about it.

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                  • #10
                    I get that once in a while.

                    I usually tell them that they are not really looking

                    or

                    That they didn't look like an asshole 5 minutes ago, but here we are.... :)
                    Because of our treaty status, the distinction of being 'Cherokee' is a status of citizenship, not a racial issue.

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                    • #11
                      ..I got a light skinned,light-eyed daughter too,but mine has no problem telling people shes NDN,and doesn't care if no one believes her.They kinda get it when I show up at school sometimes to pick her up,and they see me standing there hair all braided wearing my rezdog gear(plug).Some of her friends have shown up at powwows and have seen her dance,so she tends to have plenty of backers on this.
                      Children can be cruel,so if you can help her gain more validation,for example,I've visited my daughter's class and spoken to them about Native Americans and have emphasized that not all Natives look ther same,and that there was,and still is ,a lot of Natives marrying non-natives and having children.I also tell them that she is involved in cultural and traditional events,and many in the Native circle do recognize and accept her,so she has literally"become comfortable in her own skin"....keep smilin'1

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                      • #12
                        It IS tough. My two youngest are blue eyed blondes, which must come from way back in the gene pool. Even though my dad was white, everyone is his family has brown hair. I was even accused of bleaching their hair when they were little. As if..

                        Anyway, it wasn't too bad growing up here on the rez, cuz everyone knew them and they have cousins galore that they attended school with, as well as their older sisters.

                        And going away to high school boarding school wasn't too bad for the older one, cuz she has darker skin. But my youngest had a tough time and was teased and tormented about being so light. I didn't even realize it was so bad until other terrible things were happening in her life that she had to deal with.

                        But you just have to make your own way in this world, and find where you fit in. She was finally comfortable at her FIFTH high school where there were some other very light Indian girls - albino Hopis.

                        Everyone has things tough in one way or another. I'm sure everything she's gone through has made her a stronger person. And she'll be able to help her own daughter who is kinda light too.

                        I wasn't any help, having somehow skated through life without much prejudism directed against myself, from the white or Indian side. I've seen plenty against my mom, brother, and other family members. But I've either been oblivious or blind to it, or just lucky.

                        The only thing I was ever teased about was having a big butt while living on the Navajo rez.
                        ...it is what it is...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "Olive Skin"?? What tha..............

                          Originally posted by NorthofAda
                          I'm kind of new here and, hopefully, I'm not asking a redundant question.

                          I'm Chickasaw on my mother's side and inherited her dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin. My husband, who is Anglo, also has dark eyes, dark hair and olive skin. Back on my father's side (who is also Anglo), there were folks with blonde hair and blue eyes. Well... I have four girls now, 3 of whom "look NDN," but one of whom has fairer skin, blonde hair and light blue eyes (NO, she didn't come from the wrong side of the blanket, either.)

                          When they've discussed heritage at school, especially when they discussed it around Thanksgiving, my daughter told her teacher and her classmates that she is Chickasaw Indian. They didn't believe her because she "doesn't look Indian." Has anybody out there got any suggestions how to help her cope with this - other than having her flash her CDIB card or Tribal Certificate? - Which I WILL NOT have her do.

                          As a Chickasaw who is trying to reconnect with her heritage, any and all help from those of you who've walked in these moccasins before would be helpful...

                          Chipisalacho anowa.
                          No offense, but isn't that kinda a green color?? {olive}
                          [FONT=Garamond]RainbowDreamer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This can happen even when the child is dark headed and darker skinned. Our oldest daughter had a 4th grade teacher tell her class that there are NO NDNs left. Our daughter told the teacher that she was NDN. The teacher called her a liar. I was IRATE. My Wife and I went to talk to the class and school, the Teacher ate her words and appologized to our daughter. It helped that I knew the Principle well. This is a regional thing.

                            Now our granddaughters are fair skinned and light hair, light eyed kids. Their Dad is fair skinned, though he is NDN. Our family helps sponsor a Powwow dance here in our town. The people around town NOW accept us as being NDN. We're transplants to this area. You just have to teach them that they are NDN and to be proud of that fact no matter what others think.
                            BOB

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                            • #15
                              North of Ada, that's a tough situation. I'm sorry to hear about it. I know what you mean, I have blue eyes, and so did my grandma, but other than that, no one else in my mom's family did as far back as they know, which is several generations. Where they came from, who knows, but hey "genetics happens"! The reality is especially among tribes in OK, there are people of all different shades because the tribes were removed and had contact with non-Indians for many years. What I would say in terms of advice is that being Indian isn't looking any particular way. There's no stereotypical way an Indian looks because we are all diverse and if you ask someone to describe "an Indian",they will probably describe a picture of an Indian in the past, from the history books. Being an Indian *today* is knowing and practicing as much of your culture, like language, food, ways of interacting with others, dancing, singing, art, joking, whatever! Its good you are trying to learn about your Chickasaw heritage because to me, that's what being an Indian today is.

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