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If You're Indian and No One Knows It, Don't Whine to Me About It

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  • If You're Indian and No One Knows It, Don't Whine to Me About It

    I am a fair mixed-blood. I've been one and known it ever since I was born. I'm heartily sick of people coming on here and whining about the trials of being a mixed-blood. Go read the Death of Jim Looney, burn a candle at your Jean-Paul Satre shrine, and get over your existential angst!

    I could have spent the last 43 years whining over what I'm not. So, you don't have a card and strange full-bloods at powwows don't welcome you with open arms -- get over it. You're an Indian, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Forget the grand gestures, you don't have to be an AIMster in white-face. Chop some wood, sweep some floors, buy an elder some groceries, or mow a shut-in's law. If you're going to claim the blood, then contribute to your kin-folk.

    If you think a CDIB or Indian name is going to give you eternal fulfillment, I suggest you take a serious look at what you think being Indian is. Indian isn't exotic. Indian isn't cool. Indian isn't a meal ticket. Indians aren't spiritual all the time. Indians make mistakes.

    Being Indian is: Taking care of your kin. Respecting your elders. Being humble. Experiencing prejudice. Fighting to preserve your language. Drinking a bitter history. Working to make a better life for your kids. Mourning the pieces of our ways lost to disease, war, boarding schools, and acculturation. Hanging tight to what remains. Giving the food off your plate if needed. Struggling to be real in the face of a world that wraps you in the dirty clothes of an imagined Noble Savage. Being Indian is Hell. Being Indian is Heaven. Being Indian is hard.

    So, you carry the genes of the enemy and the victim. Are you going to blame your ancestors for their decisions? Are you going to blame the full-blood for being a full-blood?

    We all walk with the weight of history on our shoulders. Respect the experiences of those who have seen the urban born, dominant culture oriented, fair skinned mixed-bloods visiting the rez for a powwow, etc. They've watched the i'eska arrive in their fancy cars and with their designer dogs, to partake of the upside of being Indian and leave before the **** hits the fan. For so many years, they have seen these mixed bloods get the Indian set asides, the Indian scholarships, you name it because they are non-threatening to the dominant culture. Fair or not that is reality -- understand it and move on. Not everyone is going to like you or accept you.

    If you start an organization of other mixed-blood people in which to share your experiences, please, don't call yourself a tribe. Don't make yourselves all chief's, pipe carriers, and medicine men. Don't appropriate Lakota ways just because you can't find a library book about your tribe. Don't invent a culture to fill the gaps.

    If you feel the need to come to an online Native community, don't whine about non-acceptance or the perks that you think the enrolled have. Don't try to out Indian everyone else by leading with your genealogy and spiritual utterances. All you're likely to experience is a big helping of old-fashioned shaming.

    Be glad for what you have and know. Be aware of what you don't. Respect is earned. Take care of your kin and contribute to your Native community. Use your eyes and ears more than your mouth. Learn your language. Practice your ways -- not some hookey new-age spiritual cocktail. Accept the boundaries defined by your Native community, by accepting their correction and instruction. Give up jealousy and bitterness, and get on with living.

  • #2
    +wow lol yep and you go gurl...

    Hi OC how are yall doing ,are you comming to Austin for the powwow nov 4

    i hope to see you there again.
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass..It's about learning to dance in the rain. for me and the wolf

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    • #3
      This should be required reading on this site. Very eloquently stated and on target!

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      • #4
        Can I get an AMEN!!! LOL

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        • #5
          Very good words to live by. Do the work to help others without hoping for a ' o look I did this' recognition award.
          ,,,not all who wander are lost,,,

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          • #6
            Very good writing Ol'chemist, do you mind if I share your words with others?

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            • #7
              Actually, they remind me more of Nietzsche than Sartre, but great paragraph!

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              • #8
                So.Well.Done.
                Thank you for writing this.
                Don't compromise yourself. It's all you've got.

                Janis Joplin

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                • #9

                  excellent post

                  roll up your sleeves and get to work



                  Do quiet work behind the scenes...fit yourself in.

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                  • #10
                    I am a Half Breed,and i really don't care who knows about my Native heritage...I KNOW.

                    I was raised by my Tribe, i grew up Working, Celebrating, Mourning, Arguing, Laughing, Crying, Learning and Teaching with my Tribe, my lighter skin never bothered them, and that's all that matters to me.

                    My blood may be mixed, but the heart that pumps it is Indian!

                    And anyone who doesn't like it, knows where they can go
                    "Don't trust anyone who isn't angry."
                    - John Trudell

                    "Don't trust anyone who isn't hungry."
                    - Me

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                    • #11
                      your words are good & will pay off to those who follow them.
                      My sister & I were adopted out. She is darker then I am. When I started meeting people in my community & learning I lamented that I wasn't as dark as my sister. But I jumped in where ever I could, dishes, cleaning up after programs, volunteering at P4W etc. Before I knew it my being lighter then my sister wasn't an issue for me anymore, except that she looks better in shorts. One of my kids isn't just lighter, she is pale. She hates it, I hope one day she learns this too.

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                      • #12
                        So who are you really? Rush Limbaugh or Bill Mauer in American Native drag?

                        Sorry, just had to say that. The badger made me do it!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by badgermademedoit View Post
                          So who are you really? Rush Limbaugh or Bill Mauer in American Native drag?
                          If I could have eithe of those gentlemen's paychecks, you could call me anything but late to dinner.

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                          • #14
                            Can I call you Maurice ?

                            Excellent post!
                            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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                            • #15


                              You Rock!!
                              "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume

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