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How white is your native world?

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  • How white is your native world?

    To those who may ask, Who the hell does this guy think he is?, after reading this, i very quickly wrote that in another thread "craft contest sponsors" so I don't have to bore readers with a second round of it :)
    I have been an observer of this Native Phenomenon for the last 15 yrs, and ever since the beginning it's been nagging me- Wannabe's to begin with. I mean even if in all truthfulness the person at an adult age , researches his family and finds Native heritage in their great great great grandma, does this really make the person native? I know I know " bad form Hywalker" or maybe a bit Politicaly incorrect. Or maybe the other line i hear, "it's not whats in your blood, but whats in your heart that makes you Native". Now I'm certainly no expert on Native America by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been brought around my wifes tribe and have had alot of contact with other tribes (by standing next to my wife lol), And to me it seems a Native is a Native because they grow up being exactly what they are, being brought up hearing their grandpa telling them stories from their tribal past, growing up with the prejudice of being someone other than white. We have people who claim being Native, and suddenly their an authority on the subject out giving lectures and telling any who will listen yet never having contact with their tribe growing up. It was even brought up at a University meeting that the tribal cards be dropped. The Gov. is not the Natives friend to be sure, but they did 2 things that help our fight against wannabe's trying to make money on the Native name, and one is the tribal card (not the ones u buy on the net for $25 either lol), the other is them defining Who a Native is, as in A native is a person who is a member of a federally or state officially recognized tribe. pretty cut and dry. Ok the Gov. did another by making the Indian Arts and Crafts Board under the dept. of interior. They like to prosecute people trying to make money passing themselves off as Native artists and craftsmen.
    I guess I'm venting a bit because I suffer the suspisous looks when i'm the only white boy around, I have been asked many times straight up, "what, are you some kinda wannabe?". Truthfully there has to be a few of us that are involved in the Native world for no other reason than we fell in love with a girl (or guy) who just happened to be native.
    So I guess I'm asking the Non card carrier or the ones who's great great great grandma was Native, whats up? Can't we sit back and let the Tribal Natives teach us what it means to be Native in stead of the other way around? There is ummm quite a few True Natives in this country that could use the job of lecturer and teacher of native ways, that a wannabe is
    taking up. If your a Native enthusiast , you should understand what I mean. If you goto a Powwow to see Natives dance or buy an item because you want a native craft piece, wouldnt you like to rest assured it will be natives you see dance or natives that crafted the piece you purchase. Those with a interest in Native America I ask you, be sure the person you hire is really Native, we can't wait for the Natives themselves to be able to do this, its way too many city's for them by themselves to police alone. My wife and other Native craftsmen, artists, dancers, arena directors , etc. in our area had to go as far as forming
    a consortium to protect themselves against the wannabe invasion we are suffering at the present time. It's sad they have to take such measures to try to preserve their cultures.
    Please visit
    "The truth shall set you free, but first it's gonna piss you off a whole lot".

  • #2
    I just had to reply to this. I agree that some native's that are indian, don't know anything about their tribe or culture and act more "white". And there are some "white's" that grew up native or married a native that act and know more about tribal ways than their counterparts and get rialed for it. That's they kind of world we're livin' in buddy! It ALL has to do with where your heart is anyway. In God's eyes, we're all HIS creation. Period! Keep the faith and follow Him. God's son is/was from the tribe of Juda. Think about it.
    "Riches from the heart can not be stolen."


    • #3
      This is gonna be a good thread...

      I'm going to go get my popcorn!

      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?

      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

      Mr. Rossie Freeman


      • #4
        The ones you and others forget about

        Osiyo, My wife and I just got through reading your post and must say that we felt attacked by some of your comments. Before you go in the defensive, let me explain where "we are coming from". My Great-Grandmother was a full blood Cherokee that was born in Texas in 1869. When I was very young, up until I was 12, she called me usti yona, (Little Bear) and told me of my heritage and told me to be proud of it. I was very proud to be part Cherokee.
        When I started going to school in California, because of my blonde hair and blue eyes, whenever I said that I was part Cherokee, I was called everything from a "liar" to "a dirty indian". At such a young age, these words crushed my spirit, and I told my parents what was happening to me. Their advice to me was, "Don't say anything about being part Cherokee and the coments will go away". Being respectfull of my parent's wishes, I followed their advice. But at the same time I felt like I was dishonoring my Great-Grandmother's instructions. I had to weigh out the situation and eventually followed my parents direction.
        I had no training in my native heritage growing up and only had the government's text books to rely on for any historical facts about the Cherokee people, (and we all know just how valuable that is). When I was 16 my family moved to Los Angles and I thought "Great! A fresh start.", so, once again I tried to claim my heritage, and once again, I was called all sorts of names. My parents again told me to deny my heritage so that I wouldn't suffer the name calling.
        But my heart felt a pull that grew with strenght by the day towards my Earth Mother and the Native ways, even though I had no guidence. While I lived in L.A., I stumbled across a radio station that on Sunday mornings at 5am would broadcast Native American Church. The first time I heard the beat of the drums, I felt so connected. I turned the volume up and got a immediate response from my Father (whom I had awaken. Not a good thing!) and was told to "TURN THAT CRAP OFF!". From that day on, I listened to the program in my car.
        It wasn't until many years later that I moved to East Tennessee and met my wife an married. After being here for a few years we found a group of people that were very interested in their heritage and it stirred up old feelings in my spirit of that "connection".
        My wife, through asking questions of her older family members, found out that her Great-Grandfather practiced the medicine cures of the Cherokee and spoke the language and was part of the Cherokees of the Eastern Band. We both live as much of the lifestyle as we have knowledge of. And that is the point of this situation that I really want to make clear. Because of not having "Cards" from a recconized tribe, we are not being taught by tribal members about our heritage or about the meanings and lessons of life and the way of the true Native.
        We are between the "Rock and Hard place", and have been shunned by those that we admire most. Knowledge is being held from us when we are trying to be and do the most honorable things we can do to recconize our heritage and ancestor's struggles against the government.
        My Great-Grandmother HATED the government! And because of that, she refused to register on any of the rolls or take any portion of what was offered in the treatys. She didn't live on the reservation and when the census were taken, she claimed white so that the government wouldn't count her as a "Dirty Indian". So you won't find her on any rolls no matter where you look, but I have her word and the fact that her Mother came from the Chickamugga Cherokees in the early 1800's to tell me that what she said is true.
        You brought up the crafts thing, and we agree that being a registered member assures that the "Made in China" crap stays off the trade tables and out of the Native shops is a good thing. But then again, there we are, dropping through the cracks of the system. My wife makes some of the most beautiful dresses and shirts around, while I create pipes, jewerly, and other Native items, but because we don't have the "Card", we can't claim it to be Native made.
        We do attend Pow Wows. But it is for the enjoyment of being with like minded people and with hopes of learning something that we didn't know before.
        You're right about the "wannabe's" being everywhere and claiming this and that. We have had our share of run ins whith them, as well as some Natives that were looking to line their pockets under the pretense of helping other Natives. I think that we all have to be careful who we listen to and to listen to our hearts to discern between those of red hearts and those of black hearts.
        I've always ascribed to the motto that "actions speak louder than words". This always seems to trip up the "Black Hearts" and the wannabes of questionable motive.
        I am an advid reader of Native authors in hopes of learning something new that will help me in my daily walk with the Creator, and one thing that I've learned that makes the most scense to me is that we all are created by the same Creator and are all connected to the same Earth Mother. The difference between us is whether we use the white man's concept of God the Creator, and walk through this life thinking of only ourselves and what we have and go to church on Sunday, or the Red man's concept of the Creator where we respect all things and give thanks for them, and live in "Church" every day.
        It has been my experience that most wannabes say that they walk the Red Road, but their actions say that they walk the white road. There are some people out there that are white, but TRULY want to be Red and want to TRULY learn and respect the Red ways, and to us, that's OK. It's the ones that say one thing and do another that we all have to be careful of.
        I am very happy for you. Your situation allows you the ability to observe and maybe even participate in tribal events and affairs that most of us aren't privileged to be anywhere around. You have a advantage over those of us who don't carry cards to be able to observe everyday life and to listen to those storys that my wife and I would love to see and hear.
        Because we don't carry cards, or look like the common concept of an "Indian", please don't think of us as any less Red hearted than your wife. We truly walk the Red Road and seek to learn more if we are ever givin a chance.
        With much respect,
        Gray Bear and Two Feathers


        • #5
          tuck & roll


          • #6
            I take no offence to what you say chiefgreybear. I wrote this not to attack but to get opinions, and with that in mind i made sure my skin would be thick enough for critisism of my opinion. With every rule there are exceptions and along with that with every rule there are those who end up on the short side of the stick. You should be up in arms like me then because there are alot of wannabe's using an extremely close story to yours. These are the ones that make it so difficult for the ones that were left off the rolls to go and learn their heritage. We ourselves have a blonde haired blue eyed , burn in the sun daughter whom people laugh everytime she says she's native. her only saving grace is the fact of her tribal card, so I do understand the ridicule one would get for claiming native heritage without the looks. I am not trying to down those with Native heritage or the enthusiast, I'm trying to stop people from scamming and fraud, or on a much less grandious scale, trying to figure out how to make the average public aware of how to tell their getting what they expected.
            I do not argue the fact that we are all created equal under the creators eyes, but that doesnt mean i can go be a doctor or lawyer just cause i feel the mood to be one. Not being as spiritually versed as I'd like to be for this part of the conversation but it seems to me that it would be offensive to the creator for someone to claim something they are not just for personal fame or monetary gain (I won't go deep into this , kinda like showing up at a gun fight with a rubber knife lol).
            Again I certainly don't have all the answers, I have my doubts there are even reasonable solutions to the problem. I can see where the situation you describe would be most aggrivating, and in starting the thread I did know there would be exceptions to the rule, theres no easy way to attack this subject without it being a lil too open ended. I appreciate your opinions chief greybear and little bird :)
            Please visit
            "The truth shall set you free, but first it's gonna piss you off a whole lot".


            • #7
              Wow, what a LONGEST comments!

              Hope, there's no problems in the future.
              Visit my Website & Forums: Native American & Cherokee Cultural Community. If you're interest it, sign up, feel free and hope to see you on the boards!


              • #8
                Wa Do

                Hywalker, I am Two Feathers, Gray Bear's wife. Thank you for your response. We do agree that the frauds and shakers need to be exposed. And, NO, there is no easy way to do that. It may just have to happen one at a time. Wa Do


                • #9
                  Nope, no problem.


                  • #10
                    hi, chiefgraybear comments bugg me. somehow the creator and god got intertwined. i dont respect the any white religon. i think what we have is perfect for ourselves and wont even consider attending or being affiliated with an original terrorist group. religon is a nice subject when were talking about our own, but when you start talking junk well it can get nasty... pick a side and stick with it. dont confuse the bible babble with my/our way. its not the same.

                    i respect you making your own pipes and ceremonial stuff if you intend to use them for that purpose. exploiting what your not legally intended to sell is crap. find something else to do and leave it to somebody who wont make it look like a mockery. the my grandma was cherokee bit is pathetic especially when your selling goods. and then having to listen to your excuses on why your not enrolled is another cherry on top of an already crappy wanna be scenerio. if its all true give it a rest and move on.
                    thanks dad for showing me the way, teaching me the language, and not leaving my mother...*L*

                    *RoUg3 MoD sTaTuS*


                    • #11
                      Two Feathers & Grey Bear, I appreciate your candor. Weeding the frauds out is going to be a life long task as long as there are people. Blessings on you both for hangin' in there.
                      I too have the same problem. Ethnically I'm mostly white. I have Algonkin ancesters. I have an honest, kind, loving heart and would rather live the Algonkin ways...but like you, they did not register either. Oh...about the "God" thing, I don't know if you know this but GOD IS the one who started TRIBES...soooo take it easy. It's not about the "Bible" or "Religion" (as I've posted many times before in different places)'s about relationship with HIM, believing in Him and following him. I am not a "Religious fanatic", I'm a beleiver. Big difference. Oh, and Jesus was a despised ethnic, dark skinned, a minority, and rejected too. But back to the subject, which was being rejected for not LOOKING native and fraudulant things going on...I think Two Feathers was right, in having to do it one at a time and Grey Bears courage for putting up with so much rejection should be respected. I don't think any of these stories are fake. Thank You
                      "Riches from the heart can not be stolen."


                      • #12
                        jesus's zealots can bend and twist words from their bible to suit any situation. its their way. you have to kinda buy into it or it doesnt work.
                        thanks dad for showing me the way, teaching me the language, and not leaving my mother...*L*

                        *RoUg3 MoD sTaTuS*


                        • #13
                          I know of cases where family's "became" white in order to avoid discrimination. This country had, and continues to have, racial problems, especially in the deep south. In my native state of LA, the Houma survived anyway they could. If they could pass off as white, they did so to avoid the black and Indian schools. It was a luck of the draw type system, in one family the siblings each had a different race listed on their birth certificates: white, black, mulatto, & Indian. Some families assimulated so well, they lost their culture and language.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by injunboy
                            jesus's zealots can bend and twist words from their bible to suit any situation. its their way. you have to kinda buy into it or it doesnt work.
                            "Riches from the heart can not be stolen."


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Joe's Dad
                              This is gonna be a good thread...

                              I'm going to go get my popcorn!
                              TRUDELL FOR PRESIDENT

                              (and no,this isnt zeek)


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