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City of Mills Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-23-08 09:25 PM
Original message
I'm lost
Edited on Sun Mar-23-08 10:08 PM by ByTheRiver
I'm indian. No, I'm not. Am I? What is a native american anyway???

I'm really confused here. Listen to my story from the Northeast and share your thoughts please.

My father told me when he was young, his grandmother told him he was part Blackfoot, and to never forget his heritage. My father was moved by this, and sought to learn more about native american culture. He became involved with an intertribal group whose members consisted of both fullbloods and nonbloods having interest in learning and preserving the customs and teachings of the elders.

This is the 'lifestyle', so to speak, I was born into. I grew up with the sound of the drum. I learned beadwork, woodwork, dancing, etc. I've gone to powwows. I've participated in ceremony. When I wasn't doing these things, I was just another kid in the neighborhood - A largely french-canadian neighborhood. After all, I'm mostly french-canadian. I look 'white'.

I've feel stuck between two cultures. I self-identify as indian. I can't help it, I know more about my native culture than my French-Canadian culture.

I feel fullbloods do not accept me as indian, because I appear white and did not grow up on the res. Nonbloods see my appearance and at best consider me an indian 'wannabe'.

Trying to come to terms with this, around age 30 I began attempting to research my family's roots. I soon learned that French-Canadian lineage is perhaps the easiest to trace due to extensive and detailed records kept in Canada. Fortunately, I was able to trace my lineage back to my direct descendant who migrated from France to Canada in 1660. And he took an indian wife, though not Blackfoot as my father always believed. She turned out to be of the Huron Bear clan. In some ways, it was comforting to set my family's bloodline straight, however I now knew that I was far removed from my ancestor and the knowledge I gained was not handed down.

Now, I feel alone. I'm confused. I realize I don't know what being indian is. I am proud to be indian; I am also proud to be French Canadian.

I don't know if I need validation or acceptance. I know I'm not unique, but sometimes I feel so alone in this world. I can only follow what's in my heart.

Thank you for reading my story.
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Wetzelbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-25-08 03:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. You're culturally plural
You're Indian and French-Canadian. These are not separate parts of you. They are you. They mesh together and unite as one to make you whole. I'm a Blackfeet Indian, enrolled member of the tribe and raised on the reservation, but I look white too. I am German, Nez Perce, Chippewa Cree and a few other muttish things. I'm also an American. I am not just one of these things, I am all of them. Just the same as me being a male doesn't effect me being a Blackfeet Indian. It all becomes one.

Don't feel lost. Accept who you are and keep learning about it. When you meet other Indians talk to them about your heritage and your knowledge of it. Don't identify yourself as "part" Indian, you ARE Indian. It's inside you. If fullbloods don't accept you then fine, let them be backward like that. But good people who matter will accept you. That you look white is superficial, some people won't know you're Indian because of it, but when you talk about being Indian and your history, good people will get it.
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CountAllVotes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-26-08 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
2. they are not many full blooded Native peoples left

I'm very admittedly a mixed blood myself (part Cherokee and Choctaw). I'm also several other races (European primarily). Join the club! Most of us are in the same boat.

At least you know. That right there is a big step. Identity is a real problem for some of us.

Nice to see you here and please come back and share what you know with the rest of us. :)

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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-28-08 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
3. How wonderful that you had the opportunity
to tap into your native roots by learning traditional arts & crafts, such as the music, woodwork, beadwork and dancing. I am mixed blood also but you would never guess to look at me. I have been rejected a few times because I appear 'too white' and have been denigrated as a 'wannabe'. This is a much gentler rejection, though, than my ancestors faced at the hands of the US government when they had all their wealth and property confiscated because their bodies held a degree of indian 'blood'. I simply am what I am. I have pride in my native heritage and blood and am learning Cherokee to honor my ancestors. Learn the history that is not taught about the indigenous people of this continent and spread it wherever you go. You are not alone but you are unique. Following your heart is a wise course to take. Wishing you peace.
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Waya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. You answered your own question, ......
You said : I can only follow what's in my heart. That's all that is required - for any of us. Native American, White, Black, Asian - and any mix thereof.
Answer this: Which part of you is Native American? Your foot? Your finger - which one? Your elbow?

Which part of you is French-Canadian? Your arm? Your toes? Your hip? You are you - you're French-Canadian and Native American - what characteristics make you French-Canadian? Which ones make you Native American?
The fact is you are what you are - you do not need anyone to validate or accept that. You are validated by how you live your life and the only one wo needs to accept who you are and what you are is you.

Oh, and as for looking 'white' - Crazy Horse was very light skinned and had brown hair (not black) and nobody would have dared to call him anything other than what he was.

Follow your heart - and you will be ok!

Mitakuye Oyasin,


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sagetea Donating Member (471 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-30-08 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. well that was just beautiful!!!
That is almost exactly what my Grannie used to tell me!! She always told me that I am me, and I am related in my heart to people of all races. The one time I met some full blooded men, they intimidated the heck out of me, I was never called any names tho`. So, I guess I was lucky.
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