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Most Recent Questions ASK AUNTIE A QUESTION

My family wants to get together for Thanksgiving, but I’m worried about COVID. There’s a lot of us. Also, should Natives even be celebrating?

Hi there! These are great questions! They’ve been on my mind too. Yeah, you’re right to be thinking about how best to keep yourself and your family safe. There were over a million COVID cases reported in the past 7 days. So, there is nothing more real than that. Bottom line, the safest way to continue being safe during the… Read More

Dear Cousin Lael, my family is really opposed to getting the flu shot because they think they’ll get sick and that the government is trying to dope them. What do I say to them?

Well, I totally get where your family is coming from. The US government has a history of being very violent towards tribes and Native communities, including when it comes to medicine and health care. What you can say to your family to explain the flu shot is that this year especially it is important to get flu shots because it… Read More

Hi! I have some First Nations ancestry- I’m not sure how much, but it’s farther back than my grandmother-but I would like to know this: is there some sort of tattoo or something that I could get to honour my ancestors without being culturally insensitive?

I am always glad to hear when people want to explore their Indigenous identity and heritage. Indigenous cultures are diverse and beautiful. But this exploration should be conducted with respect to our ancestors, past, present and future. To begin, it is important to understand who Indigenous peoples are. Across North America, Indigenous peoples refer to themselves using different terms. In… Read More

Hi Auntie! I’ve been wanting to get involved with showing my support for BLM and protest, but I don’t know how to get started. And my cousins on the rez want to support too, but can’t get to any protests. What should we do?

[Auntie Manda] These are really great questions. I think it’s so great that you are interested in joining the movement on the streets! It is so important for Native youth to support our Black relatives who are fighting for liberation and an end to police brutality! The fight for Indigenous sovereignty and the struggle for Black liberation are interconnected. I… Read More

Hey Auntie! My non-Native friends don’t see why it’s such a big deal that the R-word name has been banned. How do I explain this?

Hey there, There’s a lot of back and forth on this one, with a lot of different emotions ranging from ‘what’s the big deal’ to ‘this is a fundamental value’. I have been asked this question before and my response was; what happens when you dress up like someone from a different culture? What types of things do you start… Read More

Hey Auntie, I’m trying to stay up to date on all this COVID stuff, but I feel like I’m getting mixed messages. What do I need to know and what should I be doing?

Great question! Well, what you need to know about COVID is that it is similar to the influenza virus in the way that it acts. Past influenza viruses have taken around 2 years to cycle through, so unless there is a vaccine for COVID, we might expect the same timeline. So, as things start to open up (or close again)… Read More

How do you celebrate July 4th?

Hi there! This is a good question! I first want to say that it’s okay to celebrate any US holiday however you choose to. It’s also okay if you want to boycott or redefine the holiday by reflecting on how the holiday might look through an Indigenous lens. For example, if you would rather spend holidays like Thanksgiving, Columbus Day,… Read More

How do I live a life of continual dysfunction? – Sincerely a Anishinabekwe Living on a Reservation

Dear Relative, Huge kudos to you for reaching out. I understand that sometimes it is really hard to ask about resources for help. We are living in an unprecedented time, there is a lot of stress that we are all dealing with right now. There are many ways we navigate this world, some of those ways can be seen as… Read More

Hi Auntie, my grandma’s family is Choctaw and honoring ancestors is important to us. I want to wear their regalia to keep the traditions of my family alive. However, I was told because I’m White and too removed, that I can’t. What are your thoughts?

Hi Relative, It is so wonderful that you want to honor your ancestors through your regalia and traditions! This is so important. I’m sorry that people have said some things to discourage you from participating in these important cultural traditions. The great and challenging thing is, that you’re the only one you need to get permission from. People will have… Read More

I just found out both Great grandmother’s were Native. Since I am crossed with 2 tribes which roll number should I turn into BIA?

Hi there! Great! What an amazing gift that your family had some information on what tribes you’re from. Keep asking questions, especially from the elders and I’m sure you’ll find some helpful information. It is super common for people to be from multiple tribes, so you are in good company😊 Generally, the BIA is not involved in tribal enrollment, that’s… Read More

Hello! I work for a company that has a project they have titled "Thunderbird." We are not at all a Native-owned or operated company. I am worried that this is culturally appropriative. Is it?

Hey there, Thank you for asking this question and being mindful about how your company may be appropriating Indigenous culture. The thunderbird is significant to many different tribes across North America. It plays an important role in our diverse histories, artworks, and spiritualities. When I talk to others about this, I often say that a good indicator that cultural appropriation… Read More

How to begin to trace what tribe(s) I belong to??? Recently did a genetic test I’m 44% native American I want to know where I belong.

Hey there, Thank you for your question. I am always glad to hear when someone wants to connect to their culture. The issues around DNA testing are complicated and controversial. The short answer is that there is no DNA test to prove ties to a specific tribe. First off what do people mean by DNA testing? According to the National… Read More

I just did my ancestry dna and found out I’m 44% Native American. I was adopted into a family at the age of four. I was always told I was native but I never had proof until last year. How do I see if I qualify for funds?

Hey there, Thank you for your question. I am always glad to hear when someone wants to connect to their culture. The issues around DNA testing are complicated and controversial. The short answer is that there is no DNA test to prove ties to a specific tribe. First off what do people mean by DNA testing? According to the National… Read More

Hi Auntie, I’m drawn to Navajo style rugs and blankets. I love the symbolism like the diamond, which I understand may represent the four corners of the Dinetah. Is it okay to purchase a design like this from a non-tribesperson?

Hey there, By asking this question I can see that you have some concerns. Listen to your gut…and let’s talk it through. In general, I recommend that people buy Native art from Native artists. There are so many talented Indigenous artists out there to support! Native art done by non-Native artists without respect to the practice and history of the… Read More

I got a birth control implant 2 days ago… I feel like it was placed in the wrong area. Should i be worried? Is it still going to work?

Hi there! Thanks for writing in 😊 Let’s go over some basic facts about implants. What is it?The implant is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick, which has a progestin hormone. How does it work to prevent pregnancy? It is placed under the skin of the woman’s arm and the hormone is slowly released into the… Read More

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