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What I Love About My Indigenous Features

As an Indigenous adult, I want to do everything I can to show appreciation for my ancestors and make them known. Other than demonstrating my culture and staying in touch with my family’s traditions, I feel that celebrating everything about my people, including my Indigenous features, is very important. Honoring my own and others Indigenous features and spreading love for them is a great way to show respect for and thank our ancestors.

My Eyes
At a young age I noticed that my eyes were different from the other kids at school. Being one of the only Indigenous students in a majority white school made it tough to accept the way I look. Knowing I didn’t look like the mostly blonde haired, blue-eyed kids in class made me feel worried about being different. However, as I got older, I began to embrace my eye shape and color by experimenting with makeup. I tried to surround myself with Indigenous friends as well. Surrounding myself with Indigenous friends gave me a sense of belonging and reassured me that I wasn’t the only one feeling different. Having support from my family and friends made it a lot easier to feel comfortable with my appearance. As an adult, I am grateful that I have the same eye shape and color as my family, and I continue to express myself through makeup and art.

My Nose
Both my father and I were told that we had the same nose. At first, I thought this was a bad thing, because my nose isn’t small and slim like those I went to school with. However, as an adult, it’s one of my favorite features! Why? Whenever I see traits that connect me to my relatives, it reminds me of how close my genes are to my ancestors. I often think about how to make my family proud and spread awareness about Indigenous peoples and our cultures. Whether it’s online, talking with friends, or out in public. Because of this I think that my ancestors would be proud of who I am today.

My Face Shape
I was told by my family that my grandmother and I share the same face shape. Being compared to my grandma’s beauty means everything to me. When she was alive, my grandmother was the strongest person I knew. She always knew how to make everyone smile. She was confident, happy, and dressed nicely. My grandma’s effortless beauty inspired me to be more confident. Growing up I noticed that a lot of the women in my family had a similar face shape to mine. It makes me happy to share this trait with my family, because it makes me feel more connected to my people and my relatives.

My Hope for You and Others
By sharing my love for my Indigenous features, I hope that I can help others embrace their features as well. It’s so important to honor our ancestors and family. By being confident in who we are, we show pride in our ancestors and the significance of our history. Remembering that our ancestors are living through us can help us all feel more beautiful and have a sense of comfort in knowing that our ancestors are with us everywhere we go.

How Can I Work on Loving Myself?
At times it’s hard to love yourself. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, practicing being less self-critical, taking time out for self-care, and doing hobbies you truly enjoy can help improve the way you view yourself. In addition, you can:

  • Practice self-compassion
    You can work on your self-compassion by not being so hard on yourself in certain situations. You are human and we all make mistakes! By taking time to slow down, breathe, and relax you can reflect on and learn from your mistakes. This is how we all grow.
  • Create a self-care plan
    Creating a plan for self-care may sound complex, but it doesn’t have to be!  Writing down a list of things you enjoy doing and making an effort to regularly do them is a great start.
  • Surround yourself with a positive support system
    Having a friend group that you feel is positive and healthy is a great way to feel supported by people who genuinely care about you. Good friends want to see you thrive and love yourself.

Self-love and acceptance take time and isn’t an overnight process—it’s a journey! When you are starting to feel self-doubt, remind yourself that you are human, and it is okay to not always feel 100% all the time. Then consider taking a little time out of your day to treat yourself to your favorite food, take a needed nap, spend time with good friends, or something else that brings you joy.

For more information about self-love and body positivity, check out these resources below:

Author: Shaelee Singer is a sophomore at Portland State University and member of the Navajo Nation. As an English major interested in education, Shaelee is grateful to be writing articles that spread awareness about health to Native youth.

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