ASK AUNTIE QUESTIONS

hello, My name is Jasmin and for the sake of a longer story i will just say that I am Latina. I am on a journey of reconnecting with my ancestral roots and, through no real evidence, I believe that those roots are, at least, partially indigenous. I am working on decolonizing my mind and have lost my faith in the religion that i grew up in (which is catholicism) I want to explore the faith and culture of my indigenous ancestors but I do not know if they have survived today and if they are how I can reach out and if they are not how it is i can find that identity that I am desperate to find because right now I’m so lost and lonely. I don’t know what to do or how to start. Please help?

Dear Jasmin,

Thanks for reaching out!

Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. I encourage you to explore your identity. This is a great start.

There are many ways you can do this, yet there is no right or wrong way for doing this.

I am always glad to hear when people want to explore their Native identity and heritage. Native American 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 Natives are. The use of terms Native, Native American, American Indian, Native Alaskan and indigenous are generally used interchangeably, depending on the context of the discussion. The term “Native” is used to describe people who identify culturally as “Native”, whereas the terms “Native American”, “American Indian” and “Native Alaskan” are legal and political designations. Indigenous is used to describe the original people of any land.

Being Native means different things to each person. For some, it means that they are descendants of the original people of North America. For others, it means a way of life or a way of being; a feeling, how one sees the world and one’s self; a way of interacting with nature, family, and Creator. Native culture in North America, is rich in tradition, history, spirituality, art, economics, and politics.

Do your Research:

  • Relatives – If you feel comfortable, reach out to your extended family. Let them know you are interested in connecting and learning more about your heritage. If the family route doesn’t work, know that your tribe has other opportunities to connect.
  • Internet – A lot of tribes have official tribal websites where you can at least find a phone number to their tribal office. Give them a call. Most tribes have someone who can answer some questions for you. Ask for youth events like; language classes, youth groups, community gatherings, in-school or after-school programs, elder lead groups, pow-wow/ dance groups, or anything else you could get involved in.

Make sure through this process of learning more about your culture, the history of your tribe and traditions, that you start from a place of respect and curiosity.

Good luck on your journey.

Take care,

Auntie Manda

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hello, My name is Jasmin and for the sake of a longer story i will just say that I am Latina. I am on a journey of reconnecting with my ancestral roots and, through no real evidence, I believe that those roots are, at least, partially indigenous. I am working on decolonizing my mind and have lost my faith in the religion that i grew up in (which is catholicism) I want to explore the faith and culture of my indigenous ancestors but I do not know if they have survived today and if they are how I can reach out and if they are not how it is i can find that identity that I am desperate to find because right now I’m so lost and lonely. I don’t know what to do or how to start. Please help?

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