Hi Auntie! My family is half-Cherokee and not white-passing, but they were raised white and so was I. Is it appropriate to try and reconnect even though I'm totally uncultured? Thank you

Hi Auntie! My family is half-Cherokee and not white-passing, but they were raised white and so was I. Is it appropriate to try and reconnect even though I'm totally uncultured? Thank you

 

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.

 

If you feel comfortable, reach out to your extended family. Tribal communities have a very strong familial bond. It’s likely they have thought about reaching out or at least thought about their relatives, but don’t know how. Let them know you’re 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.

 

Start with an Internet search – 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 your could get involved in.

 

Once you start to make connections within the community and make an effort, things will open up, especially when you come with good intentions and respect. Keep this as your focus.

 

Best of luck to you. I think you are hearing your ancestors voices reaching out. Extend your hands and reach back.

 

Take care,
Auntie Manda