ASK AUNTIE QUESTIONS

I am white, but I live in an area that is between 3 different tribes on the PNW coast. I’m a teacher, and more than half my students are Native Americans. I love my tribal kids, they are the joy in my teaching hours. They bring such life and joy and happiness to school with them, always curious, always respectful, always ready to have fun and learn something new. Sadly, I’ve known several Native American parents and a child who died. I just learned about ribbon skirts, and I was wondering if it would be wrong for me to wear one in remembrance of them. I sew, and would really enjoy making a ribbon skirt – but I don’t know if that would offend my students, their parents, or their tribes.

Hi there! Thanks for writing in.

This service is prioritized for Native youth, so I will not be answering this question. However, I encourage you to look for more about this and to ask yourself if buying and wearing something is going to make the impact you think it will or if the intent is to make yourself feel better. There are many ways to be an ally that’s not relegated to performance and self-interests, but rooted in action. One of the most important questions allies and co-conspirators can ask themselves is: 

  • What is the impact of my actions here?
  • Is it truly and wholeheartedly aligned with my intent?

Intent is not the same as impact, so you’ll need to know the difference. Asking these questions is a good starting point for this continual process.

I hope you will use your best judgment when it comes to that and continue supporting Indigenous folks in many ways 🙂 Great examples include: mutual aid, supporting Indigenous-owned businesses in a multitude of manners, Landback, and so much more!

Thanks,

Cousin Asia

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I am white, but I live in an area that is between 3 different tribes on the PNW coast. I’m a teacher, and more than half my students are Native Americans. I love my tribal kids, they are the joy in my teaching hours. They bring such life and joy and happiness to school with them, always curious, always respectful, always ready to have fun and learn something new. Sadly, I’ve known several Native American parents and a child who died. I just learned about ribbon skirts, and I was wondering if it would be wrong for me to wear one in remembrance of them. I sew, and would really enjoy making a ribbon skirt – but I don’t know if that would offend my students, their parents, or their tribes.

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