I wasn’t raised in my culture, homeland, or languages, I’m Métis and Eastern European, and I’m the palest. How do I go about the reconnection process without seeming like a pretendian/feeling like I’m taking native spaces?
Thank you for submitting this important question, there is a lot to talk about in this question.
There are many ways that people come into their Native identity and we come in every shade of human spectrum. Colonization has created divisions within our own cultures and has made it hard for us to connect to our nations. There are people who are appropriating Native culture and identity, or what you refer to as “pretendian”. There is also “lateral oppression”, in which Native people oppress each other based on skin tone, language and other factors. Sometimes it seems like there are so many obstacles to reconnection. But it is important to know who you are, who your ancestors are and what your culture is.
It is important, and I encourage you, to explore your identity while at the same time are aware of the space you are taking. The fact that you are thinking about this is great. There are many ways you can do this and there is no correct way of starting. You can read about your culture, meet people in your community and Nation, listening to stories, engaging in art and music, and engaging in cultural practices with the guidance of elders/community members.
The Métis is a beautiful and thriving culture, but have a complex political history, here is a good article called Becoming Indigenous: The rise of Eastern Métis in Canada that might be able to answer some of your questions. Also, here is link to the Metis Nation Citizenship site which has information about the different Nations.