I’m a white mom with an 18 year old son whose father is choctaw. My son was not raised by his father and hardly knows him. He feels sad and wants to connect with other indigenous kids but doesn’t feel that he has the right. How can I help him?
You’re a good mom.
Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. I encourage you to help your son explore his identity. This is a great start.
There are many ways you can do this together, yet there is no right or wrong way for doing this.
If you and your son feel comfortable, reach out to your son’s dad’s 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 relative, but didn’t know how to. Let them know your son is interested in connecting and learning more about his heritage. If the family route doesn’t work, know that his 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 son could get involved in. Encourage him to get involved.
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 and your son. I think you are hearing his ancestors voices reaching out. Extend your hands and reach back.