Hello. My name is Rosi. My mom is not Native, but she’s Romanian and has dark hair, hazel eyes, and tan skin. So has her mom and grandmother. My father is Native (Oglala Lakota). I am very, very pasty white, with green eyes, and redish/blonde/light brown hair. I am very involved in my culture, but I still get those natives that treat me like some wannabe wasicu. It is not my fault that I am so white, and I cannot change my skin color, although many times I wish I could. How can I try to make them see that I am just as Native as they are??

Dear Rosalia,

You’re not alone in feeling this way. I have people write to me all the time about not feeling “Native enough”. Being half-Zuni, I have felt this myself.

What I can tell you, is that you are enough…of everything.

Many people of different backgrounds share this experience. However, it’s particularly difficult for American Indians and Alaska Native people. This is due to the strong work of colonization, which was to impose the dominant groups religion, economics, and medicinal practices on us. We were forced to leave our lands, our culture and traditions and this translates into Historical Trauma. On top of this, during adolescence you are learning about who you are. It’s natural to ask yourself these questions. You are not alone in this.

Please be kind to yourself through this time when you’re still trying to figure it all out.

Embrace Who You Are 

As you begin to know yourself better and have more confidence in the person you are and want to become, know that wherever you are, is where you’re meant to be. Walk this journey with patience and kindness for yourself.

Ultimately the decision of how you see yourself is yours. I hope you find peace knowing you’re just the right flavor.

I wish you the best of luck on this journey. There will be ups and downs, but that’s all part of the ride. Walk in beauty.

Take care,

Auntie Manda

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