Hi, Auntie. As an undocumented Native (Cherokee/Osage/Senca) married to Choctaw Native, what clothing is acceptable to wear? My daughters wear Choctaw diamonds and ribbon skirts.

Hi there and thanks for writing in!

There are all types of identities: personal, group, cultural, racial, ethnic identity… and the list goes on.

The really great thing about identity, is that ultimately you get to decide how you want to see yourself. If you have a strong connection to Native traditions, integrate that into your belief system. Just because you may, or may not be a certain percentage or are undocumented (which is a colonial mindset brought on by blood quantum laws), doesn’t mean that you have to change what you believe in. For example, I love to travel and learn about different ways of life and belief systems. I don’t have to be from a certain culture to appreciate and integrate what I’ve learned into my life. There are so many connections you can make from different cultures around the world!

Ribbon skirts are about women being empowered and remembering our sacredness, Tala Tootoosis shares that “It’s teaching them [women] to be empowered and that they already are resilient. Women already have power. A woman is protection because she is a woman. And when you have that understanding you learn boundaries.”

Ribbon skirts have become a universal symbol of resistance, land, and water protection and a symbol of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

By having your daughters wear Choctaw diamonds and ribbon skirts, you are honoring yourself and your people.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

Take care,

Auntie Manda

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