Thanks for writing in!
There are all types of identity: 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 Native, 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’s nothing wrong with looking into what tribe you may be from. In your research, you may discover what tribe you’re dad may or may not be, either way, it’s okay.
Gaining knowledge and experience of other people’s cultures and lifestyles is incredibly important for us as individuals and as a society. It’s important because it teaches us how to better relate, understand, and empathize with people we share this world with.
Here’s how to Learn More:
- Talk to Your Family – Try to get some specifics on where your family is from and which family member might be Native.
- Do Your Research – You can start by doing an Internet search. The more information your family can give you, the better. If you have a family name, get in touch with the enrollment department of that tribe and go from there.
- Not Native? You Can Still Join the Party! – By becoming an ally. You can check to see if your school has a Native American Advisory Club, upcoming tribal or pow-wow events, or Native youth group. It’s best to come with respect as an observer, feel the scene out, then take your cue from there.
- Talk to your Native friends – And see how you can get involved.
Hope this helps and best of luck!