Hi Auntie, my grandma’s family is Choctaw and honoring ancestors is important to us. I want to wear their regalia to keep the traditions of my family alive. However, I was told because I’m White and too removed, that I can’t. What are your thoughts?

Hi Relative,

It is so wonderful that you want to honor your ancestors through your regalia and traditions! This is so important.

I’m sorry that people have said some things to discourage you from participating in these important cultural traditions. The great and challenging thing is, that you’re the only one you need to get permission from.

People will have their own opinions about everything from your Indian taco toppings to your dance techniques. That doesn’t have anything to do with you. It has everything to do with the other person. That’s not your problem.

It’s not your job to change the way people see things. That’s their job. Your job is to be the best version of yourself possible. Period. If that includes fully accepting yourself as a light skinned Native, who wears regalia and practices your family traditions…then it’s your job to work to make that happen. The rest will fall into place.

You get to decide if you want to give yourself permission to live freely and authentically, as you were meant to be. I’ll be rooting for you to take that walk! Make sure to be kind to yourself along the way, taking steps forward, backward, and sideways is a part of the process.

Best of luck!

Auntie Manda

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