How do I get in touch with my rez?

Hi Auntie, how do i get in touch with my rez? i live in maryland and if ur from here anyone can see there are barely any natives. i feel alone, my ancestors said they were black so they wouldn’t be culturally persecuted back then, but now the truth is coming out. i want to go see what I have been missing…how? Thanks, Searching

Dear Searching,

Thank you for the question. I find your journey incredibly brave, exciting, and a little unnerving.

I’m so happy to be a part of your journey so far. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to better understand themselves and where they came from (myself included) and I think it will be one of the most important journeys you will take. It’s important to know where you came from. Use this knowledge to help shape your future.

So, now where to start?

Are your grandparents, parents, aunties/uncles, cousins, other tribal members around? This might be a good place to start. You could say something like, “I’ve been thinking about where we come from and I want to find out more. Can you tell me anything? Do you have any stories or know of someone who does?” You might get something, you might not. It may be just a matter of finding the right person. So don’t give up, just keep the conversation going. Another place to look is the internet. Just type your tribes name into google and start from there. Wikipedia sometimes gets a bad rap, but I’ve found it to be useful. Just look at it with a critical mind and check your facts by comparing them to other sources. In your search, use your tribes name with key words like: tribal clinic, museums, history, community, events, visitor center, Indian/ Mission School, and Indian Health Service. Most times you can find numbers to tribal clinics, or people hosting tribal events. Give them a call and let them know what you’re doing. Just like talking with people in person, when calling people on the phone, they can sometimes be helpful; sometimes you need to just keep calling till you find the right person.

You said you want to see what you’ve been missing… we’ll it looks like you’re off to a good start to understanding this answer. Maybe as you start to gather more information, you can start to plan a road trip to your, or other people’s rez’ or tribal events. Get in the mix. Let us know how it goes and if you discover some tips I didn’t mention, pass it on, as there will be others with the same questions as you.

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