I am believed to be a mix of Onondaga and Seneca but I can not prove my heritage because of documentation loss and dodging.My grandfather and parents have cut all ties with the Rez.I live all the way across country. How can I connect with my people?

Dear Relative,

Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. I encourage you to explore your identity. This is a great start.

There are many ways you can do this, yet there is no right or wrong way for doing this.

I am always glad to hear when people want to explore their Native identity and heritage. Native American cultures are diverse and beautiful. But this exploration should be conducted with respect to our ancestors, past, present and future.

Keep asking questions of your family to see what else you can pull up, like names and location. This will be helpful in your next steps.

Next thing is to check with your tribes’ enrollment departments, as every tribe has different enrollment policies.

See what you can find on the Internet. You’ll likely stumble upon an official tribal website with a number for the enrollment department.

Check with your tribe for those specifics.

Generally, enrollment involves:

  • Fill out Application
  • Provide Birth certificate/ Social Security Card
  • Provide Proof of lineage or Blood quantum
  • Application fee

It will be helpful to ask for advice on your next steps. So, before calling gather as much information as possible.

Hope this helps! Best of luck!

Good luck on your journey.

Take care,

Auntie Manda


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Topics: Culture and Language|Identity|Mental Health|Non-Native Allies|Spirituality

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