I recently found out I’m 1/8th Indigenous on my mom’s side and want to learn more about my tribe. When I ask my mom, she says I’m not enough blood quantum and should learn about ALL indigenous cultures rather than our specific tribe (which she won’t tell me) if I’m interested. Even when I ask for other family’s contact info, it’s a toss up on whether or not they’ll even acknowledge me because I’m trans. What do I do?

Greetings! First off, congratulations on reaching such clarity in your gender identity. It can take people years, well into adulthood, to understand our genders given how little gender diversity we tend to be taught about at a young age.

While I know that some people in our society may never be good at recognizing and respecting others, I have decided that any extra energy that I spend will be spent cultivating relationships with people who see me as I truly am.

The same can be said for our Indigeneity. Those who believe that our supposed “degree of Indian blood” should determine how worthy we are of accessing our own history, our people, or our traditions will always exist. So, too, will be those who will be overjoyed to teach you what they know.

When someone responds to any of my identities by implying that I am not enough, I pray for them and remind myself that I am valid. That I deserve to be here precisely because I am the manifestation of thousands of years of prayers by my people who wanted us to survive. That mindset helped me to hold compassion for the humanity of others, regardless of their actions, but to hold that compassion alongside a love for myself and a knowing that I am enough. That I am worthy.

We can never predict when, but when we continue to set the intention to have teachers who share our identities, tribal, gender, and beyond, they usually come when we least expect it.

Hang in there. We are proud of you!

Your “Relative”, Itai

Topics: Identity|Intolerance|Life Tips|Non-Native Allies

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