Hi Auntie. I have a son by an indigenous man. His dad wants nothing to do with me. How do I go about teaching my son about his culture? How do I contact his family? Am I over stepping boundaries if I do so?
It’s understandable to want to give your son a better sense of identity. I commend you for taking steps to do this. You’re a good mom for wanting the best for your son.
If your son’s father does not want a relationship with you, he may have instructed his family to do the same. Think outside of the family for now, or at least know that this is not the only way for your son to connect to his heritage.
- Start with an Internet search – a lot of tribes have official tribal websites where you can at least find a phone number to their tribal office. Give it a call.
- Ask for youth events like; language classes, youth groups, community gatherings, in-school or after-school programs, elder lead groups, pow-wow/ dance groups, or anything else he could get involved in.
Once you start to make connections within the community and making an effort, things will open up. Especially if you come with good intentions, like wanting the best life for your son. Keep this as your focus.
As for his family, it’s difficult to tell what you might be meet with. Some families might welcome you with open arms despite your relationship with your son’s father. Others might need time to observe your actions and intentions.
If you’re taking steps to help your son embrace his culture and they see you at community events, this might create an opportunity for you to approach them about building a relationship. Sometimes it’s about feeling things out.
Contact his Family
If you feel confident enough to give them a call, do it. You could say something like, “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out with (son’s father) for the sake of my son. In the future, if they can have a relationship that would be great. For now, I want to make sure my son doesn’t miss out on learning about who he is and where he comes from. I would like for him to get to know this side of his family. Would you be open to that?”
Prepare yourself for the conversation going either way. Listen, be nonjudgmental about their reactions, and speak respectfully (no arguing). Keep it short and sweet. They may be ready, or they may need more time. But you won’t know unless you first have this conversation.
I hope this helps. You’ll be in my thoughts. Know your son is a part of the Native community and he has every right to take hold of it and embrace it; families support or not. Go brave mama!