My baby is Native. I’m white & her father’s only 1/16 Chickasaw, looks white & has not been raised up in his culture at all. l want her to be connected to her heritage while being sensitive to people who are full Native.

Dear Anna,

You’re a good mom.

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

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

If you feel comfortable, reach out to your daughter’s dad’s extended family. Tribal communities have a very strong familial bond. It’s likely they have thought about reaching out or at least thought about their relative, but didn’t know how to. Let them know you are interested in connecting and learning more about your daughter’s heritage. If the family route doesn’t work, know that her tribe has other opportunities to connect.

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 them a call. Most tribes have someone who can answer some questions for you. Ask for family and 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 you and your daughter could get involved in.

Once you start to make connections within the community and make an effort, things will open up, especially when you come with good intentions and respect. Keep this as your focus.

Best of luck to you and your daughter. I think you are hearing her ancestors’ voices reaching out. Extend your hands and reach back.

Take care,

Auntie Manda


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