Dear Auntie, I wanted to ask do you think tribeless Native Americans have a right to claim native heritage. I’m half Mestizo Mexican making me 1/4 Native, but I don’t anything about what tribes my native ancestors came from. What are your opinions?
I think people have a right to identify with their culture however they chose to.
Our history as Indigenous people carries the dark cloud of what’s left over from colonization. By asking each other to ‘prove’ how Native we are, we’re doing exactly what the colonists wanted us to do and that doesn’t serve anyone well.
Not all Native people or tribes are tribally or federally recognized; giving the sense of being ‘tribeless’. I believe that all people who have a connection to their culture, land and traditions, have the right to identify in the ways they choose.
Reach out to your family, community, and tribe (most Tribal Nations have websites) to learn more about your culture. Certainly start from a place of respect and curiosity.
Good luck on your journey,