ASK YOUR RELATIVE QUESTIONS

Tags: 10 - Mental Health, 2 - Identity, 3 - Intolerance, 5 - Spirituality, 6 - 2SLGBTQ, Family, LGBT - Two Spirit, Life Transitions, My Culture

Dear Auntie Manda, I have recently started to seriously try to reconnect with my Choctaw culture. My Great-great Grandpa, was an enrolled member of Choctaw Nation. He was orphaned as a child and enrolled in 1903, signing the Dawes Roll and moving to Oklahoma. For some reason, his children we not enrolled, which meant neither was my Nana or my father. My mom is full white and my dad is mixed, which makes me look very ambiguous to people because of my lighter skin and freckles. I’m afraid of overstepping by reconnecting since I’ve been socialized as a white person. I’ve started learning Choctaw and Tribal history, but I’m afraid to openly claim my heritage as a part of my identity for fear of backlash, not just from people who don’t know me, but from people that do. A few times, I’ve had friends and even family ask me, “Why is this so important to you? Why now?” I can’t put it into words, but I’ve always felt so lost and have had no cultural connection to anything growing up. I don’t want to feel disconnected anymore. Also, another thing that complicates my existence is the fact that I’m transgender. Perhaps, this is another reason why I feel lost. Not only do I want to feel like a whole woman, I want to feel like a whole person. Anyway, do you have any advice?

Hi there, Halito relative! Yakoke for writing in – I always get a lil extra excited when I see other Choctaws reach out 🙂 Let’s see where I can support you! I definitely want to acknowledge what youv’e written, because there’s so much there – goodness. I want to give my heart out to you because I am so sorry…

Culture is not a costume!

Hi there! I’m Auntie Jane and I’ve thought a lot about your question. Your friend thinks dressing up like a Native for Halloween is harmless. At the end of the night, she can take off that costume and get dressed in her normal clothes and for her, life goes on. Cultural appropriation actually causes harm though. Like, real people are…

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…

I’m a 19 year old Two-Spirit who identifies as male. For me to feel comfortable I cut my hair because growing up even on my Rez girls had long hair and unless you have “Native hair” boys have short hair. I want to grow my hair but I don’t want my tribes people to start calling me female names/pronouns. Any tips?

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. For me, I have found that the way people perceive my gender, and the genders of those around me, to be…

If I don’t speak Spanish, does that make me any less of a BIPOC?

Hey there! Thanks for writing in. We all come to the places we are currently standing for many different reasons. Part of this is due to the efforts we put forth individually, part due to the support of our inner and outer circles, and the other part is circumstantial; what has been imposed on us or is out of our…

Why are Native Americans offended by the use of school Mascots like “Indians” where it’s used as a symbol of pride, strength, good luck, and lifelong connection among alumni? No disrespect is, or was, ever intended. Some schools have had mascots like this for over 50 years and now there are efforts to destroy them and the memories and history they represent. Why?

Thanks for writing in! This is such a great and timely question. For me, it’s a matter of individual perspective. When we group people and say that all Native Americans are offended by mascots it is incorrect. When we see people as a group, it takes away from knowing that everyone has their own perspective based on their experiences and…
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