ASK YOUR RELATIVE QUESTIONS

Tags: 01 - Art, Culture, & Language, 02 - Identity, 03 - Intolerance, 11 - Activism

I manage a shop that rents costumes, and I found two costume headdresses in our rental inventory. I pulled them and finally convinced the powers that be that we cannot rent these. Is there a respectful way to destroy these headdresses?

Hey! Thanks for you support! First, know there is a team of people behind you who are working on this same issue. We’ve got your back and together we can make a difference! As strongly as I can say this, ‘There is no circumstance where dressing up like someone from another culture is okay.” Why is it not okay to…

How should I, as a white person, respectfully talk about native ancestry?

Well, Native ancestry is not a topic that is of exclusive right to Indigenous people. It is a fact. History. And should be shared. To get ready; clearly identify your message – do your homework by learning about History through a Native Lense. If you’re speaking publicly or teaching about the topic, it might be helpful to identify yourself as…

What is “weRnative.org” about?

Hi Hannah! Thanks for writing in! We R Native is a health resource for Native youth. We want to make sure you have factual information on the topics you’re interested in. We want to help you live your best life possible and hope that we can help. What causes panic attacks? For your question about panic attacks, they are a…

Is it appropriate to share Native People’s cultural accounts of the creation of stars?

Hi Skipper! Thanks for the question. Sharing is caring. And, caring is giving credit to the originators of any content. Every tribe has their own unique creation stories about how we got here, how the universe was created, as well as the relationship of plants and animals. This varies from tribe to tribe. If you’re saying ‘Native people’s’ star creation…

Some of my relatives and friends tell me using they/them pronouns is a fad. It doesn’t feel like a fad to me. What should I say?

Perhaps they feel this way because folks are using it more often…which is great! However, it is nothing new, nor will it go away. In fact the Oxford Dictionary traces singular “they” back to 1375. And we know very clearly that Two-Spirit and LGBTQ people were accepted and highly revered in our tribal communities long before colonization happened. Unfortunately, one…

Hi auntie, I was gifted a Native American headdress from my cousin who was adopted out of a Native American tribe. Is it ok for me to keep it?

By asking the question, it seems like you may have some reservations about having it being in your possession. Headdress’ are considered sacred items and have to be earned in order to be worn. We know that there has been great and damaging misrepresentation of the headdress by Hollywood and other media. This has fueled misunderstanding, as well as formed…

Hi Auntie. A family member recently went to Wyoming and took a picture of a sign named "Vision Quest Motel". My family is in an argument about whether the sign is racist or not. I don’t know what to think. Is it racist?

This is a great question and I appreciate you asking it. It shows that you respect and appreciate Native culture. Being from the Southwest (Zuni Pueblo, NM), I often saw Native designs displayed in various ways by Native and non-Native people. As we move forward as a society, we are starting conversations with great questions like the ones you’re asking.…

Your male friend tells you that he had an unwanted sexual experience when he was younger with someone he looked up to. He questions if it was sexual assault because he was sexually aroused during the interaction. what do you do?

Some possible options (depending on your comfort and his openness to further discussion) include: Offer encouragement for his willingness to consider a challenging question. Listen neutrally. Avoid defining what happened for him. Explore whether he feels there was a power imbalance in the relationship. Who has the power? Offer to help him find resources to learn more about unwanted and…
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