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…

I’ve heard there might be actual nature spirits portrayed in Pokémon. Is this true?

Hey there! Thanks for the question. I’m not exactly sure what ‘nature spirits’ are in this context but I’m certainly familiar with Pokémon. As Indigenous people, we believe that all things both inanimate and alive hold a lifeforce or energy, especially the land we occupy – in this way, I think I know what you mean by nature spirits. I’m…

Hi Auntie! I recently have been using crystals but am curious about Native American religion since I am Native American myself, I don’t want to betray any religion but I just want to know if I can believe in both!

Gunalchéesh, thank you for reaching out. You are not the only person who is finding balance in their traditional and personal spiritualities. You can believe in whatever you like! As indigenous people, we constantly walk in two worlds. With one eye we see the western and eastern ways, with the other our traditional ways. We learn western science and indigenous…

I’m an native elder (Pomo) my older grandchildren were given a Indian name and younger ones do not. I no longer know of spiritual person to do that. So would love to give my grandchildren a Indian name is it proper for me to have that privilege.

Hello! Thank you for writing in! There are several bands of Pomo Indians that are Federally-recognized Indian Nations, many who have Culture & Heritage departments or tribal programs to provide individual, specific guidance on tribal naming traditions and protocols. Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. My heart is full knowing…

I’m Navajo but was raised in the corn pollen way. We live in Southern California now because we’re in the military however I want our son to be involved with his Native roots. How do I find him a mentor to start being in powwows?

Yá’ateeh, hello, my name is Cousin Corey. I am Ask Auntie/Relatives Navajo cousin here to help with some questions. I’m glad your reaching out to us with this question. Living away from Native communities does get a little tough connecting to cultural practices of all sorts. Some things to think about to become any kind of dancer is to get…

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…

Hi Auntie! I recently have been using crystals but am curious about Native American religion since I am Native American myself, I don’t want to betray any religion, but I just want to know if I can believe in both!

Hey there! Thanks for writing in. Spiritual well-being is best defined by each person. Each person has a right to experiment and discover what makes most sense for them and their life goals. This ‘well-being’ will look different from person to person but does have similar themes which may include: Relaxation Taking time to commune with nature Reflecting deeply on…

My momma is really homophobic, and I asked her once what she would do if I came out to her. She said she would kick me out and disown me. My dad is pretty homophobic too, and I’m really scared of the finding out on accident that I’m bisexual. Can you help me think of a plan if they do find out?

Before we talk about a plan, I want to send you a big virtual hug. I’m so sorry about hearing how your parents might react. This is such inexcusable and incredibly hurtful behavior coming from people who are supposed to have your back. Just know there are a lot of others who accept you and love you for who you…
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