ASK YOUR RELATIVE QUESTIONS

Tags: History, Identity, Identity and Native Pride, Language, My Culture, Sacred Elements, Sovereignty, Traditional Stories and Teachings, Traditions, Uncle Answers

Hi! I have some First Nations ancestry – I’m not sure how much, but it’s farther back than my grandmother. I would like to know this: Is there some sort of tattoo or something that I could get to honor my ancestors without being culturally insensitive?

I am always glad to hear when people want to explore their Indigenous identity and heritage. Indigenous cultures are diverse and beautiful. But this exploration should be conducted with respect to our ancestors, past, present and future. To begin, it is important to understand who Indigenous peoples are. Across North America, Indigenous peoples refer to themselves using different terms. In…

How do you celebrate July 4th?

Hi there! This is a good question! I first want to say that it’s okay to celebrate any US holiday however you choose to. It’s also okay if you want to boycott or redefine the holiday by reflecting on how the holiday might look through an Indigenous lens. For example, if you would rather spend holidays like Thanksgiving, Columbus Day,…

Hi Auntie, my grandma’s family is Choctaw and honoring ancestors is important to us. I want to wear their regalia to keep the traditions of my family alive. However, I was told because I’m White and too removed, that I can’t. What are your thoughts?

Hi Relative, It is so wonderful that you want to honor your ancestors through your regalia and traditions! This is so important. I’m sorry that people have said some things to discourage you from participating in these important cultural traditions. The great and challenging thing is, that you’re the only one you need to get permission from. People will have…

I just found out both Great grandmother’s were Native. Since I am crossed with 2 tribes which roll number should I turn into BIA?

Hi there! Great! What an amazing gift that your family had some information on what tribes you’re from. Keep asking questions, especially from the elders and I’m sure you’ll find some helpful information. It is super common for people to be from multiple tribes, so you are in good company😊 Generally, the BIA is not involved in tribal enrollment, that’s…

Hello! I work for a company that has a project they have titled "Thunderbird." We are not at all a Native-owned or operated company. I am worried that this is culturally appropriative. Is it?

Hey there, Thank you for asking this question and being mindful about how your company may be appropriating Indigenous culture. The thunderbird is significant to many different tribes across North America. It plays an important role in our diverse histories, artworks, and spiritualities. When I talk to others about this, I often say that a good indicator that cultural appropriation…

I just did my ancestry dna and found out I’m 44% Native American. I was adopted into a family at the age of four. I was always told I was native but I never had proof until last year. How do I see if I qualify for funds?

Hey there, Thank you for your question. I am always glad to hear when someone wants to connect to their culture. The issues around DNA testing are complicated and controversial. The short answer is that there is no DNA test to prove ties to a specific tribe. First off what do people mean by DNA testing? According to the National…

Hi Auntie, I’m drawn to Navajo style rugs and blankets. I love the symbolism like the diamond, which I understand may represent the four corners of the Dinetah. Is it okay to purchase a design like this from a non-tribesperson?

Hey there, By asking this question I can see that you have some concerns. Listen to your gut…and let’s talk it through. In general, I recommend that people buy Native art from Native artists. There are so many talented Indigenous artists out there to support! Native art done by non-Native artists without respect to the practice and history of the…

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…
Menu