ASK YOUR RELATIVE QUESTIONS

Tags: Ask Auntie, Auntie Answers, History, Identity, Identity and Native Pride, Language, My Culture, Rez Life - Urban Life, Sovereignty, Traditions, Wellness and Healing

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…

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…

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…

Hi! I have a friend who has learned beadwork from an elder in our community. She has started selling her own work, and while it’s not all indigenous designs and symbols, she’s making a profit off of it all. She’s 100% white. Should I call her out?

Hi Emma! By asking this question I can see that you have some concerns. Listen to your gut…and let’s talk it through. From a design standpoint, Indigenous designs are the bomb. However, what is missing when non-Natives replicate traditional designs is that they are likely to not be taught in the proper ways like the meanings of the sacred elements…

Hello! I feel kind of embarrassed by some “full” natives saying things like “you’re not actually native if you’re half native” and things like that. My mother is native, my dad is white. What do I say or how should I feel when people say things like that?

Dear Angelique, You’re not alone in feeling this way. I have people write to me all the time about not feeling “Native enough”. Being half-Zuni, I have felt this myself. What I can tell you, is that you are enough… of everything. Many people of different backgrounds share this experience. However, it’s particularly difficult for American Indians and Alaska Native…

Is it ok to create the art work of another tribe? As a kid I was taught Haida art by a Haida artist and I would like to explore it more now. I am part Cree but did not grow up with the culture as my father was put into foster care during the 60’s scoop.

I’m glad you asked this question, Auntie and Uncle asked me as a Diné artist to respond to your question. Please continue to take these precautions and ask these questions, as an artist interested in another culture’s traditional art work. Good to hear that you have respect for other Native cultures, and as a Native artist there are several things…

Am I ‘allowed’ to follow beading tutorials on YouTube if I want to learn? I am too shy to talk to people on the Reserve. My grandmother is ‘half’ which makes me barely Native, so I struggle with identity as it is.

Yes! Absolutely. As Indigenous people, we have a very long and devastating history that has stolen so much of our culture, languages, and identity. But there’s no need for that anymore. With brave people like yourself, we can reclaim our heritage and live the lives that our ancestors gave so much of to keep alive. I’m proud of you for…
Menu