ASK YOUR RELATIVE QUESTIONS

Tags: Ask Auntie, Auntie Answers, My Culture, Traditions

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…

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 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 there! I’m currently working on a project for university and I’d really appreciate your input. What is the correct symbol Native Americans used for the sun? Is there a website that contains the proper symbols and their meaning that you could add a link

Hi there! Thanks for writing in! In short, there is no symbol for the Sun that is accepted and used by all Native American Tribes. There are 574 federally recognized tribes with their own religions, languages, art, and customs. Every tribe has different associations with the universe and animals, what may mean one thing to me could be something completely…

I am believed to be a mix of Onondaga and Seneca but I can not prove my heritage because of documentation loss and dodging.My grandfather and parents have cut all ties with the Rez.I live all the way across country. How can I connect with my people?

Dear Relative, Identity and knowing who we are is one of the most important journeys we can walk. I encourage you to explore your identity. This is a great start. There are many ways you can do this, yet there is no right or wrong way for doing this. I am always glad to hear when people want to explore…

I had a vivid dream where I was told my native name. This young woman I’ve seen more than once, unsure if she is my ancestor or my spirit guide, announced or gave it to me. I’m proud of my name but am curious if it’s okay to use my native name publicly?

Hi Merrick! Dreams are such a fascinating story to tap into. I too have incredibly vivid and detailed dreams. Often, I can feel, smell, and make decisions within them. They used to scare me because some of them were pretty intense. If you have an elder to talk to, start that conversation. This is a great question to ask your…

I’m 39 yrs old, I want to join to dance.. never dance before

Dear Relative, Thank you for writing in! It’s so exciting that you want to start dancing and it’s never too late to start. You’ve got a long life of dancing ahead of you! Here are some things you can do to get started. Get in Shape! If you haven’t danced before, you’ll want to make sure you’re in tip-top shape.…

Hi! I have some First Nations ancestry- Im not sure how much, but it’s farther back than my grandmother-but I would like to know this: is there some sort of tattoo or something that I could get to honour 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…

I want to learn about the story of the spider catching the snake but I can’t verify or find it. Is this a real Ojibwe tale? I am trying to learn more about my Native American culture.

Hi there! And, thanks for writing in. There are many stories about spiders, like spider woman or grandmother spider. However, I’m not familiar with the spider catching the snake story. Perhaps because it is Ojibwe, which I’m not so familiar with. If it’s possible, try to reach out and start building connections and relationships with Ojibwe family or others, especially…
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