Wednesday, November 24, 2010

...But One Thread

I do not know the true history behind the Native American Ten Commandments. And I am fully aware of the romanticizing of Indigenous people ("Yeah, I'm part Black, part Indian, part Irish." "Ooooh girl, you got nice cheekbones; you must got Indian in yo' fam'ly." "Her hair grows like that because she's part Indian.").

Though many in these varied nations identify as American Indian, I do not. It is, to me, an acceptance of the mythology. None of the nations or tribes were called Indian, why would I? My people are Lumbee. I will use Native American. I will use Indigenous. But never Indian - unless I'm talking about Indians from Asia.

I'm thankful for being in CA to share the Indigenous Sunrise ceremony with my mom on Alcatraz. It is a day of fasting for me, expressing gratitude for the many many people who gave their lives to ensure that my native culture is preserved. I am thankful for Leonard Peltier and his patience as a political prisoner. I am thankful to Vicki Blackgoat (my dorm director at Northfield Mount Hermon) for helping me to understand Lumbee's relationship to the US Govt and to the enslaved Africans along the Lumbee River in North Carolina. I am also grateful to her for taking me to my first Pow Wow.

I am thankful for the gracious, loving spirit inherent in my indigenous heritage.

(Photo of Mom and I on ferry to Alcatraz, 11/24/10)