On an earlier post I told the story of how I had felt when I was younger and had heard that I had some Native ancestry, but it was too far back and I couldn't find out enough to be absolutely certain. I was too far from Native culture to learn more, so I began to feel "not real", and after a period of interest, eventually
"I gave up trying to find my ancestors, and let go of identifying with Native Americans in any measure. If I did have some "Native blood" it was so far back that I thought it couldn't matter or couldn't "count" for anything."When I shared that story, Uncle Randy Woodley commented,
"It's never about what we have,It's taken me a little while to begin to understand what that means, and the wisdom if it.
but what we do with what we have."
As I'm reading more and more articles about people discovering ancestry, and as I'm hearing more and more encouragement and seeing the light of the wisdom of acceptance, brotherhood and community, I find that I'm accepting my own Native heritage and identity more and more.
The worries are dying down for now, and the voices of the anti-wannabe police and the "you-don't-count" crowd are becoming less persuasive. After a recent ICTMN article about Black Americans discovering their Native heritage, one person shot back in a comment at voices of criticism:
"It sucks that there was so much discrimination in this country that nobody can really trace their family without having 50 people trying to discredit them."It doesn't matter how much you have, but what you do with what you have.
What do I want to do? What am I longing for?
I don't want everyone to look at me as an Indian. I'm not seeking some kind of recognition. I want to know the people instead. I long to be with them... there's an ache for "home" inside.
I was surprised last night when I realized that I really want to learn the Cherokee language. That may seem like an obvious, but for me languages haven't come easily (may I say that Japanese is pretty difficult!). But there it was in my heart, bubbling up and coming out in tears as I realized it: I want to learn Cherokee.
You know why? One reason is that when I meet an elder, I want to greet them in their own language. I want to give that honor to them, even if I can't go much further in the language.
Maybe I don't have much "blood quantum" at all, but here is my heart. It's the heart the Creator gave me, that He awoke and brought home to a people long since sundered from.
I trust that He arranged things this way for a reason, and that in the end, I will thank Him even more than I thank Him now ahead of time.
"The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name."