Saturday, August 23, 2014
Earlier this month I took this blog out of public view, setting it to "private" so just a few friends could see it, by my invitation only.
I had gotten scared.
Two things happened. One, I painted a picture that went a little viral, which was a good thing because it was done to raise prayer for people who are going through a very, very terrible time. Because I did that, some friends of friends were Googling my name and looking at my art page.
But shortly after that, like the same day maybe, a non-Native friend who has done research on Cherokee history was given a very hard time (attacked, really) by some Cherokees on Facebook. I read through the conversation and it was just intolerant and judgmental. It shocked me. The people who were attacking my friend even seemed to have some standing in the Cherokee Nation. Another person came to my friend's defense, who has membership in the Eastern Cherokee Band, but they question that person's credibility and ancestry, too!
I know there is a lot of judgment in Indian Country sometimes about who has enough "blood quantum", who is official, federally-recognized, who is "legitimate" or a "real" Indian. But seeing what happened to my friend (who has done excellent research with the blessing of tribal officials) made me step back for a minute. Partially because the attackers were Cherokee, and well, Cherokees are famous for being super-"mixed" and I guess I had assumed there would be a bit more tolerance.
This is incredibly personal and vulnerable. I always knew that blog was a little risky to have public, which is why I've never linked to it publicly on Facebook or anywhere else. I've opened up my heart here. I hate to pretend or imagine myself to be anything I'm not. I was broadsided with this by the Spirit, the Creator, and struggled with what He awoke in me. I wrote an "about" page partially because I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea...
And at the same time, I realize that the whole notion of what I'm experiencing and receiving is going to be offensive to some.
Yeah, I've been afraid.
I don't like arguing with people. I don't like being accused. I long to know the people of my ancestors. I know so little. I want to know about their culture, their stories, their ways, their homeland, and I want to know *them* themselves. I grew up feeling rejection from some people very close to me, and I've lived in fear of being rejected by others for a very long time.
I'm re-opening the blog to the public. Still not advertising (and never will, I think!), but re-opening nonetheless.
Because after a few weeks of time away (mostly occupied by other things), I took a look at the blog tonight and I saw beauty.
I saw what Creator has brought in my life, in my heart, and from loving friends, uncles, teachers and elders who have given me so much guidance, acceptance and love. I saw what He gave me through their encouragement, what He gave me in art and word through His Spirit and through redeeming something in my heart I didn't even know was there.
Maybe it's just "one drop" in me, in my blood.
But He is powerful. His Spirit knows no limits. And His blood, one drop of His blood was enough to redeem me and all of humankind, and enough to bring about the promise to renew & re-create the Creation, setting it eternally free from its bondage to decay and death. Just one drop of the blood of ᏥᏌ.
I will take courage.
The painting at the top is called "Hold On" and is something He gave to me when I was doing some genealogy searching and hitting a wall. I was discouraged, and Uncle Warren gave me some encouragement that helped me:
"It is a daunting task...it is one of agony and ecstasy...just listen to the Creator and your own heart."
Once again I could hear the Creator telling me to hold onto what He had given me, to how He had made me, and to continue on in the journey of learning (and in time, researching).
Keep walking the path.