My name is Ramone Romero. I was born and raised in Maryland near Washington D.C., of mixed Mexican and European ancestry. But I didn't know I was half-Mexican until I was in my mid-20s, and I didn't know that within my ancestries I had Aztec and Cherokee heritage as well.
Before my teenage years I had heard rumors of having Native ancestry and as a result went through a short time of fascination with Native American culture. Though young, naive and disconnected from living Native Americans and their cultures today, I tried to learn as much as I could. But ultimately because of the disconnection from the people and because of the inability to learn more about my ancestry, I gave up my interest and pursuit. I thought whatever I might have didn't count and couldn't matter. I resigned myself to being a "mutt" without any roots or culture besides the nebulous "just being American."
Many years later I went to college in southern California, and from there I decided to take off a year to be a missionary in Japan. There I met the woman who would become my wife, and since 2002 we have been living in Osaka with our two children.
While abroad I read a book by the late Dr. Richard Twiss, a Lakota pastor and leader. But I never made contact with a Native community. In late 2012, however, I became moved to personally bridge the gap, and set out to connect with Native brothers and sisters. After a few months of getting to know a few wonderful people via email and Facebook, sadly Richard Twiss had a massive heart attack. He walked on, and though I had never conversed with him, I cared about him and wanted to see his memorial service as it was broadcast live online.
It was then that the Holy Spirit of our Creator—God—overcame me and told me that the Native heritage in my ancestry was not insignificant. It mattered to Him, and He touched my heart more powerfully than I could understand through it.
My journey began as a journey of reconciliation, a journey of getting to know the host peoples of the land where I was born and raised. But it suddenly also became a personal journey into knowing and reconnecting with my own heritage.
I want to know the people of my ancestors today. I want to honor them, respect them, understand them, and more I can't fully say. My ancestors somehow became separated from them, and my heart cries out to reunite with them. My prayer is that I can find a way to serve them and be a blessing to them at some point.
I'm not seeking recognition or any "membership" (I know I wouldn't qualify anyway). Instead I'm longing to know my people— I'm longing for relationship with them, and to simply love and honor them. (Read more here: "Do You Have Native Heritage?")
This blog started as a place I could write out and process what I was feeling and going through. I didn't share it with many people (just a few trusted friends, elders and mentors), because I was very honest (you could say naked!) with my feelings along this journey. I was impressed to leave it public, however, accessible by internet search engines. And after I began sharing it with friends, I saw various things I had written resonate with and mirror the feelings of others, and some fellowship has begun between us as we share our journeys together. (Just the other day I skyped with an uncle and mentioned my awakening, and he looked over at his wife and said, "We've seen this happening for what, 20 years now?")
This is my personal story, but parts of it may resonate with others. I pray that it will help those who are feeling similar things. I pray that it will be a blessing to Native peoples and communities. I began on a journey of reconciliation with a desire to honor them, and although I discovered I have heritage among some of them, my desire to honor them has not been and will not be changed. I grew up in the Caucasian majority, feeling "white", and so this is a journey of learning for me. A wonderful, blessed, and endless journey of learning; and I am like a child on it.
ᏩᏙ, and thank you for listening.
Bless you in the love of ᏲᏩ, the Creator-Redeemer,
May 13, 2014
A Note or Two About This Site
I recommend reading the posts in the order they were written— see the "Chapters" page for that order.
Also, you may notice that the heritage which pulls at my heart the most is my Tsalagi (Cherokee) heritage. I don't know all of the exact reasons for this. But I have noticed it with others— for example, one friend is of Ojibwe & Yaqui descent, but seems to relate closer to the Ojibwe; another friend is of Yakama & Blackfoot descent, but feels closer to the Yakama ancestry and is devoted to serving them. I have European ancestry (English, German, Finnish, Scottish, etc.), and I am also half-Mexican, in which I believe there is some Aztec heritage. But the ancestry my heart and spirit are drawn to the most, beyond my ability to explain, is Tsalagi— Cherokee. (I suspect that in addition to blessing me immensely, Creator has up His sleeve more than a thing or two in how He works all this out...)