General > Non-Frauds

For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry

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Got a request about this. This thread should include both advice and resources. How to keep PODIAs (People Of Distant Indian Ancestry) from falling for the frauds, what PODIAs should do instead, who they should go to. I realize much of this has been discussed before, but hopefully we can gather it in one place.

My advice is first, practice patience. For people who haven't grown up around the cultures, it can be frustrating to experience Indian Time for the first time. You need to learn there are good reasons communities and elders have for not telling new people everything they want to know right away, esp since they've been burned so many times before. Learn to appreciate the contrast between this and the fast-food no-waiting convenience-above-all mentality mainstream America has. It will take years for any NDN community to get to know and trust you, but it will be well worth it. In the meantime, why not think about doing something to earn that trust? Look for a way to help the people of your newly discovered heritage. It can as simple as being willing to listen and spend time with elders.

There are some other threads, particularly in this section Non Frauds, that are a good start. Ric has a thread about Metis, I started ones on contacting tribes, and the NAFPS Recommends thread has lots of good sources in general.

PAtience is a good thing. Also, learning to keep your mouth shut and ears open. You can't learn anything when you are spouting opinions. Women should befriend NDN women first. I have seen women come down and become friendly with the men and then get rejected by the women. I have told women friends that in some communities you can get yourself in a whole lotta trouble hanging with the guys. Once they know, you, it's different. Sometimes.;) Befriending elders is a good thing. When I met my husband's family, I befriended many elders. His tribe is small and tightly knit. I had never been on a rez to live before. I was an urban NDN. See, it's not just PODIA that have probelms, IMO> It is anyone coming from outside the community. Getting to know those elders was a plus. I would offer to get them coffee, desserts, whatever at community gatherings. I would visit. I have been with my husband for 26 years now and I am feeling accepted on his rez. Yeah, the people have a right to be suspicious of someone showing up wanting to know all the beliefs etc. All the knowledge. They have been burned. Just my opinion.

i'd also add this. just because you discovered you have a long lost ndn relative does not give you a "right" to demand to be taught anything. i have seen this attitude often and it does the exact opposite of what the person is hoping for. i guess this goes along with patience. you have to be a trusted member of the community before people will open up to you.

another thing is when someone who was not raised in the culture or identified as ndn most of their life talks about how oppressed they are and uses phrases like "our people" when talking to other ndns. most of the times it makes people laugh and shake their heads. its also very close to sounding like a stereotype.

 We had a guy who discovered his grandmother was Nanticoke and Moor and joined our tribe. He was a "online" ordained minister. In less than a year he was suddenly a spiritual adviser. He drove people so nuts everybody just ignored and shunned him. Now he hardly comes around and mopes around when he does. It is a shame because he's not a bad person.

Charlie Two Shirts:
If a person wants to learn anything they have to learn first how to serve. If you go to an event find out in what ways you can serve. Working along side someone can start good conversations.


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