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For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry

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I just learned my great great  great grandpa was 1/64th Cherokee - I was hoping I could call some of you cuz or bro.

I'd suggest just be yourself. I remember dad used to tell folks if they'd ask him if he was an Indian. He'd say, "Oh, I have a little Indian blood, not much, tho." And he had brown skin and eyes, and black hair.

So many PODIA say "I am half-Cherokee" yet you look at them and they obviously are at least 7/8ths White. They also say "one drop of Indian blood is precious" which makes people think you don't respect the rest of your blood-ancestry. Aren't you proud of all your ancestors? Both of these things just sound silly to anyone.

When talkin' to Indian folks, just be yourself. Don't try to be "spiritual". Don't talk about your "spirit guide" or your abilities as a "shape-changer". Talk about the weather, your job, your family, or what ever . . . talk about things you'd talk about to anyone who is NOT Indian. Best of all, TELL CORNY JOKES! And if the time comes to say anything about your own heritage after a few conversations spanning months, don't jump up and say "I am Cherokee!" If the opportunity comes up, say "Oh, I have heard we have a little Indian blood, not much tho. I've heard we are Cherokee, but I don't really know . . ." -- or something like that. Humility will get you further than boasting does. But then let it go . . . go back to talking about the weather and telling corny jokes. Maybe a time will come to talk about your heritage again, in another month or 2.


Defend the Sacred:
Some thoughts about how to avoid getting abused or exploited:

I hope PODIAs, or anyone with a new connection to a Native community or individual, will really take to heart the words in the above posts. If someone who claims to be a spiritual leader is suddenly trusting you, an outsider, a stranger, with ceremonial details and asking you to participate in things you've always heard outsiders are not welcome to, something is wrong. It doesn't mean you're special, it means there's something really wrong going on with them and you may well be in danger. You need to check out everything someone says. The more exceptional it sounds, the more skeptical you need to be. Don't trust Google; don't trust what other outsiders to that person's Nation have to say about them. You need to talk to others in that person's Nation and home community.

If the person is legitimate, they will take a good long time to get to know you before trusting you with anything, if they ever choose to trust you at all. Trust has to be earned. And if they are an honest person, they will not be worried or offended that you need to ask questions, or that you want to take your time and talk to others in their community as well. If the person claims to be a spiritual leader but is no longer living on their reservation, even if they seem to have a good reason, even when people on the Internet like them, it's still a warning sign and you need to check it out.

This thread is on how to contact tribes: IMHO we should pin the thread, and update it with websites as most Nations have them now.

Women in particular, if a man who is an alleged traditional spiritual leader contacts you on his own, outside of the traditional structures and protocols of tribe and family, be very suspicious. Especially if this happens on the Internet. If he was so traditional, he would have women in his family talk to you first. And he would be open about what's going on. If someone asks you to keep their contact with you, or their relationship with you, a secret... run. Again, there's something wrong there.

The reason so many exploiters are successful with PODIAs and other outsiders is outsiders don't know who to ask. Especially if they are being flattered by the abuser and being told that the abuser has the real scoop, and knows the stuff that ordinary NDNs don't. That can be incredibly heady to someone who is searching for an identity and a sense of belonging... and abusers know that.

two shadows:
I read this thread the other day..and thought about it alot..I posted the following in another forum I participate in..and well..wanted to post it here..see what you all think..

An open letter to the Indian Nations
« Result #9 Yesterday at 2:55pm »   

(I dont know why I feel the need to post this..but I do..for a great weight is on my has to do with the conflict between NDN, PODIA, and white. I don't know if it is truly a letter..or a prayer..but here it is. for you my friends to and know my heart.)
The members of the NDN nations..the "registered" ones are fearful..worried about the new agers, the plastic shaman who are out for a dollar..and they are worried about the desire of PODIAs (persons of distant indian ancestry), afraid their intentions, their actions (even if well intentioned) will result in greater pain and loss by their nation. ...their people.

This I understand..but I am what drives me? I want to feel be part of something bigger than myself.. I am an American, born of the melting pot, blended from many, and suffer from that loss of clarity, the loss of traditons. I reject the American "Corporate-ocracy", I reject that profit is the prime motivator for a culture.

There are "registered" members of the Cherokee nation who have no more "blood" than I..but whose ancestors appear on the dawes roll.. so why are they cherokee and I am not? BECAUSE they were raised cherokee and I was not. They know the stories, the language, the traditions.

I feel that blood quanta, tribal rolls, reservations, all these things and more are creations of an oppressive white government. In the old times, membership in a tribe or clan was decided by the members..not by some rules in a white man's law book. Long before the white men came the native peoples commonly practiced adoption..incorporation into their tribes..even of former is because of the white men's laws and rules that much of the conflict now exists.

But that being said..I do not resent anyone's tribal membership..I want to take NOTHING from them..NOTHING. I dont want tax advantages or land, or scholarships ..nothing...EXCEPT...


So ..people of the indian nations..
I want you to know that I humbly pray for and respectfully ask
for these things from the NDN people:

Teach me your we can talk.
Tell me your I can understand you.
Teach me your I can teach my children.
Show me how you I can dance with you.
Show me how you sing.. so I can sing with you.
Tell me what you stand I can stand along side you.
Tell me what you I can help.
Show me how you speak to I can pray with you.

And then..only will call me brother. 

Two shadows, your post reminded me of this thread I was just reading earlier in the day. The thread started about what makes an indian an indian. The poster redhawk started just like you and later the comments got more agressive as to wanting and demanding knowledge. If you want answers ask your elders and do the most important thing a person new in these ways are shut it, listen, relax and don't drop a thousand questions. HUMILITY is key. Take a step back from everything and watch what everyone is doing and you'll catch on. Blood quantum is irrelavant. Know who you are and where you're from, learn your language, know your ceremonies and customs. Always remember these words.... It's not about me ,it's about the people.
I'm basically summing up what everyone said but listen to them really and do what you can to serve the people.
my 2 cents


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