Author Topic: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry  (Read 33847 times)

Offline educatedindian

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For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« on: February 09, 2007, 03:55:03 pm »
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.

Offline debbieredbear

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2007, 05:16:00 pm »
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.

Offline Mo

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2007, 08:38:30 pm »
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.

Offline NanticokePiney

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 02:54:38 am »
 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.

Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 03:59:28 pm »
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.

Offline Kevin

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 05:52:42 pm »
I just learned my great great  great grandpa was 1/64th Cherokee - I was hoping I could call some of you cuz or bro.

Offline VHawkins

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 09:48:11 pm »
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.

vh


Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 11:19:31 pm »
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: http://newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1038 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.

Offline two shadows

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 11:24:07 pm »
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 heart..it 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 see..read 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 podia..so what drives me? I want to feel complete..to 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 enemies..it 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...


Knowledge.

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

And then..only then..someday..you will call me brother. 

Offline that_dakota_kid

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2009, 01:29:52 am »
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

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2009, 04:00:37 am »
In the old times, membership in a tribe or clan was decided by the members...

That is the way it still is.

I believe this is the thread Dakota is referring to: http://newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1871.0

Shadows, you may want to look that thread over, and read some of the responses NDN people gave to these same questions.


OK, Shadows, I know this is not what you want to hear, and I'm not sure that I'm really the appropriate person to be saying it, but I think this needs a response (emphasis added) :

I want to take NOTHING from them..NOTHING. I dont want tax advantages or land, or scholarships ..nothing...EXCEPT...

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

I actually find that rather shocking. Do you realize you just said that culture and religion is "nothing"? It may not have been your conscious intention, but you just said culture is "nothing" compared to material benefits.

Do you realize you just asked that you be given all the things that people hold most precious and are reluctant to share with outsiders? That you come off as demanding you be included in cultural and religious things, and you seem to be assuming you'd be welcomed? I'm not trying to be mean here, but this is exactly the sense of entitlement that people here have been warning about.

I'm not saying this to anger or hurt you, but I think you really need to think about what you just said here.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 01:22:06 am by Kathryn »

Offline two shadows

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2009, 08:37:15 pm »
In the old times, membership in a tribe or clan was decided by the members...

 
OK, Shadows, I know this is not what you want to hear, and I'm not sure that I'm really the appropriate person to be saying it, but I think this needs a response (emphasis added) :

I want to take NOTHING from them..NOTHING. I dont want tax advantages or land, or scholarships ..nothing...EXCEPT...

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

I actually find that rather shocking. Do you realize you just said that culture and religion is "nothing"? It may not have been your conscious intention, but you just said culture is "nothing" compared to material benefits.

Do you realize you just asked that you be given all the things that people hold most precious and are reluctant to share with outsiders? That you come off as demanding you be included in cultural and religious things, and you seem to be assuming you'd be welcomed? I'm not trying to be mean here, but this is exactly the sense of entitlement that people here have been warning about.

I'm not saying this to anger or hurt you, but I think you really need to think about what you just said here.


Kathryn
I am not angry nor hurt..  and I do not think you are trying to be mean at all.
I did not wish to be seen as demanding anything..quite the opposite..
I think you accidentally omited this bit between the word knowledge
and the list

"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:"


I really want to say I do not feel "entitled" to any of those things
I listed. But I will admit that I pray for the opportunity that I
keep my eyes and ears open for such opportunities.
 
At least some Podia (myself included)..feel rejected and unwanted by some tribal organizations
(although I have never been regected on a personal basis by any NDN individual)
and the plastic shamen dont make things any better.. those ...people...
prey on the podia for either financial gain or just because they want a sense of power or importance.

There is great potential for frustration and great opportunity for the frauds to step in
and take advantage of the podia because of it.

I really dont want to seem as if I feel any entitlement..because I do not..
have I explained myself? I suspect that I am still not being clear.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 01:22:56 am by Kathryn »

Offline earthw7

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2009, 03:52:22 am »
What happen if the answer is NO!

Will you respect that NO

Will you back off if it was NO!
In Spirit

Offline Isa1961

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2009, 11:01:43 pm »
I would just like to thank everyone who created this website, and who posts to it.
What is in my heart, and how I proceed outwardly with other people ARE two different things, and reading many of these posts, especially the newcomer info and the PODIA info, has helped me clarify a lot.

I really, really appreciate it.

Wado,

nv-wa-do-hi-ya-dv   (nuh-wah-doh-hee-yah-duh)
Isabel

Offline BlackWolf

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Re: For Those Who Recently Discovered Indian Ancestry
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2009, 01:09:00 am »
Quote
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.

Two shadows, They are Cherokees because their ancestors Walked the Trail of Tears and their people stuck with the Cherokee Nation through thick and thin.  We do pay the price for our ancestors decisions.  (It happens all the time.)  With that said.  Not all of them were raised Cherokees, and some don’t even know the stories, language or traditions.  But they are “Cherokees by blood” nevertheless and Cherokee Citizens. 

Being Cherokee is not totally a racial thing.  If your mostly racially white with a little Cherokee blood, then you would be just that racially.  But you would still be Cherokee by blood, because skin color or eye color was never a real big issue with the Cherokees. People were people.  It was all about the clan system. The case of Chief John Ross who was 1/8 Cherokee by blood and had blue eyes makes my point.  I don’t think he walked around showing whites his high cheekbones either.  He knew who he was and had nothing to prove.   

There are tribal members with a little blood, but politically Cherokees.  Some of them do know about Cherokee culture, history, spirituality, etc.  And some don’t.  The real mixed blood enrolled Cherokees that don’t’ know about Cherokee ways, don’t pretend like they do, and if they do want to learn something, they know enough about being Cherokee to know that you don’t demand things like you just did.  I think thats what separates the legit mixed bloods from the rest.  I know I can tell the difference after about a 30 second conversation with them.  In other words they know how to carry themselves. 

There are Cherokee communities in Oklahoma and NC where people were born there, raised there and will die there.  You can’t just take culture, spirituality, and traditions like its some kind of a commodity.  Because thats really offensive. 

Advice.  Be yourself.  Is learning how to stomp dance really going to change who you are?  I don’t think so.  If your searching for something, then maybe your looking in all the wrong places.  If it was meant for you to learn Cherokee Spirituality, and Traditions then it will happen.  If its not, then it won’t happen.  Don’t push it. 

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

And then..only then..someday..you will call me brother.


Earthw7 said it well.  You don’t have an inherent right to anything regarding Cherokee Spirituality, culture and Traditions.  Why do you feel you have to be legitimized by Cherokees or Indians??  If you know who you are, then that should be all that matters.  If you want basic info, you can go to cherokee.org


 
Quote
I feel that blood quanta, tribal rolls, reservations, all these things and more are creations of an oppressive white government.

Cherokees and Indian Nations decide who their citizens are.  Not the US government or anyone else.  The BIA  recognizes the soverignty Indian Nations always had.