You know, I think I’ll be making a new set soon. I’ve got some free time coming up, maybe I’ll try it again…
Explanation: I’m half Odawa on my dad’s side. I spent my childhood going to powwows and dancing Traditional women’s in the regalia my mother made me (which was awesome, because she’s mostly Irish and not even a tiny bit Native). To me there is nothing better than a snow cone or a buffalo burger after a long stretch of dancing (I make it a point to get one every time I go these days), and dancing used to make me feel beautiful during a time when I got bullied a lot in school.
Since going to college, it’s kinda been hard to even connect to my Native side at all. Where I used to go to powwows maybe 2 or 3 times a month in middle school, I only go maybe once or twice a year now…
I’ve got a car, and a willingness to travel. If my friends want to come with me, all the better. It’s a part of me that I’ve been neglecting way too long, and you know it’s bad when simply reading the word snow cone in the context of a powwow makes you miss it even more.
Once I make the regalia, the only thing I have to do is actually learn how to French braid my own hair…(regular braids are fine, but the French braids look snazzy with regalia).
It it strange I keep finding things to get excited about? After reading about negative imagery and stereotypes associated with my heritage this morning, I’m not gonna lie - I was angry. Perhaps being angry now is even more of a big deal than when I was in middle school. Around that time, I used to be rather anti-white. In my mind, people just didn’t understand me. Chalk it up to maaaaybe being an angsty youngin’, but as I get older now I realize that some of my points back then were valid.
Not gonna lie, I don’t get mad very often. When I do get mad, though, it’s usually after someone touches an issue that’s dear to me. You’ll probably get the same degree of reaction between appropriating my childhood and slurring who I choose to love (although not for the same reasons). Always being the ‘awkward one out’ at mostly-white family reunions and getting asked if I ‘danced around fires’ as a child got me ready for a lifetime of anger.
I’m not angry too often, even though that’s the background I come from. It’s funny, though - when I do get angry, my (mostly white) friends tend to freak out. At this point, it’s trufax to say they just don’t get it. Other people may have the patience to sit there and tell a person what exactly is wrong with saying the word ‘squaw’ or wearing a ‘traditional Indian headdress’ (as if there’s one for all of us), but I know that sometimes I just run out of patience and have to point them to a book on the subject. Expressing my views gets me in trouble - posting great things like “Ways to Spot a Wannabe Indian” instantly garners reactions of anger on Facebook. I am stupid and I am bad for posting such an angry *shudder* Indian thing when I’ve been such a good half-breed all this time! Clearly I don’t understand what other people are going through, either!
Blah, blah, blah.
I may be “only half”, but I am still a woman of color. I identify as Native and bear the looks of surprise people give me when they hear about it for the first time. On top of that, I’m bisexual and could snap a Hollywood woman in half. Living, knowing only my family will ever immediately understand me when I come home angry - it’s frustrating. It’s hard. It’s also given me a level of empathy and understanding that I wouldn’t trade for all the white privilege in the world.
…whew. That was a rant and a half, wasn’t it? Through that, though, you get another glimpse into who I am: I am half-Native, and I’m very proud of it. You’ll get more about the Irish side in future posts, because (perhaps ironically enough) I’m also a part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Look it up; you’ll also hear plenty of it in the future.
Hey, thanks for reading, too. I’m sorry if I come off angry, but it’s just a part of who I am that I’m a little protective of.