We are natives of Turtle Island. Sometimes called Indians, or red man, American Indians, Native Americans, and so on. It is estimated that 2/3rds of those with native heritage of this land live off of reservations or outside of tribal membership. Black Elk of the Oglala Lakota Sioux in the late 1800’s made the statement after being asked how little Indian blood does it take before you are no longer Indian. He tells us the answer…it takes only one drop to keep us native.
Where do we, historically called ‘half-breeds’, fit in? We might look European (as in my case) but we are really culturally and innately native. We function in the United States society, but we really don’t thrive in it. Sometimes those who are considered half-breeds look native but really functionally are European. I’ve known a few of those. But, I am going to venture to say that the majority of us with native heritage think native. Our perspectives are native. Innately, we just are.
Do you long to belong? Is talking really important to you? Do you treasure seasonal rhythm? Do you need time to think in the quiet of creation? Sometimes my son, Wesley and I say ‘It’s our ‘Indian.’ The other confirms, ‘Yeh, it’s our Indian.’ We understand ourselves better now.
For example, I hate mowing yard. But that’s not really the statement I’m making. I don’t mind hard work. Not at all. What my spirit is really saying is: I don’t WANT to cut the grass to look like an English estate lawn…I want it to look natural. But I realize now in my mind that the natural state would not look responsible to the neighboring Americans, so I cut the lawn like they would. It is a conscious choice now. Now all this is to say, what are we to do if we’re too native for the world around us and unable to be in a tribal community?
I guess that’s partly why we were motivated to see this internet location develop. There are so many of us unconnected natives that really do want to be native but there’s no where to be native; so, we shove our feelings back down deep and tell ourselves to be quiet. ‘I can’t help you be Indian, so you’ll just have to be quiet and let me be American with apple pie and ice cream. Occasionally we’ll go wilderness camping.’ So we sulkily drag our feet back to the road of civilization giving ourselves over to our ‘destiny’ like our forefathers had to do…
I came to a conclusion a few years ago, no more! No more am I going to cover up my nativeness. NO MORE! Sometimes I justified to others by saying things like: ‘Oh, I just love homesteading.’ Or, ‘I just find it fascinating to know the uses for common herbs. Maybe we’ll need the knowledge someday.’ I fully acknowledge to myself now that really what I wanted and do want is to live as close to the post Garden of Eden lifestyle our forefathers lived before our country was taken over. Simply said: I want to LIVE NATIVE!
So, why am I on the internet? I have lived very close to a pre-industrial lifestyle. I’ve used a wood cook stove for 37 years (I also used electric as well in certain times of the year.) At one point I hadn’t driven for 5 months. Recently, I turned off the internet for several months. Then I came to a conclusion. And the conclusion was this: I can take care of me and my family, but what about the 1000s of you-s who are native that need encouragement? I decided that’s a lot of my people to let fall along the path that could be thriving. My native brothers and sisters need my skills and encouragement. My circumstances have changed from a few years ago, but I am still seeking to live native right where I am. Your heart is agreeing, isn’t it? So here’s a new village we can live native in. You have a place to belong here. We have the tepee flap up for you and the fire is softly burning. You’re home now. You belong.
Utihelsisdi (Cherokee) Welcome.