fancy dancer

All throughout the world, there are many people who feel disconnected from their own culture or even themselves. This usually happens when they have no one to talk to about the culture, or even about their own past. I’ve always struggled with finding who I was and where I belonged in this world. Growing up much of what I learned about my culture was from teachers, and then, later on, from books. My family never really taught me anything about our past or much of our culture, that was left for me to find and even understand on my own

On the reservation, a lot of your family’s past is usually told to you by your elders and parents. I never got told my family’s history, the one with that information was already dead, and the next available option was to ask my extended family, but again I didn’t have contact. This made it extremely hard to try to fit in or even understand where I came from. As a child, I was switched from Arlee elementary to different schools that wernt on the reservation, which caused many things to become confusing, this happened all because that’s what my mother thought was best for me at the time. This made it hard for me to figure out what was “missing” from me.

As a child,
trying to understand that
and find where I fit in was
something of a challenge.

All over the USA 22%  of the native population lives off the reservations, and being part of that percentage has really presented me with challenges. Never really belonged on the reservations, but never really belonging off of them either just made it hard and confusing. It also doesn’t help when you don’t have a lot of blood family to talk to, or even spend time with. The blood family I do have is very small and the rest I wish to have been too busy for me. The hardest part was trying to make connections with other natives; the hardest part was trying to understand the way they were raised, as opposed to me. 

Many native families raise their children differently than I was. It’s not saying it’s bad, just confusing sometimes. As a child, trying to understand that and find where I fit in was something of a challenge. For much of my life I’ve been bullied for different things; the part that got me was for being different. Even as a child when this happened it usually revolved around how I looked or even how I was, I didn’t fit into the standards other natives expected from me. Since I wasn’t really connected with that part of myself or acted like how others thought, I became the target no matter where I went. 

As I got into high school, I started to really connect with more of my family and even found some family in my school, but, just like everything else, it’d disappear. The hardest part about all of this was knowing that I never got the answer I wanted and had to learn to deal with it. As time passed I learned to slowly accept that I’ll never be truly connected with my culture or past.