Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quill #89 - Native Ancestors

Like most Americans, we're mutts. Our family tree looks like a map of Western Europe, almost. One of my lines is Swedish and German, mainly. Another is Native American, Scottish, Irish and German. Peregrin adds more Native American to the mix, as well as English and French ancestors. Thanks to him, our kids have the blood of three tribal nations and more NA heritage than I do.

When I was growing up I wasn't told about my native lineage. We lived near a reservation where the Indians were shooting at cars that passed through their lands if the drivers weren't obviously residents. It was considered a bit shameful to be an Indian and my parents were afraid I would tell everyone. They were right. When they did finally tell me, around age twelve, I was so pleased and excited that I told all my classmates the next day.

I went to the library and checked out everything I could find on "my people." I knew the basic history of mainstream textbooks. I didn't know, then, of the ongoing abuses. This search for my roots turned into one of the most depressing tasks I've ever forced myself to do. In the mid-seventies, small town library, midwest, there were no positive or uplifting messages about natives. New age books were not available. Books on NA religions were scholarly works, very rare, and not available to a girl with no money. Much of my later research was done at the university I attended after high school.

For many years, based on the books I read, I believed that I wouldn't be welcomed by reservation natives. About the time Kyrie was born, that error was corrected. I was told that anyone could take classes on reservations now - or at least the one nearest me. But, by the time I learned this, I had changed. My life was already too busy to add more obligations and my beliefs were somewhat settled. I chose to wait for a quieter time that never came.

(Images from Lolcats, public domain images, and personal archives.)


  1. love the babushka cat. from what i know of my personal maternal lineage is irish-scottish-english-german-french and my paternal lineage is mostly swiss-german which led into the amish (as well as the non-religious) groups of the pennsylvania dutch. in other words...i'm a mutt too. ;)

  2. Thanks, Felina. I do have to say that you were fortunate in your acquired genes, gaining beauty AND brains from your conglomeration of ancestors.