Lots to say on this topic! Its great hearing
from everyone--and getting your thoughts.
I went to see a Lakota medicine man
speak on Saturday, he is racially mixed.
I think he said he was Scotch and Lakota.
I listened to the medicine man speak,
and was respectful ... but was rather
offended by a remark he made.
The medicine man was talking about
how large some tribes are said,
"Anyone can be a Cherokee these days."
If that was true--then why don't we
have a United States of Cherokee?
And is it your business to judge someone else --
to make the decision as an outsider, someone
who has no idea what has happened in
each person's individual life, their ancestry?
My family is Cherokee--and I don't feel I have to
"prove" it. I feel a much larger responsibility to
teach my children of their heritage, and to teach
them to remember all that has been lost.
Family stories tell of a town in
Alabama called "Bear Creek" where my
grandmother, and her people came from.
That town does not exist anymore--it is gone.
The Cherokee were forced out of Alabama
into reservations or hiding, it was even
dangerous to speak the language.
Those who married into African-American
families and assimilated into their community
often led very difficult, impoverished lives.
They were once free and then became croppers
--called the "n" word and worse--forced to
give up the life they knew, and accept
less than what a pig would be given ...
To live in these kind of conditions takes a warrior spirit.
To pass on knowledge, even the little that
exists, is carrying on the fight--is raising a fist.
Now is the time to embrace
your heritage, whatever it is.
To reclaim your stories and pass
them on to the next generations.
Fight for your ancestors to be remembered
-- fight for your recognition.
I think it's time to send the message:
�We're not going away� ...
We are a free and strong people, who already
has been bestowed our heritage by the Creator.
We don't need you to give that to us.
We know who we are--and we
will live and die by our true identity.
We won't allow someone else to take from us, the basic
right of our existence ... to recreate our stories, our lives.
We will take up the fight, not against our brothers
and sisters but against the racism, bigotry, hatred and
intolerance that has diseased our people like a cancer.
This is an old battle, we all bear its scars.
Its a battle that can be won with understanding and
compassion--with acceptance of our diverse history
-- and with determination to fight like a warrior, to
carry on the legacy our ancestors left, to grit our teeth
and take the battle face to face with the ugliness and
hatred that has penetrated even those among us.
And to look that spirit of intolerance
in the eye and be able to say:
�I am Cherokee�.
Or I am (your nationality).
And then you live your truth, and keep our fight
going strong--as long as it takes to overcome.
We will not live in the struggle, we
live in the proud spirit of our ancestors.
We embrace each day as a way to honor our
unique heritage, our traditions, our journeys.
And even amid the struggle, we hold our head high--
knowing that our freedom has been won by warriors like
these, and if we continue to stand for who we are, and
stand united, much greater will be bestowed to us.