LAST REAL INDIANS

Could You Back Up? Your Identity Issues Are Getting All Over Me

By Twyla Baker-Demaray

I have a pretty good command of the English language.  I use ‘five dollar words’, as one of my brothers calls them, all the time.  I don’t do it to be obnoxious; I just like to be able to express myself clearly and succinctly (5 bucks right there).  I assume that this is what a particular person was referring to earlier this year, when I was told point blank that I ‘sound white’ when I speak.  It was an offhand comment, and I really don’t know what she meant by it when she was telling me this.  Should I pepper my speech with ‘ayyyye’ and ‘enit’?  Was I not credible in speaking on Native matters?  I really don’t know.  I’ve pondered it from time to time since then (‘pondering’ being only a $2.50 word, after all).  I really like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I try not to consider that what she really meant, is that when I speak, I sound ‘educated’.  If this is the case, which I sincerely hope it is not, then it would imply that if I sounded more ‘Native’, then I would sound ‘uneducated’.  This is an insult to pretty much every Native person everywhere, no matter what you sound like.  I can’t even think on it too long as I write this, because the idea makes my blood boil.

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Hostility In My Veins

By:  Dana Lone Hill

I was born with hostility in my veins;

Flowing like dirty water down the street after it rains.

Dripping from my fingertips while I write;

Like the icicles hanging from my HUD house in the sunlight.

The hostility the government stirred into my people’s blood;

It was always there, but now it’s dirty as a puddle and thick as mud.

“How do we take care of them?” Mr. Govt. says;

“It was all supposed to be better when we put them on the rez.”

“That was supposed to civilize them, make them docile;

But what seems to have happened is we made them hostile?”

Mr. Govt. You can’t take the warrior out of our women and men;

You can’t cut our hair and expect us to not be what we’ve always been.

You put us on a reservation and call us savage;

Then you act shocked when we uprise and ravage.

We break your laws so you put us on the inside;

Then you act shocked when we still show our pride.

But you see, being on the inside is like being on a reservation;

And the way we act, is a part of your creation.

Remember that when you question why we are how we are;

The warrior in us will always come out like the evening’s first star.

Because you see, we was born with hostility in our veins;

Flowing down the street like dirty water after it rains…

Native Identity: A Discourse
By:  Ruth Hopkins
What makes one ‘Native?’   Mainstream society certainly attempts to define us by promoting stereotypes passed down from Old Hollywood movies, with stoic Italians painted red speaking broken English.  Collegiate mascots depict us as brutal, war-mongering savages, and celebrities and hipster models who flood the public eye with sexualized, exploitative imagery when they pose wearing little more than imitation warbonnets misrespresent what it truly means to be Native.   History written by the European invaders is also inaccurate because it is skewed to their perspective, if Natives are even acknowledged at all.
While addressing how non-Natives view us is worthy of consideration- especially for those who hope to dissuade ignorance about us, it is more important that we as Natives consider how we define ourselves- to heal our communities, and for our own well-being, as well as that of future generations of Natives.  Identity is who we are.  In order to know where we are going, we must first know where we’ve been and how we got here. We must remember who and what we stand for, as individuals, and as Native Nations. READ MORE HERE:  http://www.lastrealindians.com/2012/08/06/native-identity-a-discourse/

Native Identity: A Discourse

By:  Ruth Hopkins

What makes one ‘Native?’   Mainstream society certainly attempts to define us by promoting stereotypes passed down from Old Hollywood movies, with stoic Italians painted red speaking broken English.  Collegiate mascots depict us as brutal, war-mongering savages, and celebrities and hipster models who flood the public eye with sexualized, exploitative imagery when they pose wearing little more than imitation warbonnets misrespresent what it truly means to be Native.   History written by the European invaders is also inaccurate because it is skewed to their perspective, if Natives are even acknowledged at all.

While addressing how non-Natives view us is worthy of consideration- especially for those who hope to dissuade ignorance about us, it is more important that we as Natives consider how we define ourselves- to heal our communities, and for our own well-being, as well as that of future generations of Natives.  Identity is who we are.  In order to know where we are going, we must first know where we’ve been and how we got here. We must remember who and what we stand for, as individuals, and as Native Nations. READ MORE HERE:  http://www.lastrealindians.com/2012/08/06/native-identity-a-discourse/