My family, musings and life in the turtle pond

Posts tagged ‘Native American’


I am absolutely FURIOUS!!! I am so mad that I could spit nails! And I really shouldn’t be. Its not that big a deal really. And I know that I shouldn’t get worked up, but I am still stewing over it and it was on Tuesday and today is Saturday! When the instructor asked my opinion I was still speechless in semi-horror. I gave an answer to her question, but not how I felt. If I had tried to explain that I probably would have lost the ability to speak, and the first word that came to mind would not have been appropriate.

What is it that got me so wired? A class movie! it was about Disney movies. Particularly Peter Pan and Pocahontas. I knew Pocahontas was bad. Once again a bunch of white guys managed to rewrite history. It stinks,but I am used to that. They made a very strong woman into a helpless princess. (We don’t have princesses) and of course changed the ending. That wasn’t even what got me mad. What got me mad was how so many kids think that’s real They believe that is truly what happened. and who ever contradicts really? who ever tells little kids how Indians really are?

But Peter pan was worse! the way they made fun of our religious dances! The Indians all looked horrible. And they had red skin and too many feathers. They were hopping around looking goofy. It was not our dance! Not real one anyway. I had never seen that scene before.I guess because Gramma always fast forwarded it.She probably knew how badly seeing that would affect me. I am a tribal dancer. I dance for ceremonies. The religious parts of the dance are so important to me!To see it mocked… well I still don’t have the words!

I still cry when I see scenes like that. Not at the time any more,but later. At the time, I just felt incredibly nauseous and had to try not to throw up right there in class. If people want to see Native Americans in movies, they should watch the documentry “homeland”.

I don’t fit in pretty boxes!

I hate paperwork. And yes, I do mean hate, even though that’s a very strong word. I don’t like it because of the boxes that I have to fit into. I never know which ones to fill in in most cases. Sometimes I have to pick the closest answer. Why do we have to categorize ourselves into boxes for other people? Do others really need to know every detail of what they think we are?

For a start, race/ethnic background. Race in and of itself is a made up term, since we are all human. Then there is the ethnic background. I come from one that doesn’t exist. After all, there is no group of Native Americans. There are 450+ different nations who co-exist within the United States.

So now we move on to sex/gender. there are always two choices, Male and Female. But that doesn’t cover a fairly large number of people who are genetically both. Nor does it take into consideration people who “gender flip” depending on the situation. And of course, this leads to “married, single, divorced” . Sometimes none of the above apply. And other options don’t always fit in either.

From there we move to Housing. Rent or own?  Or the other options, like Living in nursing home,halfway house or community center, or homeless, living in a hotel,car, shelter or friend’s couches.

And the lists go on and on! And the boxes get more and more ambiguous. trying harder and harder to pinpoint exactly what the person answering is.

That is the true problem. Most people aren’t just one thing. They don’t fit neatly into little boxes. More and more of us have problems with identifying all the mixes we have. Mixed-race really doesn’t cover it. And they NEVER provide all the possible combinations of mix we are. Bi-racial doesn’t work for people with three or more “races”. Sometimes it’s just easier to pick the race you look the most like and claim that. Other times there are a few groups that come close.

This is why I develop a sense of humor about it. If its a fill in the blank option I will sometimes develop a sarcasting sense of humor and actually put human on the form. Or I’ll put the term I think apply to me most. Border lander.   A border lander is a person on the outskirts. They are part of more than one group,standing on the border,where they have a foot on either side, so to speak. Border landers don’t fit in any group really. None of their sides may truly accept them. And they need to survive caught between catagories, and literally outside the boxes.

Welcome to the Turtle pond

Welcome to the turtle pond. This is where I talk about my family, friends and the issues that are important to me. although this is done in journal format, I welcome comments. Some posts are specifically to open much needed dialogue. All I ask is that you keep it clean,and no personal attacks.

First a brief intro.My name isTurtle. It is a Native American name given because my family wanted their preemie, drug addicted medically fragile baby to have the traits of the turtle. They wanted me to be strong,healthy, unsinkable, nurturing and a compassionate leader or teacher. Considering my life, they missed the mark, just a bit. =) And yes, I am Native American. I have Nez Perce blood enough to count. (12/16, the other 4/16 being from my gram-ma)

I am a Mama, a life partner, a woman that wants to be active, even when my body isn’t working properly. I was in a major accident in 2007, and only got out of hospital last December. I live in a shelter/community building for people with terminal illness and their family. I am a Border lander(mixed race),human,artist and musician. I have a lot to say, but don’t always say it well. because of my brain damage I can’t filter well. If it’s on my mind, its out my mouth.(and also on my paper,if I happen to be writing.) I am also a person who wants to understand the world,or as close as I can. I want to share my opinions with others, but I also want to learn other people’s points of view.

This project started when I decided to journal after getting out of hospital and starting at City College of San Francisco. I decided that a lot of my issues may be other people’s issues,too. So I am in the process of transferring my old handwritten journal to this blog. For a while, it may be a little disjointed as writings from last January get mixed with posts from today or yesterday. But that’

Flag of the Nez Perce Tribe

Image via Wikipedia

s the way this turtle brain works!

Sometimes I’ll be serious, sometimes I’ll be funny, sometimes there will just be funny quotes from the kids or an event at school or work.

So come on in and test the waters of the turtle pond.Trust me, the water’s fine =)

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