I am struggling with an issue that others may have dealt with. I may end up reposting this in other forums but I wanted to start here. 

 

I'm full blooded Native American. Even though I was born in Los Angeles, I was raised in a tight-knit NDN community. NDN school, church, pow wows, tournaments, etc. I was pretty isolated from other cultures till I was nearly an adolescent.  I was eventually integrated into the public school system but still only socialized with other NDNs. The reason I harp on this point will make sense later in the post. 

During my adolescence, I lived in Oklahoma which is pretty conservative. I was sexually active by the time I was nearly 16 (odd term, sexually active). Anyhow, like most Christians, I had a lot of self-loathing because I was having sex. Granted, I wasn't always having sex for the "right reasons" but that's another story. 

I later went to college but it was still an all-NDN school. I didn't finish due to family obligations (I did later at state school)but right after that, I decided I wanted to break free from "NDN life." Meaning, I wanted to get to know other types of people and I did. I cut myself off from the NDN community and began socializing with other races and ethnicities. It was during this time that I began to question a lot of how I was raised and it included what I realized was a lot of Christian influences. 

Cut to me as an adult, this is post-christianity. It's now been around 10 years since I've been around the NDN community and I'm now very anti-Xtian and am comfortable with my sexuality which I'm a admitted bisexual. So what's the problem? FACEBOOK. 

With FB, I am now connected to a lot of old NDN friends, in particular, many from OK who still hold mostly Christian values. Now here comes the rub, I was raised with utmost respect to my culture. It is very difficult to explain this because people don't understand what respect means in our culture. When I say this, many people are put off because they take it to mean, "It's an NDN thing, you wouldn't understand." We hold a very solemn respect to our traditions and beliefs to which I have no wish to go against as I hold very dear my heritage. 

Being newly connected to old friends, I find myself censoring my comments now more than I did so before. Mostly the ones that reference sexuality. I now think, "cripes, I have family AND NDNs on my list, I can't post this!" The thing is, I'm not sure if it's because I'm afraid of the X-tian upbringing or my NDN culture. I'm not sure if as NDNs we traditionally kept our sexual aspects private or not. But I know X-tianity diseased a lot of native cultures with their unhealthy beliefs. 

I'm very confused. I still want to keep in respect to my culture and have very little regard to offending X-tian thinking but I feel like I'm compromising myself now. 

 

I realize this is a very long post but I wondered if anyone has similar experiences. 

 

I'm full-blooded NDN, I am from the Choctaw, Hupa, Yurok, Chickasaw, Chimarigo nations and very proud of my lineage but I want to be true to who I am. 

 

Can anyone help please?

Tags: Culture, ethnicity, heritage, sexuality, tradition

Views: 26

Replies to This Discussion

i don't mean celebrities, i mean legendary events and places. canada just doesn't have mythology on that level. we have history and culture, but we just don't have legends. still less legends that people all over the world know about, most people still think canada's this tiny little patch of territory with a couple thousand people in it, all white.

 

in terms of culture like you describe, i'd say we have more distinctive culture than the nited states. they have a couple places where groups have come together (like louisiana, and one of the groups that formed that culture were a bunch of displaced french canadians), but canada has a mix of english, french, and native at its core and inseparable. that's why i never understood quebec separatism, back in the 90s a bunch of quebecois got all riled up about how they weren't being reccognised as a separate culture, a french one. well, they're not separate and they're not french. they're canadian who speak french. if they went to france and talked about how french they are, they'd be laughed at, treated as silly foreigners. those 3 cultures have so much of each other so deep in their core that it's just silly to speak of one without the others.

 

there's another random rant

@egan (cuz reply thread has run out)

 

Those "they" you talk about is me. So yes, as you say, it is painfully obvious to me how you do not understand those aspects of culture. For the record... what call legend, I call celebrity.

you've lost me there

Because of all the reasons you state, I've pretty much quit Facebook. Out of 100 FB friends, a dozen are from high school days, over 30 years ago. And frankly, they are no longer relevant. About 50 of them are travel acquaintances with whom, for lack of further contact, means they were only relevant for a couple of years. And to be honest, there are only about 10 people on there I'm truly involved with.

 

Friend is a much abused word. That site should be called "I met you once site"!!! or "Acquaintance site" or "Once upon a time". As a biologist, I tend to see the biological limitations to human endeavours. Many modern lifestyles are technology driven, not biology driven, and hence, our genetic makeup is simply not set up -- did not evolve -- to accomplish such tasks, such as being "friends" with people whom we do not physically interact with in our present "real" biological life, face to face. Technology "friends" lack voice, intonations, body language, facial expressions, palpability, hugability. Technology friends don't have a fraction of the value real friends do.

 

Some FB addicts compare these friends to penpals from "the olden days". But it's not really, penpals were pals, penpals, not "friends", and many a time, when penpals actually met up, they found there were many surprises. People's representation of themselves is not usually as their "appearance". And correspondents imagining of others through a technology (mail, phone, internet) generally results in a imaginary person which has little to do with the real correspondent.

 

My teensy little village where I grew up was pretty much stuck between 2 Mig'mah reserves. During the years 3-4 of high school, my best girlfriend was Christine, she lived on the Gesgapegiag reserve, then she moved to the USA. Through FB we found each other last year, and it was nice. She had a great influence regarding my relationships with other ethnicities. She is a "good" person. But oh boy, how Christian she has become.

 

I won't delete my FB account, but now I only peek at it twice a month or so. I've placed a number of people on "limited access". I was an intense Facebooker within 12 months of its inception, but I have chosen to place priority on the people that matter in my life now. Too much priority on internet relationships makes us lose track of the efforts it takes to be real friends in the real world, it's not so easy, maintaining friendships through hard times and seeking new friendships with people who are compatible to us.

 

Nurturing face to face relationships is what our biology is equipped to do, it's the very essence of our sociability. Tech friends have a use, they can broaden our perspective, or maintain retain real friendships during short absences, but they should never take up much space in our minds like face to face friends.

 

Last note: change your settings. Facebook has many many settings, hidden in many different zones. There is absolutely no excuse for strangers, employers, etc, to have any access to what you write. It is completely controllable. The only part of Facebook that is not privatisable is your memberships and "likes", so don't use those :)

 

Good luck !

one advantage to having been atheist since age 6, it's no surprise to anyone.
I've never been religious, family's been atheist and/or agnostic atheist for three generations, but it's not like we put it down paper 'officially' so to speak. Whereas on my Facebook info, "atheist" is in the first 5 words someone sees about me. So it's quite different than back when we were in elementary or high school. I bet most people from back then didn't even remember that about me... However I myself do remember very clearly the one and only girl who was a protestant in my secondary school. It was a big deal for me cause she had rights as a 'Protestant' but I had no rights. It was a continuous battle between me and the board of education.
Alas, I can't really relate.  I've lost my sense of respect for most of my past affiliations from which I've distanced myself.  If I no longer associate with a group, I don't care what they think about me.
I used to go to the pow wows near Tulsa...
Oral Roberts would not be amused, man.

I probably can't relate to this but I just might be able to.  I'm a lapsed Jew but my family is not orthodox Jewish. I went to public school and was in boy scouts for awhile, but was also sent to Jewish religious classes, 1-1/2 hour sessions one, two or three times a week depending on the age.  Thus your connection to your native american culture is stronger than my connection to Judaism, but mainly because my family is not orthodox.  But two of my hebrew school teachers were orthodox Jewish women so I got brain washed and thought I had ot be orthodox, at least for awhile. 

 

In orthodox Judaism there seems to be little secular Jewish culture, just the religion itself and whatever culture that entails.  But in non-orthodox forms of Judaism, there seems to be an explicit Judaism, the reilgion itself, and an implicit secular Jewish culture, except that it keeps changing every time there is major migration of Jews from one region to another; so in E. Europe before WWII Jewish culture was Yiddish language and secular Yiddish literature, now I guess Jewish culture might be some English language novels with "Jewish" themes, and maybe a few Jewish foods, which are really just stuff adapted from non-Jews in E. Europe, and a few stray Yiddish words young in the English of Jews who's ancestors had spoken Yiddish.  We have Israeli independence day celebrations at Jewish community centers, which seems like secular Jewish culture; there is a minority of Jews still interested in continuing Yiddish language and culture, and for the rest, Yiddish is extinct or unknown and they like Modern Hebrew and Israel or they do no Jewish culture at all. 

 

So I guess you were taught Native american culture and christian culture and to you these are separate entities and you want to keep a native culture that doesn't involve religion and just throw away christianity.  Sounds like you weren't taught to worship spirits or native american gods or do a native american religion that existed before Europeans arrived.

I can't relate to your liking both men and women. 

 

On Facebook, I put a few bands and authors I like, and a short paragraph about myself, saying nothing about atheism or being a lapsed Jew.  My family may not be that religious, but they have to be treated like polite company; they get somewhat uncomfortable arround vulgarity or references to taboo topics like atheism or how Judaism implicitly hates sexuality (we have ritual infant-male sex-organ mutilation on the 8th day, and a bunch of sexual meshugas like shomer negia, the "family purity laws," and no sex before marriage; and people get mortified when I begin to mention how this stuff is meshugas).  In the past I said I was an atheist or lapsed Jew and had discussions threads on the facebook about eating treyf (non-kosher food) but now I keep my profile acceptable to my family and other polite company.  I use atheist nexus to discuss the "wrong" topics.

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