I am struggling with an issue that others may have dealt with. I have posted this in other forum but wanted to cover any areas that may be related. I apologize if you read this on another page.

 

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 went to college but it was still an all-NDN school. I didn't finish due to family obligations (I did later at a 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: 8

Replies to This Discussion

Hello, my brother was married to a Mashantucket Pequot Indian for many years. They are divorced now but she remains close to the family. I use to visit them on the reservation and I was always fascinated by the culture. They have their native beliefs but many are Christians also. I guess Indians and blacks both have cultures where religion is deeply ingrained. I have a couple of hundred friends of all races on Facebook but the only ones that constantly post religious stuff are blacks and my Indian ex in-laws. Not only on Facebook but I get religious emails almost daily. Some people send so many that I respectively asked them to please stop because I'm an atheist. Usually they stop sending all emails because either they are offended by my request or don't care for being associated with an atheist. Very few people I associate with know I'm an atheist. It's not that I hide it or am I ashamed of it. I just don't bring it up unless there is a reason to, like stopping the incessant religious messages or being asked to pray. Usually when I tell them I'm an atheist they seemed confused because I guess they assume all blacks believe in a God of some sort. Some try to lecture me and tell me I'm going to hell but I politely tell them there is nothing they can say that will make me a believer and please don't worry about it. As far as the sexuality thing, I don't post sexual stuff in open forums. My wife, adult kids and grandkids are on Facebook too. Maybe you can find another way to to that on a forum that is not as open as Facebook.
I think you may be right. I understand appropriateness. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't compromising who I am in regards to any religious doctrines.

Eddie has a good thought, maybe you could have another social networking outlet for discussing sexual matters? Facebook for keeping in touch with friends and family, something else for the rest.

 

On the other hand, there's enough on my Facebook that my relatives could figure out I'm an atheist and I haven't heard boo about it. Your NDN community might surprise you by respecting you enough not to make an issue of it.

I've caught a little flack from a couple of relatives about my way of thinking but I think overall most of them haven't said anything. 

 

I think I might have a case of imagining the worst.

Bunny thank you for posting your experience.  I hope that others will have useful things to say.

 

I wonder if homophobic or biphobic aspects of NDN culture are all imposed from puritain christianity.  I admit I have never studied the subject formally.  Plus, I wouldn't expect for all nations of Native Americans to have the same culture any more than they have the same language, but I don't know that.  There are some books available for reading on Amazon, link here.  Review below regarding "Spirit and the Flesh"  Unfortunately the author does not appear to address bisexuality, but rather male homosexuality.  Also,

 

"Amazon.com Review

Walter L. Williams's excellent research has produced one of the most extensive studies of the berdache culture among Native Americans. Unlike the larger American society, Native Americans historically have respected, and in many tribal nations venerated, homosexuals. Williams explains the berdache as a custom, its social roles, and the berdache history, including its introduction to the European concept of sin and intolerance of sexual diversity. The word berdache applies almost exclusively to males, mainly because historical records only relate dealings with aboriginal males, but Williams also includes a chapter on female sexual diversity, using the word amazon to describe these often warriorlike women.
 
That makes me wonder if homopbobia / biphobia are true to native culture, or actually turning their back on native culture.  I've wondered the same thing about some areas of Africa, where virulent homophobia is taken to be "true African" but the available history doesn't seem to support that, rather that homophobia was imposed from christian invaders.
Searching on Youtube on the topic "two-spirit" also brings an number of videos, such as here:

Hi Biped,

 

with regard to homophobia, from what I understand, our culture actually considered those with unique gender identifications as venerable. They were held in high esteem with some tribes referencing those individuals as having two spirits. With the European invasion and the X-tian missionary agenda, that changed. Being gay in the native world is now considered a shame and is often persecuted. I'm very aware of this and pissed about it. I'm not gay but I'm not straight. 

As an NDN, I want to keep within my culture but I'm struggling with walking the line of evolution of thought and being.

 

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