I don’t know my Native language.

Jessica Elaine Matz, LaVergne, TN. I look white and I was raised white, but when we were kids, we went to the occasional pow wow and were told “this is part of your heritage.” My uncle recently joined one of the Cherokee tribes, but I haven’t yet. I feel weird about it because there’s so […]


Too white to be Native American

Simone, Chicago, IL. A lot of people say I look too white to be Native American. It’s tiring that my mom is full Cherokee while my dad was full blown Italian, all my other bothers came out darker than me and had brown eyes, I am the only girl int he family. As far as […]


Brother played Cowboy, never the Indian.

Bonni Hamilton, Eliot, ME. I grew up with two Native American siblings who my parents adopted when we were very small. When he was young, my Lakota brother always wanted to be the cowboy in Cowboys and Indians. He knew from personal experience the Indians always lost. The memory still breaks my heart.


Seasonal confusion; your problem not mine

Courters, Bay Area, CA. I grew up in a latin home, of a first generation born parent. By DNA–I am native-american sicilian. I was raised with latin catholic, tibetan, native american, and sicilian culture. As a child, in my desert neighborhood, I stayed dark and it was rarely noticed that I was not “technically” latin […]


When Skin Color Fades Away

Leonard Rios, Imperial Beach, CA. I am an American Indian on tribal roles and racism has followed my people childhood to present. I am a traditionalist and live an old school life style founded on respect and the spirit of taking only what we need and giving when all possible. I moved to Imperial Beach […]


“Black-Looking” Female, White Father, Glaring Eyes.

Kayla Doering, Statesboro, GA. My father is of Irish descent and my Mother is Native American. Something I’ve always dealt with while being out in public with my father is people staring at us like we were a rare species. Growing up, while running daily errands with my father, I remember older women asking if […]

I don’t have to speak spanish

Jennnifer, Fresno, CA. No matter where I am, people will come up to me and start speaking Spanish. I assume it’s because they assume that im fully Mexican. but little do many know, I’m mayority Native American with a small amount of Hispanic in me. Because people asssume that I’m Mexican, they assume my first […]

I am sorry for my ancestors

Krystal, Tillamook, OR. Half of my family is from Europe, the other half is from America–as in, Native Americans. When my great-grandfather passed away, they went through his possessions and found a KKK hood, and I bear that shame to this day. I am sorry for my ancestors and what they did to people based […]

The feather or the dot?

Kathryn Yurcak, Riverside, CA. Yes, I’m Native American. No my great grandmother was not an Indian princess. No I’m not going to do “the rain dance” and please stop doing that Indian chant at me that you’ve seen in movies. I know I look like I speak Spanish and you’re getting angry at me because […]


No, I’m not Italian or Spanish.

Michele Warch, Georgetown, DE. My mom is English and Native American. My dad is Scotch-Irish and German. I speak Cherokee and read some Gaelic. I have dark hair and green eyes. Its a gift of my mixed ancestry. I have tattoos and ride a motorcycle. I also have a master’s degree and teach at the […]


You don’t look Mexican Native American!

Delaney Rodarte, Prescott, AZ. When I was much younger I was darker skinned and people saw me as Mexican, but now in my later years, especially since I have gone to public school, people see what is now pale skin and refuse to accept me or admit that I am native american and men won’t […]

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Are you Chinese or something?

Brigitte Dees, Stillwater, OK. Growing up half Japanese, Native American, and white in Oklahoma was a challenge. I don’t look like anyone else and people have reminded me of that my whole life. As an Asian girl I was expected to be quiet, studious, and polite. The reality is I have ADHD and dyslexia, which […]

I am more than my skin

Lisa Gullion, Nocross, GA. I only look white, I am a high percent of Cherokee (whom were murdered by the dozens for land), I am Irish who were shipped as slaves just like Africans (they were bred with africans for higher priced mixed slaves). My ancestors faced the same deadly history as your’s but I […]

Delaware, Kiowa, Comanche, Mexican, Oh My!

Kristina T., Oklahoma City, OK. I’m half Native American and half Mexican. I have 3 tribes’ blood that runs through my veins along with Mexican blood. Most people consider and see me as one or the other. I speak and know my Mexican culture, but when it comes to my Native culture, I’m completely lost. […]


Enough to make you look pretty

Adrienne Zimiga, Minneapolis, MN. I was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation my first 12 years. Upon moving from Batesland, SD to Castlewood, SD my caucasian grandmother was concerned that my brothers, sister, and I could face social problems being part Native American (iyeska: mixed blood/race) in an all white community. She told […]


Don’t fear me, I’m like you.

Constance Morton, Henderson, NV. I am multi-racial, but what you see when you look at me is my connection to Africa. But my ancestors came from the British Isles as well as walked tall and proud on their Native American soil. Why cannot I celebrate my rick heritage with pride in your presence? If we […]


Finally I learned to accept myself

Katherine Porter, San Leandro, CA. I grew up disowned by my racial cultures…too different from White, too different from Chinese. Talked about by cousins, wondered about by strangers, eroticized by college boys, and discounted by the census. Always had to check “other” on the surveys. Felt like I had to be the best example of […]

It’s easier to say I’m White

Laura Pierson, Los Angeles, CA. I am Native American, Mexican, Spanish, English, Germany, and Irish. I was raised by a single mom that is Native American, English, German, and Irish. I didn’t know what being a Mexican meant or was like and I’m still trying to figure it out. As a child, I told people […]

I’m American – where’s my checkbox?

Blair White Haddad, Los Angeles, CA. Being the child of an adopted mother, for a long time I only knew half of my genetic make up. After being reunited with my bio grandmother we discovered our Native American/ French background. My whole life I’ve been asked the question- what are you? Instead of identifying myself […]

I walk in two worlds daily.

Lenzy KB, Tulsa, OK. Like many Native Americans, I’m mixed and frankly, don’t look like the stereotypical “Hollywood” Native. I have to balance the Native world — both its contemporary and traditional components — daily with life in modern society.

Life in the borderlands is painful.

Kaller, Portland, OR. Native American grandfather, Quaker grandmother, their child was my mother. Black stepfather, biracial brother, adopted Latina child, all Chinese grade school, segregation, race riots, the battle for Civil Rights…who are “my people?”

Always desired culture. I’m just white.

Cassandra Coats, El Cajon, CA. I grew up in a very multi-cultural school where being white was the minority. I was never teased for it, but I felt like I was missing out. I spent most of my childhood wishing I could be Asian, or Native American, or speak Spanish, etc. Sure, I have red […]

A culture lost. Lost within me?

Leah Pepion, Kaysville, UT. Slowly, generation by generation my Blackfeet culture is being lost, stolen, given up, handed over. Will the Native American culture be buried beneath the earth, beneath the rivers, lost in the sea of suburbs and tv? Can I fill my bones, skin and body up with enough of my delicate culture […]

You can’t be in a tribe

Hallie Davis, Helena, MT. I’ve been told over and over that I am to white to be a Native American. To white to be in a tribe. But then people sit and look at me for a moment and say oh but I can see it now, you have the nose!


Blue Eyed Blonde Haired Native American

Bethany Longstreth, California, PA. I’m so pale, but being Native American is an important part of my history. I don’t think that people should not believe me when I say that I’m Native American, just because I happen to look more like the German side of my family.

You’re Indian? With Dot or Feather?

Sam, Morris, MN. I have a grandfather that is fully Native American, from the White Earth Tribe. So my mother is ¼ Native American, and I am less than ¼. My father is mostly German. So I have fairly light skin, and my hair is light brown. In most situations I consider myself Caucasian and […]


You have to choose. Which one?

Aimee Mallery, Rochester, NY. My daughter is Native American on her father’s side. When faced with a form for daycare, I had to choose whether to label her Native American or Caucasian. They insisted she couldn’t be both.


No your just a white redneck

Julie, Summervile, GA. Yes I`m from the South and i`m a redneck but that`s not all of me. My mother`s father is a Native American and what I know of my father`s family his mother was italian. My mother`s mother`s mom was German. So here I am in the South all types of mixed.


I’m a bridge between two worlds.

Jazmin Whitmore, Asheville, NC. I am the result of two worlds but I was only raised in one. My father was Jamaican and my mother was European/Native American mix. My mother raised me. Although it was not her intention she raised me to be “white”. I did not realize how devoid I was of my […]

No moccasins. You’ll wear real shoes.

Elizabeth, Denver, CO. My mother is mixed race, Indian and white. She grew up pretty poor, but she told me once that she always had two pairs of shoes: one pair of moccasins and one pair of boots. Depending on who her father was trading with she would either have to pull on her boots, […]


You must be Cuban or something.

Jesse Hernandez-Oliver, Modesto, CA. I’m Mexican, African and Native American (Apache and Cherokee soecifically) with ringlet curled hair that resembles finger waves of the 1920s when brushed. Growing up I remember everyone always asking to touch my hair. I can speak some Spanish too so that also through people off,which I always found to be […]

White. Wish I had a culture.

Jan Spooner, Tucson, AZ. As a white American, I don’t have a strong feeling of culture. My African American, Jewish, Native American and Hispanic friends can all talk about a strong cultural background. Their stories reflect their heritage and what it means to belong to their ethnic group. What is my culture and what are […]

You don’t look Native you’re white

Kaylin Jorgensen, St.Paul, MN. I chose these words on more of a personal level but, a lot of people do not believe me when I tell them I am Native American. People assume that the color tone of your skin defines you. When in reality you are who you are no matter what your skin […]

“You’re Mexican???? I’d still date you”

Gianna Gonzalez Roland, OK ………………excuse me? I was talking to a guy I liked when he asked me if I was Native American. I told him that I’m actually Mexican, White, Italian, and Philippino but I could only get the first one out before he interrupted and said “oh you’re Mexican? That’s ok I’d still […]


Natives Can Have Curls Without Admixture

An Indigenous Native American’s with Curly Hair, USA Western Hemisphere Indigenous Natives The “straight hair myth” started by The English Settlers in North American, and spread like a nasty virus throughout our entire hemisphere. Anyone else tired of this lie. THE PENCIL TEST: In the past Whites had a test which was used to define […]

I’m part white, Cant prove it

Justice Littlejohn Cherokee, NC Being Cherokee and living on a reservation you don’t grow up white, even if you are only half cherokee and half white. Tourists that come to the reservation always claim they are part cherokee. They are so proud of it. I don’t understand why they kinda get offended when I say […]


Melting-pot Melungeon: Not “Other!” Try “Most.”

Marion Reid Kee Redmond, WA Some of my ancestors went through a lot so that I could be “white” and not have to know about them as African, Native American, Eastern Mediterranean. Others who were considered white may not have been free. Some of my Celtic ancestors were forcibly resettled by the English. Others were […]

Anglo interloper newcomer outsider awkward minority

Laurie Mitchell Dunn Taos, NM In my northern NM community, Native Americans have been here for over 1,000 years and Hispanics for 400 years. Anglos are both minorities and relative newcomers (first arriving about 150 years ago). Even native born Anglos aren’t really accepted as “locals”. The Hispanics here have a saying: “Just because your […]

“I’m Native American too!” — says everyone

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every time race and culture comes up, when I mention that I am a registered Cherokee I get the same response. My grandmother was born on the reservation and we are dual citizens with the Cherokee Nation. But apparently I’m just as native as every single other person.

Are you black? You look so …

Nicole Collins Bronzan Rahway, NJ I’m a mutt — black, Native America, Irish, you name it — raised all over the world as a military brat. I consider myself black, but depending on where I am (and how tan), I get all kinds of questions, though substantially less so in a diverse city like NYC.

So much darker… Is she adopted?

Rebekah Day Vinita, OK As the only brown complected person in my large family, I stand out against the pale white. I am constantly asked if I am adopted, or a “half-sister” in relation to my siblings. I am a woman of mixed heritage of various European and Native American blood, along with the rest […]

My culture isn’t a fashion statement.

Meghan Morris Virginia Beach, VA I am Native American (Cherokee Nation), and it is frustrating to see people appropriating ceremonial or traditional Native American accessories as fashion statements without knowing the historical background that they have. With that being said, it shows a lack of respect towards my race. It can be seen as harmless […]

You look too foriegn for me.

Danielle Silver Forest Park, OH A white guy I liked told me this. I am white( German, Irish, Penn. Dutch), Hispanic, Native American. I used to get asked where I was from in school. I said, “I’m an American.” My ancestors have been here for generations. My full brother has never been asked where he […]

Adopted. Closed Record. You tell me.

Melanie Randolph Longview, WA I really knew nothing about my heritage until I was 44 and chose to research my birth family. It’s weird to know nothing at all in a world that is so hung up on where they come from. I look so generic. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. I assumed Italian […]

Native American, but always called white.

Lateshia Locklear-Theroux Rock Hill, SC All my life I have called white. Even growing up in my tribal community (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) I was teased because I was lighter than most of the other kids. My parents (both of whom are Lumbee) always told me that it doesn’t matter what color my skin […]

Not White But My Skin Is.

Johnny Vae South Korea Sometimes it sucks to be a “white” male. Especially when you’re ethnically 1/4 Native American, which I’m told means I’m more Native American than most. My life was hard growing up, so much so that even my closest friends don’t know about it. My father was a criminal who hid under […]

So you must be Native American

Jamie Ann Kerestes Albuquerque, NM There are so many instances when I hear people say the craziest things about others, mainly immigrants. It’s like they’ve forgotten their families immigrated here themselves.

My kids mark Navajo not Caucasian

Ginee Scarbough St. Johns, AZ In this crazy world where being white is a bad thing, my mix raced hubby and mix race children mark only Navajo or Native. I hate that we can’t be proud of being my heritage of Scottish, English, and French, but can be “Navajo Proud”. I feel left out. A […]

Braiding red bones and white blood.

Bari Goodblood Lehn Wetzel County, WV Born to a Santee Sioux mother and a German father in the Midwest. They met and married when she was relocated to the city as part of termination policy for reservation Indians in the 1950’s. Four babies later, for reasons I never knew, she left us, taking with her […]

My DNA is 2.6% Neanderthal

Roger Hernandez Angleton, TX 48% Native American 22% Mediterranean 14% Northern European 8% Southwest Asian 4% Northeast Asian 2% South African but my wife says I’m a 100% Caveman.

“You can pass for white”

Mary Thompson Happy Valley, OR I heard this from first and second grade teachers. White women. I was proud to be Native American, but in their “kindness” they let me know I was not okay. Was the 1960’s.


Too mixed too choose just one!

Tess Escoto, Citrus Heights, CA. My roots are in Texas and Mexico. While some may look at me and say that I appear to be Latina, often they aren’t sure. My father’s last name is of Italian origin and my grandmother and grandfather (paternal) both had blue eyes and black curly hair. My mother’s family […]

Hey, Pocahontas, how about a drink?

Mary Zeitner Edmonds, WA I had just moved back to Seattle in late April from Arizona where I worked nights and spent most of the day outdoors, so my skin tone was quite a bit darker than people in the neighborhood, many of whom were of Scandinavian or Native background. It was twilight and as […]

“Reverse Racism”? Your privilege is showing…

Andrew V. Chavanak Falls City, NE When companies choose to make diversity a priority in hiring, or universities seek to create a more diverse student body and white people miss out, it’s not racism. Racism is about power, and no one can claim that power is shared equally in this country. Hearing other white people […]

I’m not white in my family

Lisa Craig Washington, DC It’s a bit complicated. My father’s family consists of Scottish, Swedish, French, German, English, Mexican, and two different Native American tribes. My mother’s family consists of French-Canadian, English, Inquit (Alaskan Native Americans), and some other ethnicities that I am not aware of (I am not close to them). All of my […]

The Art and Racket of Passing

Raven Cincinnati, OH In parts of Eastern North Carolina the lines between black, bi-racial and Native American is blurry and sometimes nonexistent. I went to school with the great(x3) grandchildren of my family’s slaveholders. Our families share the same last name. Upon leaving I learned that my green eyes, light skin and curly hair were […]

People in majority should experience minority.

Dennis Searcy, AR I know a man, a white man, who is upset lately about the possibility of the Redskins changing their name. He thinks it’s silly for Native Americans to complain about it, that they should feel honored, that he would feel honored if he were in their position. I tried explaining to him […]

I’m not Hispanic, thanks for asking.

Elizabeth Norris Taylor Fernandina Beach, FL I have lived my entire life with people coming up to me and asking, “what are you?” For a while in college, I had some very clever comebacks… now days I simply shrug and say, “American, and you?” I have had people come up to me and speak Spanish […]

Black out side. Mixed in Side.

Eddy Bowen Madison, WI I chose these words because It’s my cultural anthropology. most people when they “see” me they just see a normal black guy but little do they know I’m Puerto Rican and Native American. I don’t think its right to judge me based off of how I look on the outside that’s […]

What are you? White, Indian or Mexican?

Ronald Hill Grove Hill, PA My biological father was Mexican and split before I was born. The man I call my dad is white. My mother is Native American (Indian), but doesn’t know any of her culture, as my grandmother moved off of the reservation when she was 18. I was raised to look past […]

You mean to say Native American

Swapnil Deopurkar Seattle, WA I moved from India to Ann Arbor, Michigan; age 26, male, long hair, parted down the middle and with a pony tail. My first day at the bus stop, started a conversation with an African American undergrad. The conversation abruptly halted with me saying “I am Indian..” and he interrupting “..you […]

Not what I thought I was

Nancy Jane Grimes Smith Pittsfield, IL After being asked most of my life if I was any Indian (Native American) and saying no, mostly Irish, some Scot, And English my mom recently found that she is part Cherokee. I’m thrilled and would welcome DNA testing to find out what else may be part of me.

I’m a mutt and I’m proud!

Lily Nadal Asheville, NC I’m one quarter Irish, one quarter Greek, one quarter Puerto Rican, and one quarter Native American. And even though I have encountered many forms of racism from people, I keep my head up because I love who I am and I love the heritage I have. I know I’m beautiful and […]

Yes, I am a feather Indian.

Breanna Garcia Bellflower, CA Growing up with people asking what my ethnicity was and just replying I’m Indian. The next question was almost always “forehead dot Indian or feather Indian?”. I would say “neither I’m Native American”.

Easily suspended, can destroy their lives.

Jill Shortreed Maplewood, MN My nephew is half Native American. He was kicked out of school for carrying a box cutter in his pocket that he used at work. There is a zero tolerance policy, so even though he had only a few months left before graduation, he wasn’t just suspended, he was kicked out. […]

I’m not white; I am Czech

Joseph San Diego, CA There is no box for me. I am lumped in with all others who are not Asian, African-American, Latino, Native American, etc. This categorization process strips me of my identity. When it comes to opportunity, what about the fact that I grew up poor, never knew my father, and never finished […]

Fear and hate only bring sadness.

Lantien Chu Lander, WY I am Chinese and get profiled as Native American, followed in stores, refused for rentals. Kids have asked me if I wear a coolie hat or when I’m going home (to China). I’ve lived in my small Wyoming town for 30 years and my kids (Eurasian) were born here. I try […]