Mary F. Howard, Stockbridge, GA. I discovered I am one-fourth Native American. My paternal grandfather is full blood Cherokee. I just learned several months ago by eavesdropping on a conversation about race between my paternal uncle and aunt. They had just learned of additional children by their father outside of the marriage. It has often […]
Jacob K Tingle, San Antonio, TX. As the grandson of an Oklahoma Choctaw, I am deeply sensitive to the negative impact of stereotypes. Though no one looks at me and says, “He’s Native,” I try to use my multiple privileges to push back against the use of racists sport mascots and logos. We must understand […]
When I was younger, I always thought that race was real, I was surprised to find that it is not biologically real. Now that I know this I realized that some stereotypes I made about people are not true. I had always thought that if you looked one way then you were from a certain […]
I used to think that race was something like ethnicity. It was who you were, where you came from, or where your ancestors came from. Racism, I already knew was insulting, or stereotyping a certain “race”. Something I wasn’t so aware of was it’s history and how big of an impact it made on other […]
Charlie Cook, Sacramento, CA. My dad was born from a White Russian and American couple. At 6 days old, he was placed into the wonderful home of my grandparents, one of the Cherokee tribe and one of the Mohawk tribe. Race doesn’t define you, your history, culture, and family help you grow into the person […]
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?”
Lynn, Great Falls, SC. I tend to look white; especially when not in the sun. I’m actually a mix of: European (German, Irish, & British), Native American (Seminole, Cherokee, & Muskogee Creek), Black (African -sub-sahara regions- and Melanesian), and Middle Eastern (Syrian, Turkish, Indian (India) & Iranian)…….Somehow I ended up looking more European instead……I hate […]
Malcolm X. Mosely, Lorain, OH. I started using “Other long ago when they first started putting it on an option and I could start filling out forms when I started entering college in the early 90’s and there after. The reason I have done this is because I am not only Black and White, I […]
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 […]
Luke Pomranke, Petoskey, MI. I feel that I always need to be careful about what I say so that I am not accused of being racist. At times, I will make the exact same comment as someone from a different race but I will be accused of being racist while the other person will not […]
Berthetta Lynne Hill, Kansas City, MO.
Susi Matthews, Kansas City, MO. I am 1/4 Navajo plus Cherokee and Mohawk. I am also English, Irish, Scots and German. I LOOK white; my full sister looks Native. I experienced the reactions she got when we were kids on vacation. A small restaurant in Colorado thought she was Native America and refused to serve […]
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.
Rae, Canada. An issue came up on Facebook, about Halloween costumes. People were talking about it being inappropriate for kids to dress as native people. I didn’t feel that it was so bad, that it was a way for kids to explore culture. I remember how often I used to pretend I was a native […]
Gene Tagaban, Ruston, WA.
Anonymous, Spokane, WA. Playing on the radio when my 16-year-old friend in high school came back to school after her brother was murdered someone playing Russian Roulette while drunk in her home. Native American Family.
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.
Lewis Pascal Bowling Lexington, KY
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 […]
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.
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.
Stephanie Traversie-Baechler, Watertown, SD. Growing up in South Dakota, many experiences Native Americans have gone through are familiar to those that have been expressed by Blacks in this country. We, too, have endured racial profiling, high incarceration rates, unfair ticketing practices designed to provide financial gain to counties, and we have experienced deaths. I have […]
Stephanie McCleery, Portland, OR. Adopted at birth, assumed white, found out 1/4 Cherokee at age 40 when found by birth mother.
Ty NolN, Tempe, AZ. I’m from a traditional family and have braids. I dance at Powwows, and participate in our Longhouse Ceremonies. The photograph is from when I used to do modeling and is from a calendar photo shoot, on Motorcycles. I’m on a 1935 Indian motorcycle, because one of the “gimmicks” of the calendar […]
Alene Brothers, Greenwood, SC. Two of the most common questions I hear are “where are you from” and “what are you?” People see dark tan skin, dark brown eyes, and brown/black hair and think I have to be foreign. Although my family identifies as “white,” we’re a mix of different backgrounds, especially on my dad’s […]
Vika Lynn, Las Vegas, NV. I grew up with a Native American father and a German/Italian-Jewish mother…i take after my mother but my father is full blooded Chiriquahua/apache and Seneca…when I started talking about how my culture is amazing, I was ridiculed as a “Wannabe” ….traits are chosen by choice of both parents…just because I […]
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 […]
Rob Daniels, Bolingbrook, IL. I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago at a time when our community worked extra hard to be racially and ethnically diverse on purpose. Our small community was also nationally recognized for its racial diversity. I recall thinking that it was so incredible to be around so many different […]
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”.
Ryan Barrows, Portland, ME. There is only one color and this “Love”
Taylor Danielle, Morris, MN. Being a “full” Native American is not defined by phenotypic gene expression. Yes, I am a blue-eyed, blonde Native American.
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 […]
Becky White Feather Riney, Quincy, IL. I am Native American and Caucasian. I hate knowing that there are people out there that simply because of the color of a person’s skin means (to them) they think someone Black (African American) or any race OTHER THAN WHITE is less than or undeserving of their acceptance, love […]
Alberta Jones, Juneau, AK. Alaska Natives and American Indians are often just an asterisk (*) in higher education and other data. We are collectively, trying to build our critical masses and be a voice that is often unheard.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
Elizabeth McGhee, Tuscaloosa, AL. A couple years ago I got to be a part of one of the best experiences of my life. I was part of the 2013 Tribal Princess Competition. Every Thanksgiving in Poarch, AL three girls are chosen to represent their tribe throughout the next year at different events. When I made […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Kaitlin Reed, Poughkeepsie, NY. I am a Yurok Indian. We are the salmon people and my ancestors have lived by the Klamath River in northern California since time began. But after centuries of continual sexual conquest against Native American women, I am not the color of Pocahontas. That’s right, I’m white-skinned and Indian. This hasn’t […]
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. […]
Alex Mayes, Suffolk, VA. I grew up in a multicultural family. I am hispanic but mixed with black, white, and native american. I typically don’t talk about what I am. Many people assume that because I talk a certain way or act a certain way, that I am trying to be anything besides black. I […]
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 […]
Katie McDonald, Ronan, MT. Curious couplings of North America’s early settlers and smoke screens hiding the unspoken US “Cowboys vs Indians” history create unique and difficult problems for today’s “Generation X” Native Americans
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Chris Tanaka, Lake Grove, NY. I am a whole, white passing, Japanese, Native American, French Canadian person. I am not half of this or a quarter of that, I am all of those things at once. I am a whole person.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Daniel Knoll, Saint Louis, MO. Just some ruminations on the issue, as a Local Missourian, and past resident of the town NEXT to Ferguson MO..white, adopted child of full Native American(Cherokee) mother and German-American father…
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 […]
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!
Shelly Watson, Bethel Acres, OK. When I was a teenager, other American Indians used to call me Apple.
Jacob Augare, Kansas City, MO. Words from my Blackfeet, Native American father from the Piikani Nation.
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.
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 […]
Aiyana Pellegrino, Philadelphia, PA.
Faith Roessel, Bethesda, MD. Georgetown Day I am Navajo Indian, born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I now live in the “bubble” and within the “beltway” of Washington, DC with my non Indian husband and my three incredible boys. No one can imagine the challenges we face day in and day out […]
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.
Katrina Varga, Schaumburg, IL.
Bruce Hawkins, Northampton, MA. That doesn’t make me guilty, it makes me responsible. Prison is the new slavery, and the Drug War is modern slave-catching.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
Gill Moore Fishers, IN Ask a Native American–IF you can find one.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Crystal Korth Des Moines, IA I’m the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Indian girl who was the butt of jokes from city kids and threatened from skinz on the rez. Where do I fit in?
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Courtney Randolph Norfolk, VA I’m actually Native American. I hate this phrase. So generalizing.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]