I’m not native. This I can be certain of as both my parents have done the genetic testing to find out who they are, and I encourage that others do the same before they chase down ghosts of the past which will lead them wrong, and you make a social faux pas with a friend. It happened in my family–the he said, she said lore of where we came from. Regardless of my roots, I care about the issues affecting the native people that I share this great land with–land stolen from them by European settlers, which may or may not be my ancestors. Equally, I can’t yet tell you when my family settled here, but I can acknowledge that the discrimination, outright racism, persists making us all participants in the longest holocaust ever to be enacted in the history of man, to which I am aware. Hence, I care and have started advocating for the silenced voices.
The first step in advocating is education. Learn about the challenges facing the group. Listen. This is what I love about Indian Country Today. They have taught me a great deal, and there is still so much to hear before I speak on the issues. In the meantime, let me introduce their voices.
“There are not enough young Native women getting their voices out there…This is what they tell me. I have been thinking about it…My elders taught me that it is good to be careful with words. It is good to be reserved. It is important to listen. Always listen. Then speak up, maybe, if it will help.” – Chelsey Luger
Read more: Speaking Up: Native Women’s Voices and the Challenges of Putting Yourself Out There – ICTMN.com.