A comment just received in the blog Assimilation of October ’12 and my reply. This sense of being incomplete Lialynn spoke of is well founded, something others should think about.
Maybe…you don’t have enough faith in the power of love and family. It is bred into the Indian. I know this for a fact because I was adopted when I was 15 months old-from the Rosebud Reservation. My adopted family was loving and I should have felt complete, however-I have always searched for something… I never knew what-until I found it. It wasn’t just my family-blood relations-it was for my heritage. I cannot tell you how much I love the Indian people and their ways (of old). It feels like something I used to know and forgot and am remembering. Like a beloved doll from when I was young. I don’t use drugs or alcohol-I don’t have a criminal history and I have always felt pride in what I am. Maybe the problem is the reservation itself. I have no doubt that any Native can choose to live the life that they want. We are a strong people and an adaptable people. And I feel that you can love and respect the old ways and still be articulate in the white world. Love and peace ￼ By the way, my Great Uncle (or my great-grandfather in the Lakota way), Chauncey Yellow Robe-was a great example of what you can be. You can’t become non-native by the way you dress or talk or cut your hair. It is always an important part of who you are.
I’ve spoken numerous times in the blog about what I refer to as a genetic memory that predisposes people to gravitate in a certain direction, to learn language and resonate on some level when exposed to their heritage. If you were adopted out of RB then you not only have the memory but the blood as well. Things which I believe can become lost over generations as the blood quantum becomes further reduced. and eventually becomes non existent.
That to me places a very distinct onus on parents and the community to instill the values and traditions the nations have always held-the stronger these values are the more resistant we become to assimilation-in a way it might be said they are a vaccine.
Genetic coding can be dismantled or altered-that’s the affect assimilation produces- we need to be who were are, not a hybrid mutation that will in time become sterile like a GMO and incapable of reproducing the very things that have made us a distinct people.
A migration away from the rez is taking place for a variety of reasons, among
them not just the poverty and lack of opportunity, but a break down of traditions,
rampant crime and substance abuse-tradition has always been the cohesive agent
that bound us together, dilute that and what we see now is the result.
I believe in paying it forward-those who have either left the rez or stayed and gained a measure of success or financial stability need to give something back, to do their part to insure a better future for our children…. to pay it forward.