I wanted to write about something heavy on my mind. Its going to be a tough one to even cover, but it needs to finally happen. This post is not to intentionally hurt anyone, as they have hurt me, but rather display cold hard facts.
Growing up, my family literally did everything. My mom was a nurse, helped run a floral shop, my dad was a full-time paramedic, and my siblings have done just about every activity under the sun. Some of my earliest memories of my brother and I were at his “Kwahadi” dance practices. What did I just say? Kwahadi was the name given to our Texas Panhandle Native American dancers by the elders of the Comanche Nation. I was incredibly young (three or four) but absolutely fascinated by this culture that my family was honored to be a part of. By seven years old I could sing, and dance just about every thing we performed, and we were traveling all over the United States (my brother went to other countries) to show our Native side. This was an extremely crucial, and important part in my family history. We learned, researched, and honored this culture together. We absolutely to this day love it. I love how in the “Holocaust of Native Americans” documentary it states that you don’t need to be full, half, 3/4 of whatever blood. If you grew up doing this, if you love it, respect it, learn it, then you are welcome. You are one of us. It was fantastic to hear those words. I identify heavily with the Native American culture, rituals, traditions, and even beliefs. In my eyes they are very real, and they are felt very deep. Most people when they watch, or listen comment on how “weird” it can look. How is that not beautiful? How are those hand beaded dresses, and spiritual dances weird? I can’t even understand that comment even if it is your first time to see.
As a young kid, I always heard about the persecution of Native Americans, but of course with my age, never paid much attention. Until I was older did I start to fully understand what exactly happened, who did this, why it happened, and what a shocking yet disturbing reality it is. Did this really happen in my country? Recently I was introduced to a documentary called Red Cry, and it was a definite eye opener. I began researching, watching just about every documentary I could get my hands on, and my way of thinking has forever changed on holidays we celebrate, things we learned in school, and the false realities text books continue to feed us. It was just shocking. By no means will I go into those details, because that is not the aim of this blog post. What exactly is?
Many people have used the word holocaust to describe what happened to Native Americans. Am I one of them? Yes. Many people use the word genocide. Are they right? Yes. However, I am having trouble identifying why I find that this argument exists in the first place. Native Americans were hunted like animals, slaughtered despite their age, or sex, left dying, starved, and men were awarded metals for this insanity. Years later, Native children were removed from their homes, and put into “schools” whose mission were to “kill the Indian, save the man.” Children were beaten, raped, emotionally tortured, and murdered. They still continue to endure economic loss, and needs are ignored by the government. Are we shocked, really? Who cares what word we use to describe these horrific events? It is exactly what it is. A holocaust, a genocide, a persecution, and an extreme loss to America. I dare you to take your so-called knowledge to a Native, and tell them that what their family, and ancestors endured, and continue to endure was not in fact a holocaust. That is beyond disrespectful. You can not flip through a text-book written by our government, and expect to understand, or comprehend what these people endured. I can’t even comprehend it, and I never will. There is no competition to put a name on the sadness, suffering, persecution, loss, and murder that happened to our indigenous people. The knowledge of these events are not in text; The knowledge of these events died with those people.
Respect Native culture.