An Indian Heritage

My learning has been a long and hard road, but it is what I consider a growing process that never ends. Through the years of studying my husband's Native American Heritage, I have learned to accept things that I might have never accepted without knowing the truth. With each new learning experience, I find a new heart and spirit within myself. This year, that learning was put to the test.

I no longer question who or what I am due to the fact that I have found my path in life as some will never find. In the process, I have learned that one does not have to be Indian to feel the spirit and heart of the Indian people. As I am living proof of that Native heart and spirit.

Though most know me as Anita, I am known to my husband and special friends as Morning Star. The way I feel inside was put to a test that has shown me that one is the way one feels, not so much as how one appears to be. I'm a person above all else, with feelings that can be hurt and with a lot of love for the people who know me.

I cannot explain the test that I have recently been through, as most people would never understand. But what I can do is this:

  1. Shine a light of love that reflects the Native American way of life that all should know we are not a terrible people.

  2. Give of myself just as my husband's ancestors did when a new people came to live in this land.

  3. Teach those who wish to learn what I have learned about the Indian people.

  4. Give thanks to our Creator (God) for the abilities to help others through the Internet in order to help them learn and grow as I have.

I, like many, use to believe that if you believed in anything differently than what was taught, was the wrong way of thinking. This is no longer true, as I have seen many different ways and types of believing in any given thing. It's not what or how one believes in any given thing, but that we believe. Whether it is believing in God or the Easter Bunny, we as a people must believe it in our hearts, as well as in our minds. That is the most important part of believing in anything, and this includes oneself.

In my heart, I am American Indian from the things that I've learned and have come to love. I was once asked by an Uncle, who had passed on shortly after his question, "You've turned completely Injun on me haven't you?" In reply I answered, "Yes, Dear Uncle, I have." At the time, I didn't realize just how much this answer was true. Today, I can tell you that I believe that statement in heart, soul and mind. Does this make me less of a person? No, but it does make me a part of a beautiful relationship with the world around me.

Shortly after discovering that my heart was changing and going through what I call my test of time and faith,  I decided to revise some of the writings I have posted on this web site. This is the page I have done first. As I learn and grow with that learning, I have discovered that I really don't need to drive home some things any longer. I'm not Indian by birth, but I am Indian at heart and in spirit through learning and doing as I learned. Today, if someone would ask me who I am, my reply would be, "I'm a human, who can love, hurt and be happy with who and what I am."

The one question that I continue to get and will always be asked, "Do you regret learning the Blackfoot way of life, religion and ways?" The answer is simple for me, "No, because it has taught me that I can be who I am and still love another way of life." You see, life is not always as we've been taught as a child, and there are different ways in all of us. We each have a unique quality about us that makes us our own person and gives us our own special personality. With me, friends and family were picking up a difference in me long before I knew it was there.

Another question that I am often asked is, "Are you Native American?" My answer to this most of the time is, "Yes, but only through my husband." Through my test of time and faith, I learned something about myself that I never knew was there, a longing to feel a sense of belonging. In the American Indian culture of the Blackfoot, I have found that belonging. For years, I had been seeking knowledge that would set me free and give me meaning. And now I have found it. I do not think that I am someone that I'm not, nor do I think that I ever can be. But the feelings deep within me are of love for a people that my husband is a part of for life. I married him out of love and respect, but got back much more than I ever expected. I got a new way of thinking, living and caring. And it is a wonderful feeling to know who one is at heart. Yes, I'm not an Indian by birth, but I am an Indian at heart and in spirit. That is what our Creator will look at in the end, not how I do as a person, but how and what I believe in my heart and spirit.

If someone would ask me about the culture and why I have chosen to live by it, the answer would not be so simple for me. There are many reasons I've chosen the path that I have in the Blackfoot culture. There is no one thing that makes me want to be who I am today. There is no one thing that attracted me to a way of life that I have come to love and respect. There is no simple answer to this question for me except that I am who I am, and I love the person that I have become through learning. The simplest answer to this question for me would have to be, "I learned through experience of rejection and uncaring by many who could not understand my longing to belong. I started learning the Blackfoot culture because I wanted to know for myself the truth and a different way of life. And in the process, my heart was changed for good."

 

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