Monthly Archives: April 2022

I am Native, I am Mvskoke

Delegates from 34 Native Nations at the Creek Council House in Indian Territory, now called Oklahoma, 1880

We Are Native because We Are

These are present tense statements. Our connections to our Native Nations and Native communities are current. They are not something in the past or the distant past. They exist now.

I am Mvskoke because my mother Mona Lee Smith Rothschild is. She is Mvskoke because her mother Leola May Berryhill Smith, my grandmother is. My grandmother is Mvskoke because her mother, my great grandmother Jeanetta May Grayson Berryhill is, and because her father, my great grandfather Pleasant Luther Berryhill is, and ad infinitum.

It is the same thing with my next door neighbors. They are Cherokee because their father is. He is Cherokee because his father, their grandfather is. He is Cherokee because his father, their great grandfather is and so on through numerous great grandfathers and great grandmothers.

My children are Mvskoke because I am. My grandchildren are Mvskoke because their mother is. And so the future will go on further.

None of us are alone either. I come from a large family and I believe my neighbors do as well. I have many 1st and 2nd cousins either reconnecting or in most cases never left the embrace of our Tribal Nation.

All of us have great responsibilities to learn, grow, and teach others, now and in future generations. In person, remote, and digitally documented. Digitize, digitize! Speak it, show it, write it, type it, scan it, photograph it, video it and share it all.

Waking up from the effects of genocide

This is what genocide, colonialism, and assimilation do. They disconnect survivors from our Native Nations and Native communities. They turn our collective focus and growth into scattered individuals with no connections rather than nourishing vibrant communities; rather than connecting citizenry of Native Nations that existed for tens of thousands of years at minimum, way before the United States or Canada. They slowly and sometimes invisibly burn our Native Nations and Native communities down to nothing or next to nothing.

Our ancestors are not prehistoric people either

I saw on Twitter today a post where a skull was found in a construction site in Oklahoma and of course, it was a prehistoric skull. Just one example of the relentless, uncountable and never ending dehumanizing minimization of Native lives. History didn’t start in North America when white colonizers came. Geesh.

We are whole and not fractional people

Colonizers of course, did everything they could to kill every Native in North America. When all was nearly done and colonizers were coveting the final pieces of Native land, they invented blood quantum. To this day Native peoples are categorized by the government as to what fraction of a whole Native they are. No other group have their ‘pedigree’ measured. Yet we are human beings, not dogs or horses; we are never a partial person. Still, colonizers think nothing of minimizing our humanity and of reducing our Native being to inevitable mathematical disappearance.

Truth be told, there are only 2 valid measurements of Indigeneity, either 100% or 0%. There is no in-between or fractional state. A person is either all Native or they are not Native at all. Native Nations and Native communities decide who is Native, not colonizer governments or non-Native people.

Thank the Creator

Our Nations have woken up. There is a great return and indwelling of citizens back to the Native Nations and Native communities. Thank you Creator.

Yes, there is much work to do, but I do believe the future is bright for Natives, Native Nations and Native communities.

Thanks!
–Yehuda

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