one...but old enough to pick up and
remember things... that while in the company of my grandmother,
grandfather, father and brother... my brother decided to ask
the forbidden question quite in innocence... that was...
"HOW DID YOU AND GRANDMOTHER
MEET"...here is where the very definite connection to Native
blood was first revealed.
My grandfather in a joking way, much to the horror of my grandmother,
stated in a half joking way, which grandmother did not find funny
at all... said..."WE MOHAWKS, KIDNAPPED HER FROM HER HURON
FAMILY," well that brought a immediate and extreme reaction
from grandmother, and had she not reacted in such a demonstrative way, I
would have never caught on. She immediately rose from her
chair, where normally she would sit never saying hardly a word, and
stated swearing at the men in French. Admonishing him for having
said such a horrible thing especially in front of the children, the
one with "little ears" (me)... she in just a few seconds of
this outrage did, as many as native women do... she totally silenced the
men who hung their heads low and dare not even breathe a word at that
point. In fact, for several moments... no one spoke a word. That was my first knowledge of being Native
It would be later down the road that all the
pieces came together. The Mohawks hated the Huron and kidnapping was
common place. In fact the Mohawks alone were single handed in
almost eliminating the entire Huron race. So, those early days of marriage to my
grandfather must of been quite the experience for her.
Now, I claim to be first Mohawk, then Huron (some call the Huron...
Wyandot now)... which it should be the other way around. However,
my grandmother as I explained earlier... hardly ever spoke, and when she
did... it was to the adults and would never directly address the
children except through the adults, unless there were no adults around
and then she had no other choice. So all I've learned was
basically through my grandfather and my father. This is why I say
I'm... first...Mohawk... then Huron. Although, I do honor both
traditions while at powwows.
You see while some tribes may always dance clockwise in the circle at
powwows, there are those who were showed in vision they must always dance counter
clockwise. So, when at powwows I do both. There are many who watch this
and who still
don't understand, they think someone died or
something like that... in fact, a couple of years ago while
attending a powwow out in Michigan, the emcee told all on the microphone
"WE ALWAYS DANCE CLOCKWISE AND TEACH OUR CHILDREN THIS"...
well I guess they never heard of ..."Me" and my traditional
way of dancing. Can you possibly guess what I did the very next
intertribal dance in the circle??? While doing so, I was rudely
approached while dancing even, by their head dancer and told..."I
WAS GOING THE WRONG WAY"... can you possibly guess what happened
then???? I'll leave it to your imagination and just say... that day they
all got educated... emcee, head dancer, powwow leaders. They were
also asked to correct what they had said earlier to all the public about
never dancing any other way but clockwise.
So you see, even among our own people, (NATIVES/ WANNABEE'S) Yes I did
say that... there is still ignorance... so never be afraid to ask
questions. Your not alone in not knowing or understanding native
traditions just because your "White". It's almost
impossible to know every tribal tradition and customs. There are among us
what is referred to as "Traditional" and
"Non-Traditional Indians"... and there are also "WANNABEE
Ask, watch, read and learn. Another thing to keep in mind: East of the
Mississippi and West of the Mississippi, traditions vary greatly. Eastern Woodland People
are a matriachial society, governed with the woman having all the say...
western Indians are the exact opposite. The
great American Constitution was initially founded on the eastern tribes
governing council rules, however, with one exception...THEY PUT MEN IN
CHARGE...which was not totally within the keeping of eastern tribal
governing rules. They modified, as even some Indians do today our
traditions. And, one wonders why we are in such a mess and why some
people are so confused with all of this.
I'm a traditional practicing Native American. Even within the
mixed company of my own.