What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me {Indian Country Today}

native american heritage month e1354362684593 What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me {Indian Country Today} race talk opinion  Native / American Indian identity

Image: Flickr / Anna Marie Gearhart

What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me

You know you come from a nation of oppression when a month has to be dedicated to your heritage. It’s the only way the rest of the country will remember how their freedom came to be, if they can see through the majesty of feathers, beads, and face paint. And with that note I want to share my experience with my identity struggle as a Lakota growing up on an Indian reservation (where I still live).

My mom raised me as an English-speaking Catholic. We lived off the reservation for a few years, tried to make it in American society, but eventually made our way back to the rez. We lived in California before we moved back, and I came home from school one day telling my mom how we played Indians and cowboys. She sat me down and told me I was an Indian and that I was born on a reservation and that’s where we were from. I was in the first grade and I had no idea. She told me I was an Oglala Lakota and she told me we had our own language and land…

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