Did I ever tell you that I am part Tlingit? When I was younger, and my mom was still around, it was a heritage I was proud of, and I celebrated the fact, it made me feel special. I wrote many a term paper on my Tlingit backround, I went through a reading phase which solely consisted of Native American stories and creation stories likes this one.
My mom used to take my brother and I to powwows in the area, to potlatches and a Native American arts and craft workshop. I went to a Native-American camp for a week every summer (and have some of the best memories). I made my own dreamcatcher and started a beaded belt using a loom. My mom made me hand-beaded earrings. When my mom moved out, I felt a bit lost. Not only because I had lost a mother, but because I felt like I'd lost my connection to my heritage. To part of my history.
In highschool I made a half-hearted attempt to re-emerse myself by joining the Native American Student Union. We made elephant ears once or twice as a fundraising activity and that was that. But I wish I could go back and change things. I wish I hadn't walked away from who I was just because I am Tlingit because of my mother. I wish I lived in an area where I could continue my interests in Tlingit arts and crafts, where I could take a Tlingit dance class or traditional Tlingit basket-weaving like my favourite aunt does. But outside of Alaska, I'm sure it isn't possible.
So instead, I'll blog more about it, I'm going to learn more, raise my son to know where he came from, and hopefully save up enough money to buy something from AlaskanNativeArtists.com :)