I am Hawaiian, Chinese and Haole. Whenever I am asked who I am I say I am Hawaiian, Chinese, Haole. At one point, when I was still small, I wouldn't acknowledge the Haole part, haole being my English, Jewish and potentially Irish descent. This would make my mother cry because essentially I wasn't acknowledging her mother or father who both have European descent. I love my mother and my father, this may not be everyone's case, but I love my mother and my father so I am Hawaiian, Chinese, Haole.
We have issues in our Native communities, we have issues in our communities. Even more importantly we have issues, personal issues, and we need to deal with them internally before we project them on others in our families or communities.
Below are 5 Actions All Natives can do to realize our own Awesomeness.
1. Own our personal experiences.
We all have our own journey, our own experiences. Not everyone has grown up with their elders, myself included. Not everyone even gets to grow up with their birth families. Some of us learn how to fish, hunt, do traditional crafts, learn bush/ocean survival skills and some of us learn our culture, or are at least introduced to our culture's through school (guilty here). The vicious part in our communities is when we start to compare our personal experiences to others (I have definitely been there, and still working through this tunnel). We need to identify our personal strengths and work with those strengths. We each have strengths in different areas and this is what makes our communities resilient. To be resilient personally, and in a community, we need to value our personal experiences, good and bad.
2. Compare ourselves to ourselves from yesterday (not the external environment).
After we start to value ourselves and our experiences the next action item is to keep the internal view going. Are we better than we are today from yesterday? Keep the focus on the inside. Do you know who you are? Do you know who you want to be, as a Native person? The only person who can define your "native-ess" is you. The only person who can value your "native-ness" is you. When we identify what experiences have built our character, what type of character we would like to build and what we can envision this character journey to go...we are all the more better to make ourselves resilient as part of an interdependent community.
3. Volunteer in a community we identify with, or would like to identify with.
I came home from school in North America, it was a hard time where I didn't really know what was going to happen or who I was. My mother was tired of me mopping around the house, so over it she just yelled at me "go volunteer!". I was taken aback by this, I didn't know what I wanted to do, I don't even know what I did but when I feel disconnected from community I volunteer. I have volunteered with planting trees, cleaning up streams, helping a friend move, dry dock for voyaging canoes and all sorts of things. These volunteer opportunities have allowed me to a part of a wider and diverse network, a network that is now one of my strongest supporters today.
4. Eat traditional foods, or learn and at least taste your traditional foods.
Not sure what your traditional foods are, get on google! I am Hawaiian and foods that comfort me when I am sick or need to feel home are poi, kalua pig, pipikaula, laulau and beverages like kookoolau and mamaki teas. These are foods that bring me back home, give me a clean feeling and allow me to share food with people I want to connect/reconnect with. Eat traditional foods of our lands. Make traditional foods available to our families. Plant traditional foods, in the ground, in a pot, as an ornamental and watch yourself grow.
5. Identify what makes us 'feel' Native.
I had an epiphany a few weeks ago when I was paddling with a recreation crew. I have had the honor to paddle, sail, currently learning to dance hula, learned some Hawaiian language, how to cook food in an imu (underground oven), dabble in cleaning fish and learn some chants and traditional stories but none of these actions makes me Hawaiian. None of these actions makes me Hawaiian, makes me feel Hawaiian nor will I ever hold above someone else's head that I am more X than the next because I have had those experiences. But the thing that makes me 'feel' Native, a Native Hawaiian, is participating in these communities. Participating in these communities have taught me how to work within a Hawaiian community and that is what makes me feel Hawaiian. Working in a Hawaiian community makes me Hawaiian. It is what allows me to identify as being a Hawaiian, this is defined by myself and not other people. Identify what makes you feel Native, own it, be righteous with it and although this may be perceived as a 'humble brag' you actually don't have to advertise what makes you feel Native.
Go be a fucking awesome Native, an awesome person and an even more awesome community member. Native people's are interdependent, we are an interdependent society. When we are at our best, our communities have the opportunity to be our best.
is related to my N8v doctoral lifestyle journey