This is a form letter of sorts. First I'd like to explain what happened to my email address that used to be on the first page. When I created this page and put it out on the net it was before the internet was common (before having a computer at home was common for most). I didn't expect that I would get much email from the page, it was just out there for information - possibly to inspire interest and share what I knew and had recently been learning about Ojibwe people. I had time at a computer (I answered phones at a large super computer company), and between calls I was learning about the ability to communicate over the internet. The only thing I really expected to get email about was if one of my links wasn't working :-) Anyhow, I haven't been able to keep up with all the questions I get, and honestly, many of them I'm not able to help with. I didn't major or minor in Native American history or government, I don't have any experience (and don't really know who to contact or how to go about) finding past geneology. Most of what I know is contained on the pages. It's been almost 10 years since my 2 years of Ojibwe Language classes. It's really cool to see the responses ofchildren wanting to find out about the past and present of the Native American people. It's great to see that many people are now wanting to know about where they and their ancestors lived and how they lived and where their distant relatives are now. But leaving my email address on the page is only to leave a lot of people hanging and feeling "stood up" because I just don't have the time or expertise to answer them.
On to who I am. I grew up in a mainly Scandinavian/German/white-European suburb. I was raised mostly with Native American values/characteristics, although it has been a couple of generations beyond where a person could tell by looking at me where some of my genes came from. I've always been a quiet person, and was teased a lot at school about not talking very much (a characteristic valued by - or at least one that did not trouble - my extended family, but something not understood - and seen as a self esteem problem by the rest of the culture around me). I did grow up with self esteem problems, but ones that were caused by not being accepted and understood at school. I don't hold it against anyone - they were only using the values of the culture they knew to interpret what they didn't know. In the reverse, I would guess that a white person, or a Native American with a talkative personality type would probably have a hard time in a Indian community (they'd say, he or she "talks too much"). (This may not apply to some tribes, different tribes have different cultural characteristics).
My grandma was part Cherokee/Creek, and she grew up in Tennessee. I don't know any of the language, my grandpa, who I never met, (he died of TB when my mom was 15), didn't like to hear about "that Indian stuff", and somewhere along the line before my grandma, (her father or grandfather) had written on his army papers that he was white - probably thinking it would be better for future generations that way.
My experiences with Native American people (besides my extended family who I observe to be more Indian than White culturally), include spending a week each summer for seven summers at an relatively isolated Ojibwe Indian Village in Canada, and 2 years of Ojibwe language at Bemidji State University, friendships from Bemidji, and experiences of going to pow-wows.
It's been several years since I took the language classes and I have not been speaking it, so I've forgotten a lot. However, I can still understand some simple things - words and common phrases. I love the sound of the language - I've heard it described as sounding like listening to rippling water. Also I love the way the language is put together - the way thoughts are put together to communicate ideas.
I believe, as the essay states, that most importantly one must respect the Creator. I believe that he reveals himself to people in many ways. I also believe that the Bible is an accurate account of this Creator revealing himself in history to the Mesopotamian peoples, but is meant for all humanity, as was his sending his son into this world. I believe those that are seeking truth will find it, and a day will come when our confusions over details will be cleared up. What we agree on is that a spititual world exists and we are part of it, and that the Creator is about respect, peace, relationship, living right, guidance and love, and that cruelty, power and control come from somewhere else. Also, that spitituality has to do with an individual's heart, relationships, and choices, not with any organization. mii iw.