Friday, March 06, 2009

Probably racist and definitely not cheerful.

When I was about 21 my adopted mom told me my birthmothers name. She also told me that she resembled Keely Smith, was about 15, and 'looked like some kind of Indian'.

That's my ethnic heritage in six words.

If you've hit my archives or been here awhile you know what kind of a life I had growing up, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that very, very early on I'd made the determination that I was going to have to do things on my own. And I did. I am about the alonest person you'll ever meet. I don't even have a race. Shit, I don't even have a pretend family of origin any more. The place I belong is 'not belonging'. And it actually doesn't suck.

It never meant anything to me one way or the other for years, being a member of the Somekindas. And then there was the fact too, that given my mothers limited and racist judgment, anyone darker than piggy pink who didn't have a 'fro probably looked like a Somekinda to her. I could be Sicilian.

You have to learn ethnicity. I learned mine from riding the #3 bus up Burnside seeing Indians passed out on the sidewalk. That was what I learned about Native Americans.

I wasn't one of these people. I don't even look like one of them. I look white. I know I look white because that's the first thing that everyone says when the find out that I'm not. The only thing remotely native about me is the faint hint of an epicanthic fold over my eyes. I could pull my hair back into a ponytail and wear a wolf sweatshirt and the only thing I'd look like would be an idiot with a ponytail in a wolf sweatshirt.

So I'm here on the brink of my 50's and I'm reading 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian' as a part of a county-wide library project. The idea is to meet in discussion groups at the end of the month and share our impressions. I'm not going to do that. I genuinely do not want to hear what a bunch of unemployed white ladies have to say about this book. I know what I think of this story: It's amazing and it broke my heart. Alexie is one of the best writers I've ever read. I can feel every page.

There isn't a single thing in it that I can relate to as a Native American. Not one. Not even if I knew for sure that I was Native American.

I wish I knew, and I hope I never find out. I need a fucking sandwich.

14 comments:

  1. Nations, first off I want to say you are Somekinda Blogger like we have never seen. You belong to this group for sure. *big warm hugs*

    On another and more scientific note, check out this link: DNA Ancestry Project. If you have the money, you can actually get a DNA test done to determine your ancestry. It is called genetic geneology.

    So if you ever really want to know, this is a way of getting the general picture. It won't tell you who you parents were but it will tell you your ethnic heritage.

    *hands Nations a sandwich*

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  2. What does a fucking sandwich taste like? Is it salty?

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  3. Ponita: ((()) backatcha!

    CB: it's one of those sandwiches you have to pry off your ankles all the time GOOD GRAVY MARIE woman you of all people should recognize a MODIFIER when you see one. (pulls paper bag of grammar shame over head)

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  4. I definitely look NOTHING on the outside like I feel on the inside (I am MUCH taller and younger inside). Having said that, years ago after reading "The Color Purple", and watching the movie, it was a shock to see white people...er...me? If I hadda put you in a genetic category I would guess and try Scandatalian. You got my vote, No Matta whut.

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  5. the only deal with the DNA project is they can say... "ok, you've got this portion of this region in your makeup". They can't specify whether or not you're NA or islander, it's all about the root ancestry.
    There was this story on NPR where this black blogger dude found out he was....NOT from Africa. At all. No blackness. Lots of European though. It was a good show, here is the linko:
    http://www.wnyc.org/flashplayer/player.html#/play/%2Fstream%2Fxspf%2F

    and this: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5207115

    not that I uh...wonder...about my genes and family history as your daughter, or anything, Ma.

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  6. Hells Bells woman, is it so bad to be a lone wolf? I don't even feel like I belong to the human race.

    But I still love the fuckers :)

    Especially winding them up.

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  7. Keely Smith is actually a wee bit Cherokee, isn't she?

    And surely it's better to be Somekinda something than 100% purebred ringpiece fucktard?

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  8. When I was a kid , we only had two cowboy outfits and one indian one . My brothers used to gang up on me and I always had to be the indian .
    Now you can join my tribe and we can scalp them palefacemotherf*ckers
    ***dances round beer crate totem pole ****

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  9. jaysus, sugar! i've always seen ya'll as indeterminately ethnic like me! *snickering* so, anyway, what kinda fucking sandwich are ya'll eatin? ;) xoxoxo

    (pulls paper bag of grammar shame over head)
    this cracked me THE.FUCK.UP!

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  10. You are descended from Cthulhu and hail from The Mountains of Madness. I can tell by your scaly skin and menacing claws, not to mention the wings and tentacly feelers you are attempting to conceal behind your back. And your breath smells of cheese, indicating that you have just consumed not a sandwich but a Canadian.

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  11. There is nothing like "pure race" on this earth, Doc Himmler found out.
    So we all are "Promenadenmischungen", what my dictionnaire translates with "mongrel", whatever that may be ... A fucking sandwich? Is that something like a threesome with Knudsen and Manuel, mayo, salat and Fry?

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  12. I LOVE Sherman Alexie. And I don't know what the hell I am either. Instead of thinking I'm white, people constantly ask me "What ARE you?" I have no idea. I usually tell them that I'm just white trash and none of us can really be sure who our daddies are.

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  13. Ah Keeley - one of first people I wanted to be.I love that, after being publicly dumped by Louis Prima, he ends up in a coma and she gets to play The Carlyle Room!

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  14. What the hell does it matter- you made yourself.

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