~~~~Wyandot River~~~~ rzs2011

Being Wyandot/Wendat  is like being a great river, like the Mississippi.

It starts out of the ground as a spring up in Minnesota you can hop across, but as it flows, more streams creeks and rivers flow into it so that by the time it reaches New Orleans its MASSIVE. but its still the Mississippi.

Do people say “You can’t call that the Mississippi anymore! Look at the color! Its includes all that run-off and the Missouri and the Ohio rivers!”

No, people still respect it as the Mississippi River in New Orleans.  People need to recognize us and respect OUR RIVER.

Without analogies, its difficult to explain cultural things to people.

They may feel natural and obvious to us, but to others we may seem to be pretending or claiming something that isn’t ours to claim.That’s totally understandable, we shouldn’t protest because we all despise fakes and abhor deceivers.

I remember as a young man being stump-blank-wordless when I was put on the spot by comments, about my own non-native physical looks, either at gallery openings, other events, and even from among members of my family. I really didn’t know what to say…was I supposed to apologize for who i was? Much hesitation or confusion was from my own ignorance about who my ancestors were and are. I’ve never sold myself as “INDIAN ARTIST” But, as Wyandot(te) tribal members who happen to also be artists, it automaticly slides us into categories along with other indigenous nations in America. I guess we’re gonna break all the stereotypes!

But to be fair,we need to explain at times in natural ways that are gonna stick, and hopefully educate people about just who we are, and why INDIAN stereotypes don’t work with us. I think its also good to explain in such ways that we’d feel the approval from our indigenous ancestors whose “river” we are from, with whom we identify ourselves with, and as we carry their sacred fire onward.

I think its good to have a sense of humor about it too.   In joking around, I sometimes refer to ourselves as  Whitendots . If we can’t joke about ourselves we’re weak. If we don’t look in the mirror and recognize how we look, we’re fooling ourselves, in denial, and “playing Indian” which is childish and everybody sees through silly projections.

We are Wyandot ,so lets BE Wyandot, reviving our OWN language, songs, cultural identity and ceremonies and not be tempted into “playing Indian”.


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