Posted by Native Carolinian (other posts) on March 15, 2018 at 03:08:20 Previous Next
I was having long hair for traditional reasons as an Indian. I am not traditional religion of my Indian people. However, in the interest of not causing confusion to other people who are not traditional religion and do not understand that as an Orthodox Christian, I am permitted to have long hair, I cut it. This was in the interest of not hurting them or causing them any harm. If the situation were different, I would keep it. I cannot. I support the idea of long hair for those who want to have it and do not have cultural reasons to cut it. I found that I did. It is a highly nuanced life as an American Indian. Not that other people do not have a highly nuanced life, but there are multiple cultures that I must thread every time I meet some one.
People who follow the traditional religions often have long hair for their religious reasons. As an Orthodox Christian, I am permitted to have it and there are ways of carrying my cultures into the Church. However, in being an Orthodox Christian, I do not lose my tribal/people affiliations. I am not enrolled but speak 3 American Indian languages, so I am multiple people at multiple times. One of the peoples does not do traditional religion, but in two others some do and long hair often times shows that. In order not to cause confusion to other people who are weaker in their faith from my peoples, I decided to cut my hair. I have had the blessing of being able to talk to multiple persons from the peoples whence I come, and I have been acknowledged by them, so I am not ashamed of who I am, but want to be clear to them also about my identity.
I am glad to have been able to "talk" with all of you over the last few years. I will be here on and off I think, but I will not be posting about myself as I now do not have long hair any more. This was not done in anger and nobody really pressured me to do this. In the future, if the situation is clarified, I will probably grow my hair out again. I was doing it for mainly cultural reasons. Now that I know that there are higher faith and cultural reasons to not have long hair for me in my situation, I am not having long hair. Long hair does bridge the gap between traditional Indian living to mixed modern and traditional Indian living. I am mixed modern and traditional Indian living. I am traditional in everything except faith, where I am an an Orthodox Christian. Since I am a 4/4, American Indian Orthodox Christian, I need to be able to be myself and show my peoples who I am. As an American Indian Orthodox Christian, I can eat traditional food, use traditional clothing (as long as it does not have too much of a traditional religion connotation), I am pretty sure I can do Calumet as long as it is in a Orthodox setting and not one of traditional religion, play our games and sports, speak read and write our languages, use traditional methods of keeping time (I was taught to use the Sun for a clock and to watch the animals for behavioral changes to watch for changes in the weather such as bird migration), use traditional navigation skills (was taught how to use terrain etc), I can hunt and track (I was taught how to track by my dad), and much more. So in many ways, I can carry my cultures forward using our traditional knowledge to live a healthy full life as an Orthodox Christian.
Since I speak my languages, the enrolled people I have met believe me. I speak an Eastern Algonquian language, Cherokee (both Giduwa and Otali dialects), and a Seminole Dialect of Muskogee Creek that is older since my family did not do the Trail of Tears with much of the Muskogee Confederacy. These are my first languages. I take pride in speaking them and being an unenrolled Indian. If I did not speak my languages, I probably would not take much interest in the languages and my cultures. However, since I do speak them, I take an interest in getting connected with enrolled people in an effort to have community, even if I will never be enrolled in their tribes. It is a half-way house thanks (not really thankful at all, just using the expression) to the Federal Government and the Colonial Office (Bureau of Indian Affairs). If it were up to us, there would be our separate countries yet and the map of the U.S. would look a lot different.
In any case, thank you for all the help over the years. I have nothing against any of you, and nothing against the non-cultural imperialists in the U.S. Based on how I have gotten to know all of you, I do not see anyone on the board as a cultural imperialist.