A few months back, I wrote a post about my Chicana identity in which I talked about feeling out of place. While it is a valid struggle, it is one that is of little importance compared to others. At the time of writing said post, I was not fully aware of some issues within our community. These issues are the kind you know happen but don’t fully realize the extent if you have been living a privileged life. While I still claim the label of Chicana, there are undoubtedly some issues within our community that need to be addressed. The main problem I want to focus on right now is the appropriation of indigenous cultures.
Though our ancestors may have been indigenous, that does not mean that we are entitled to that identity. We can learn about them, but we must remember that we no longer can claim that identity. Not when if it has been centuries since your family has been associated with them. Not when there are people that face injustice for being part of those tribes. Claiming indigenous identity is like when a white person claims to be African after their Ancestry.com result tells them they are 2% Nigerian. If you are going to claim back your indigenous roots, at least make sure you have the correct group.
I understand wanting to connect with your indigenous roots. I would love to learn more about my indigenous side. Randomly putting “indigenous” on my Instagram bio, start wearing their clothes, and buying sage from Urban Outfitters is not the way to go about it. If you want to embrace this part of you, make sure it is not just for aesthetics. Make sure that you care about what indigenous communities are going through and are actively being an ally.