I received my "Spirit Names" (aka Indian Names) in a traditional naming ceremony at the Ponemah Lodge on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
My Mentor, Larry Stillday (Elder and Spiritual Leader of the Tribe), passed to me, all the names of my Great Great Grandmother, Shebahcumigoke. He explained to me that in my family, names were passed every other generation, "to remember who our ancestors were." This tradition was carried on for thousands of years.
I consider it a GREAT HONOR to be the FIRST IN MY FAMILY to
RESUME THIS NAMING TRADITION since the naming of my Great Great Grandmother who was born in 1858.
However, I am not a member of the Red Lake Band because I am considered to have a low blood quantum- 1/16 Native American.
How could I still claim to be 100% Anishinaabe?
I'll answer that by asking you to answer THESE QUESTIONS:
If you started a family tradition today which you intended for your family to carry on to remember what you taught them, to remember the teachings of your people which would help them live happier and healthier lives..... would you exclude YOUR own Grandchild if they were of a different skin color?
Does a different skin color make that child any less YOUR DESCENDANT?
What would you want for that child?
My answer ....
My Ancestors started a family tradition LONG AGO and it was interrupted by a people who didn't understand it. Their intention was to breed the "Indian" out of Native Americans by assimulating them into the white population, until their blood quantum was so low, they were no longer looked like or considered to be "Native Americans" at all anymore. Their intention was to STOP FAMILY TRADITIONS and eliminate the Native Culture & Beliefs.
Over thousands of years, I think the skin color of my family has probably changed and varied a few times. I do not believe my ancestors would care what color my skin is today. A tradition carried on for THOUSANDS OF YEARS is obviously an important one and that alone commands that it should be continued for at least a thousand more!
My Dad is a white man of scandinavian and german descent. My Dad would tell you that I'm pretty stubborn, I don't take orders well and in fact, he would warn ya that I will do the exact opposite if ordered to do something. He says,
I'm a Free-Spirit, just like My Mother.
Please see the info below defining Anishinaabe:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The meaning of Anishnaabeg is "First-" or "Original-Peoples". Another definition - possibly reflecting a traditionalist's viewpoint with a certain moral dimension - refers to "the good humans", or good people, meaning those who are on the right road/path given to them by the Creator or Gichi-Manidoo (Great Spirit). Ojibwe scholar, linguist and author Basil Johnston, who explains the name in a creationist context, states that its literal translation is "Beings Made Out Of Nothing", or "Spontaneous Beings", since they had been created by divine breath and were made up of flesh and blood and a soul or spirit - instead of rock, or fire, or water, or wind.
That definition sounds like a FREE-SPIRIT to me!
I was named in the Sweat Lodge in Ponemah, MN by Elder Larry Stillday. I was named all of my Great Great Grandmother's Names. Traditionally, ALL NAMES were given ONLY to the Descendant WHO FIT THE NAMES.
I am one of "the People."
I am 100% Anishinaabe.
I'm here to stubbornly inform you ...
SPIRIT HAS NO PRE-SET SKIN COLOR
SPIRIT HAS NO RACE
YOU CANNOT BREED THE SPIRIT OUT OF THE PEOPLE!
MY SPIRIT HAS NOT BEEN BROKEN...
I KNOW WHO I AM!
Anishinaabe Women were always very loving, strong, free-spirited and stubborn.
Anishinaabe Women were Always STRONG LEADERS.
A couple years ago, my Mother tried to get an application for me to apply for membership with the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. They would not give her an application saying that she did not have any descendants who qualified for membership. She asked for an application anyway, but did not receive one. I said, "It's OK Mom, with or without band membership, I KNOW WHO I AM, someday they will too!"
Jennifer Kruse, LMT CRMT