after a recent conflict with an indigenous person online, i realized once and for all that even if i did have a little bit of Lakota Sioux blood, that doesn’t actually make me indigenous. although i’ve reassured myself that, because i care deeply about the biosphere, the land where i am, and because i feel what might be called a spiritual connection with all life/Earth, that by no means makes me “indigenous at heart” or “indigenous in spirit.”
i might be a settler undergoing a self-induced process of decolonization, but i can never be indigenous, because i am a mixed person of European descent living on and profitting from stolen land. sure, my dad is a full-blooded Irish person and hails from Ireland; however i can’t consider myself an indigenous Celt because i wasn’t born and raised there.
i’m a settler in North America, and even in Ireland, where half of my blood was made, i am still technically a “blow-in,” or foreigner. should i choose to move there, i’d be a settler… to become anything but a plastic paddy would require some intense growth.
i feel somewhat in between worlds. American culture does not suffice. my understanding / experience with my two favorite cultures – Brazilian and Irish – are limited at best right now.
my life is part and parcel of the 21st century: cultural mixing, globalization – i left the US after undergraduate studies to get away from this country, to take a break from the madness – and it worked. i came back feeling “more at ease,” according to my dad. i became ever so slightly more Irish over there. i acquired a different perspective on life – take things more slowly, laugh more. embrace the craíc. overseas, i developed a filter that now, as a repatriated Californian, allows me to see my people and country with fresh lenses. i hear the accents. i understand better than ever what it really means to be a North American.
and more than ever, the injustices and problems in this country have become crystal clear to me.
my duty now for as long as i end up staying in the US, is to become a better white ally to people of color (poc), including indigenous people. i have to read theory, stories, ideas; learn constantly, and apply it. i need to think critically about my place in the world, my talents, my skills, and how best i see myself applying those in tandem with other like-minded individuals in the resistance movement.
one thing is for sure: i am exactly where i wish to be in North America: the San Francisco Bay Area, formerly Ohlone Indian territory.