Wannabe. Wasicu. Culture vulture. Weekend warrior. PODIA. Pretendian.
If you have spent any time trying to find a place in the world of the modern Native American, without the genealogy to back up your claim to that place, you have probably heard those terms. If you read Indian Country Today, you have probably seen some of these terms used. They are derogatory terms, intended to demean the individuals they are applied to.
People with Native ancestry more than two generations removed (less than 25% CDIB) generally receive a less than cordial welcome when they seek to [re]connect to their ancestry in the modern Native culture. The reasons for this may be well-deserved in the most general sense, but are usually applied preemptively and indiscriminately on the individual level.
It is well known that there are prophecies in many Native traditions that predict a time when the children of the colonizers will seek the wisdom of those traditions and seek to learn lifeways that are more connected to and respectful of the Earth and the web of life (all my relations). It is here that we are truly wannabes—we wannabe connected. But we ought to go about that in a proper manner.
This blog is intended to address this issue. It is hoped that this can be a place for dialog about how to achieve those connections in a manner that does not cast us in a negative light to any modern Native culture; a place to facilitate our efforts to find our place in the Native paradigm.
The blog title was deliberately chosen as a salute to that valuable resource, Indian Country Today, and to acknowledge that, while we have respect for the Native American culture and desire to assimilate their traditions and worldview, we have no birthright to them. We cannot demand a place in the Native community; we have to earn an invitation to that circle. But we are serious and sincere–we want to rise above the colonizer’s mindset and embrace the Native worldview and traditions. This is a place to talk about how to do this. This is a place to expose missteps we have made trying to do this. This is a place to talk about being a non-Native trying to find a place in a culture not his own.