It’s weird, cause I don’t have an obvious non-white racial identity when viewed from 20 paces away. If you were right up in my face you would notice I have eye folds like Asians and some First Nations, and if you looked further you might notice I have a nose in the shape of most of my people (I honestly can’t describe it better than that). If you missed those you would at least notice the Native dolly on my left arm and the word CREE on my right knuckles. If you were accustomed to Native Canadian names you would recognize my last name is notoriously Cree.
And if you became my friend on Facebook it would become apparent that I post a lot about First Nations rights to land and water and life. And about Two Spirited people (which, sorry white folks, is only a term that applies to First Nations people). Anyway, no one tells me weird stuff like “Hey my cinnamon sister lez get it on” or some kind of shit like that. Or calls me a Buckskin Beauty. Or anything odd.
BUT I DO GET SOME WEIRD ATTENTION.
And I’m not sure how to talk about it, like “Ummmmm, I think you are fetishizing me and it’s really squicking me out can you not?” But it’s like white women who want to be part of the solution and I just don’t want to go to every demonstration they think I should care about because I don’t have enough spoons for demos these days. (See spoon theory for more explanation). Or like posting on my wall “Look at this horrible thing that is happening to your people omg that’s really sad you must be really sad about it.” Ok that last part has never literally happened. BUT SOMETIMES I feel like it does because it at least happens on my feed. Like sometimes people just get way too into posting about Native stuff and they are NOT Native and I’m kind of like “Really? WHY? WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?” Is this seduction through “I-understand-your-oppression-hi-how-are-ya?” There’s something kind of weird about it.
Which brings me to the question “BUT THIRZA how can I be an ally without weirding you out?”
Which is a very good question.
One is that if you are interested in dating someone and their race is how you are trying to get close to them. Stop. Just stop. Go do something else. My race, while a big part of my identity, is not all I am. I am also a struggling filmmaker. I am also a single owner of multiple dogs. I am a mental health consumer. I like going to movies, and not all of them are Native movies. I like BDSM. I like things that are nerdy too. I like sitting on my ass writing and drinking lattes and going for work dates where we write grants for things that might have nothing to do with me being Native.
But also if you AREN’T interested in dating someone and want to be an ally, here is my number one all time tip:
Don’t get into a thread war and tag your long suffering Native Facebook friend. Don’t post something on your page about something shitty happening to Natives and tag your Native friends and expect them to do battle with your ignorant friends.
Because I KNOW You have ignorant friends.
Don’t expect us to do all the work for you. Don’t expect us to educate you. And don’t expect us to enjoy having a feed filled with your good intentioned tragic Native stories commented on by your ignorant friends and family.