Monday, July 5, 2010

All in the Family

A couple of months ago, I found out that I am part Cree Indian. When I got this news, I immediately felt as though a hole inside of me had been filled. I always knew that something was missing and now I understand why.

Although my husband would disagree - because I change my mind a lot and I look awful with bangs - I kind of feel like having a tribal wolf tattooed on my forehead, or something. I'm still Team Edward, girls, don't worry: This is about something else, altogether. This is about being totally excited about a recently discovered heritage. I've got a whole lot of German in my background and I'm French,English and Irish, too. But I had already known about all that.

The Indigenous thang is all-new to me.

For some reason, my daughter has decided that being Sicilian is what it's about. Her dad is half Sicilian and she has decided that she is made up of mostly that half of him. I can't entirely disagree: She tans like crazy and can put down more pasta than the Super Mario Brothers. Peanut's not quite as thrilled about my discovery. She's content to work at her Auntie's booth at the Italian festival, wearing her red, white and green hat; indifferent to the rest of her DNA.

My son and I have square feet, sort of like Fred Flintstone. Super sexy image, I know. If you put his left foot by my right, it looks like one set of different-sized feet, except that the smaller one doesn't have a little flower carefully painted on I don't usually like thinking about feet, but I think this might be some of the reason that he is diving into the whole "being Indian" thing, with more gusto than his sister.

Now that I have children, I think about my ancestors a lot more than before. I've always had a dusty, halfway sort of interest. Now I really want to know where I've come from - where we've come from. I'm lucky, because part of my family history is still around: My great - grandmother is still living. That means that my children have a great - great - grandmother. Nana danced in the conga line at my wedding.

She celebrated her 100th birthday, last October.

Generations gathered to revel in her accumulation of decades: There was something really amusing about hearing a one hundred year old woman being called "Mother", by her children. Keep in mind that her three children were in their eighties, themselves. There was a huge cake - thankfully they withheld the candles, or there may have been a disaster. I can barely manage to extinguish my birthday candles and I am- well, quite a bit younger than Nana. My sister created a beautiful slideshow, which made everyone simultaneously have an allergy attack (*wink*). I made a photo album of Nana's life for her gift, but the centenarian and the octogenarians brought it home to Mother's house and promptly forgot where they put it. Stuff like that happens when four people's combined ages equal around three hundred and fifty-five years.

It's still missing.

Knowing where you've come from is important. It helps you decide where you are going. And I think I am going to buy a dreamcatcher and learn to speak Algonquin, which is the language that the Cree people of my family spoke. It might take me a while - but I've got sustainable genes, so I've probably got close to seventy years to do it.

On second thought: I don't think Nana is a fan of McDonald's and Taco Bell, like I am. I'm pretty sure that she doesn't add five Splendas to her coffee every morning, either, so I might have considerably less time than I've estimated.

September, 1985

My ancestor's came from England, Ireland, France, and Germany. My grandmother just came back from visiting my great grandmother. My grandma just went to Germany before crismas '84 and when my mom was young, she went to France, my friend Samantha just got back from England. Her grandmother lives there. Know one I know went to Ireland, except my friend, Rachel, who is mostly Irish. I have lots of ansestors still living, like my great grandmother, my great uncle, my great aunt, and a great cousin, Lot's of them, most of them are really old, and they just sit and watch t.v. But my greta grandmother goes out to lunch and shopping, and shopping and shop, shop, shopping. My great grandfather is dead, he used to fly and airplane across the street from the house at the airport.

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