I can remember being a teenager, maybe 13 or 14 years old. I started getting deeply in tune with my Native American heritage. At that time, all that I really knew was that we were Creek Indian, and that it was a southeastern tribe. I enjoyed buying books that were about various aspects of Indian history. I enjoyed looking at the faces of the old Indian warriors, and chiefs, and reading their words of wisdom and reflection. When I looked into those faces, I saw a story that I told myself, which included pain, sorrow, and pride. I also saw such beauty in those photos, long hair, beautiful dark skin and outfits that I wished I had. I enjoyed having jewelry that had turquoise in it, silver that shimmered. I wanted to own a pair of moccasins.
As I got older, that heritage and its importance in my life stayed with me. I felt curious at various times about all aspects of my family’s history, yet the Native American roots felt most deep and true to me. I have always loved nature; I have always felt close with animal beings as well as humans, and enjoy being by the water, walking through the woods, and having my bare feet on the earth. More recently in my life, I have also enjoyed gardening, being out in the world, and walking in silence in the beauty of nature. I cherish Mother Earth and all that She offers up to me on a daily basis.
Back in my teens, the importance of my Native heritage seemed to be mostly because I knew it was part of where I came from. But even then, the depth of the meaning that it held for me was somewhere within.
Today, when I describe myself as a spiritual being, or what it is that I believe in terms of a power greater than my own, I often relate it to my Native roots. Whether it is the power of drumming and how it elicits such strong feelings within, or being by the water and taking in the beauty of it all. Or, even the omnipotence of the world that goes to sleep every fall, and reawakens each spring. I know that I don’t have to go far from whence I came, to know what it is that I believe.
And, I know now that I even knew back then, at the age of 14, that it was more than my lineage. Before I knew how connected I am to the earth, sky, and living creatures around me, I knew that there was something significant, special and deeply meaningful waiting for me within it. As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, my connection to my roots, and my spiritual path, will always bring me back to my Native heritage.