I was raking my pea sized brain for something meaningful to post on the Blog when someone emailed me with this inquiry. As I was replying it occurred to me that this is a great source of interest to a lot of folks who simply do not know what to do about their natural need to know more about First American culture and what they might do as individuals to help correct the incredible wrongs being done to them by the white culture.
It has also occurred to me that many uneducated non- native people now think they have no further responsibility to the native community because all Native people are rich due to the fantastic riches provided by the gambling casinos! I am here to say this. These casinos by and large are being run by what we native people call Red Apples. Red on the outside, white on the inside. They are anything but traditionals and you by now know a traditionals opinion of a nontraditional First American.
These casinos are benefiting but a very few people and the rest of us are not or will not glean any benefit from ill gotten gains from a Non – Native community activity. In addition these casinos are only located in a select few locations and most of the native people live far away in areas that barely support the local wildlife to say nothing of supporting a large enough community of people to benefit a casino. On top of that in states like Montana , gambling is legal so there are as many corner gambling parlors as there are corner convenience stores making it all but impossible for a casino to survive.
So on to the question posted by this interested person:
“Hi, I am not a Native American but have always been interested and respected your ways as Native Americans. I was born & raised In London, England but my Parent's are Irish. I’ve been in the United States now for just over 5 years. Is it possible I could join some kind of Native American organization? I love the way you people are so wise and your prayers and the respect for the earth and people and Animals are wonderful. I would be honored if I could become part of your Native American ways. Thank you.”
Oki - First I must welcome you to the US. We hope that you bring more happiness than you seek.
In the First American world there is no "organization" other than possibly AIM that you could join. AIM "American Indian Movement" is a semi radical organization that after the incident at Wounded Knee has had their guts torn from them by the US government and now is simply ineffective as any kind of source for change in the US.
If you find any organization that claims its purpose is Native based you can bet that if you look at the originators, you will find a non native person at its inception. So much for any validity!
First Americans are a very reserved group of people by and large and do not organize for the benefit of non natives. This is not to say however that if you approach your cause in a correct way to the native people that they will not let you in. But it's a show me what you can do society where you have to prove yourself to them with not only right intent but also right action. There is no way to do that but to move close to them, become involved in their daily life and in some way provide a better way of life for them than what you found them in.
This does not mean learning and performing their rituals which any Tom - Dick - or Harry can do but it does mean, helping them in their daily fight for survival in some way. Do for them what you do for your own family and you will have instant friends for life. Otherwise you’re just another white man to them wanting to steal their culture.
Aho - Two Feathers