My birth father was 1/4 Clatsop and grew up on a reservation on the Southern tip of the Columbia River. He taught me how to climb and repel trees, Earth, track animals, make and set box traps, fish/shore/ocean/ river, hunt, especially bear (my grandparents garage was filled with skins, my grandfather's father was a trapper and (and and his four brothers married four sisters, so by the time my birth father was 16 he had his Dad give him permission to join the Navy to get off the reservation where he had too many double cousins). His Mother's specialty was mincemeat made of bear.
Over the years he would introduce us to many Natives who also joined the military to get off their reservations, because reservation life SUCKS. His Mother was a Christian, and many Natives are Christians.
I think many people who are not Natives have romantic ideas about what being a Native is.. to me, Native American form of animal kindness is to kill it quickly. All of my uncles (I did not have any birth Aunts on either side) were very good at culling (the greatest gift you can give to an animal is to release it from it's life). And yes, I was taught knife skills, and how to dress an animal. And I admit, I like to hunt and fish.
I am glad I did not grow up on a reservation.
And whn my Father passed away, he had no funeral (Not a traditional practice).. but he did gift his tribe by naming them the benficiaries of an insurance policy.. doing his part, "bringing home the bacon"). Most Natives I know are Christians, and to this day, I know allot.. seems no matter where I go I can't escape the "res" either.
Want DP delivered to your inbox daily? Subscribe here: