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Reclaiming Unity: A Personal Journey through Native Identity and Unity

The journey of self-reclamation is something deeply personal yet universal. The path isn't always easy; there are times of struggle and grief, but also moments of joy and celebration. Remember, you're not alone on this journey.

I grew up feeling like I didn't fit in. My young, single Mexican-American mom was still figuring out who she was, which made it even harder for me to find my own identity. I felt a disconnect within my family and my friends. Caught in a cultural limbo, I didn’t feel "American enough" or "Mexican enough" and my limited Spanish didn’t help me. Adding to this sense of alienation, my Guatemalan father abandoned me in infancy and took his own life when I was 22.

Because of these challenges, there are moments when old wounds resurface. This is where a new layer of healing can happen. These times call for introspection and a renewed commitment to healing.

Early this morning, I felt an old yet familiar feeling of inadequacy. I felt like an unwanted, orphaned child. I was overcome by sadness, fear, anger, and confusion in that liminal space between sleep and wakefulness. Acknowledging these emotions, I felt my feelings, I shared with my partner and then I put pen to paper to let my inner child speak. This catharsis brought me back to a conversation with a sister-friend who had reminded me of the trauma that descendants of indigenous people carry. This shared pain resonates with many of us, survivors of trauma who can sometimes feel like that child cast aside, with a unique shade of sadness and anger that breeds a feeling like there is not enough for all of us, not enough space at the table for us all to be seen and cared for too.

Being of Native descent often entails a shared narrative of pain, or at times, numbness. But by acknowledging these feelings, we pave the way for collective healing. We reclaim our identities and embrace the unique strength that being a remascendant offers. A remascendant is a resilient descendant of Native ancestors. Despite enduring the effects of colonization, we stand ready to reclaim our native roots, ancestral wisdom, and inherent magic.

The healing process uncovers new layers, like peeling an onion. We won't instantly feel healed or perfect. The process is hard but necessary and beautiful. We do it for our lineage, for ourselves, and for the joy and liberation that await us on the other side. By acknowledging, shedding light on our shadows and integrating them into our experience, we initiate the process of healing. This is how we put ourselves back together, heal and reclaim all our pieces. Only when we are whole, healthy, and in harmony can we be in our power, able to usher in a new culture, a new world, a new earth.

As descendants of those who once roamed the Americas freely, Native, Brown, Remascendant people are often boxed into categories with little effort made to unite us. Today, we're frequently perceived as foreigners or second-class citizens. This disparity exists regardless of whether you're privileged with American citizenship or grew up south of the US border, facing restricted freedoms and limited access to the so-called "American dream." This dream is only accessible if certain standards and rules are met. And even then, many are unjustly exploited due to their inability to work "legally," often falling into low-wage, menial jobs. Each time I drive through upscale neighborhoods of LA and witness brown men laboring in the yards of sprawling mansions, I can't help but feel a lump in my throat. I find myself pointing this out to my partner, who often seems like my sole ally in these moments. He hears me, truly understands me, and gets the depth of my feelings.

Even with my privileges, I also recognize the unique disadvantages I've faced due to my upbringing. While my appearance may pass for "white," my experiences of growing up tell a different story. My feelings of displacement and alienation didn't match my exterior. Regardless of the environment, whether among gangsters at family gatherings or amidst the middle-class students at school, I never felt secure or like I truly belonged. The reasons why many Native men find themselves drawn to gangs is a complex issue I won't go into here. However, it's worth mentioning that this unfortunate reality for many is deeply rooted in the effects of colonization.

Despite being a significant part of the population, Native people are vastly underrepresented in media, politics, and business. This imbalance contributes to systemic biases and disparities in health, education, and economic opportunities.

It's time for us to stand together, to feel whole, healthy, and harmonious within ourselves, and to extend this unity to the world. When we witness our Northern Native American kin being represented and uplifted, it's easy to applaud their progress, yet it can feel like looking at a distant reflection, rather than seeing ourselves reflected in them. This lack of unity perhaps stems from a culture that is unwelcoming towards those born south of artificial borders. It might also stem from a fear of our unity — the acknowledgment of our similarities could lead to an unruly, uncontrollable, and immensely powerful collective force. If we truly recognized our similarities, if we truly united as a people, it would disrupt the status quo. After all, in unity, we would be a formidable force, our collective power amplified beyond measure. Unity comes with recognition—recognizing our similarities, acknowledging our shared heritage, and standing UNITED against systemic disadvantages.

We deserve an extended family, a sense of belonging. This is why I share my story. If you resonate with my experience, know that you are not alone. As remascendants, we share a common history of colonization, trauma, manipulation, and loss. But we can transform these shared experiences into a powerful voice that amplifies our collective worth.

It's time to build our own table. A place where we, as Native Remascendants, are seen, represented, supported, and celebrated—not as fill-ins, but as esteemed guests.

I invite you to join the United Natives Movement—a beacon of unity, remembrance, and empowerment. Connect with your roots, heal from colonial trauma, and honor the wisdom of our ancestors. Share your journey of healing and how you celebrate your ancestral magic by using #UnitedNativesMovement AND @UnitedNativesMovement to amplify this movement! Together, let's undertake this reciprocal journey of reeducation, reindigenization, and cultural recreation. We can create a ripple of transformation and healing that reverberates through our communities and across the world. Our worth is not defined by societal standards but by the power and resilience of our shared heritage and inheritance. United, we rise!

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