Gyasi Ross: Skin relationships with white folks
"Skins tend to have interesting and complex relationships with white folks. Generally, we hate them or love them – we’re rarely indifferent. And the relationships with white folks are not always predictable. The Skins whom you most expect to have a good relationship with white folks – the half-white, half-Skin college sophomore, for example – is often the one who most loudly and aggressively asserts their dislike for “the white colonizer.”

And the former revolutionary full-blood from the remote rez (who comes from a long lineage of hereditary chiefs) is often the guy with the white wife who lives in the nice predominately white suburbs of Seattle or Denver. This former revolutionary also tends to be very neighborly – he always has a very tasteful x-mas light display and keeps his lawn well-manicured – in between Columbus Day protests.

Back home, there was always mixed feelings toward white folks. I grew up thinking that “white” was a curse word, because my aunties would always say it under their breath when they used it in a sentence. My aunties, by the way, are amazing story tellers, and with their hushed tones and furrowed brows they can make anything sound scandalous (“You know that he’s really white”).

“He’s a Napikwon.”

Come to think of it, I wonder if they used those hushed tones when they talked about me. After all, I do have a little bit of German blood in me on my dad’s side. The German comes out when I wear lederhosen."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Any tribal job a Skin can get, a Napikwon can get easier! (Indian Country Today 7/20)

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Gyasi Ross: Fancy Skins and non-fancy Skins (6/15)