Harlan McKosato: Meskwaki adoption keeps tribal tradition alive

"Personally, I love being Native American. It’s different than being an “ordinary” American. I was adopted recently by the Youngbear family from the Meskwaki tribe in Iowa. The Meskwaki (People of the Red Earth) are the Fox within the Sac and Fox. I am Thakiwa (People of the Yellow Earth), or Sac, so we’re close relatives. It was an honor to be chosen, and with it comes certain responsibilities.

This adoption is not a legal matter. It is a matter of the heart. I was put in place of a much respected man within the tribe, the late Dan Youngbear Jr., the grandson of the legendary Fox Chief Pushetonequa. Adoptions are a long-held tradition of many tribes and traditional tribal families, although many families have let this part of the past slip away.

I spent several days in Meskwaki country, getting to know the history of my relatives as well as their modern existence. I stayed at their luxurious resort hotel and casino, visited their settlement (or reservation), their powwow grounds, their museum and the Iowa River, and I visited with my relatives who came up from Oklahoma to witness the occasion."

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Harlan McKosato: Culture, tribal ways still matter (The Santa Fe New Mexican 9/2)

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