The other day I was introduced to a woman by a friend. who told her that I did Medicine Wheel Circles. The woman got a far off look in her eyes and responded by saying that she knew a Metis man who did the Medicine Wheel circles. I knew full well that she was judging me right off the bat... knowing that she did not see me as Aboriginal because of my white skin and brown hair.. She even said accusingly, "You don't look Metis", as if being Aboriginal had everything to do with being a wheelkeeper. The Wheel does not belong to any culture, it comes from the Earth, from Nature. All our Ancestors were Earth-based, all cultures on this planet once lived in harmony with natural and cosmological laws.
And there are many Native people who have blue eyes, blond hair and white skin. Metis is a word which means "Mixed Blood". When the white man first came to Turtle Island many of them married Native women. The progeny of this union were treated as outcasts by both Natives and Whites, hence they gathered together and the Metis Nation was born. Today Metis are considered to be Aboriginals. My background is Cree, Chippewa, Irish and French, with bits of Lakota and Scottish in the mix. Is anyone truly just one thing these days?
I have met Native people who are more white in their ways than Native, and White people who are more Native than many Aboriginals. I have experienced prejudices and judgments due to my appearance by people who don't even try to get to know me. I have had Native people threaten me for following and teaching Aboriginal Traditions - and White people gossip about me as if I were some kind of odd creature.
Metis people continue to be caught between two worlds. I am a bridge, a link between cultures, having the best of both worlds. Not being brought up with traditional teachings, I had to search long and hard to find my path and purpose. It was not something I chose, it was a calling that I had no choice but to answer. I explored many other religions, cultural traditions and spiritual paths, but the Red Road nourishes and sustains me the best. Even when I went off my path, I always came back again.
In all of this time I learned that it is not how a person looks, the color of their skin or even where they were brought up. I did not live on a Reserve, I was brought up in a small town in a Christian family. I loved going to Church and feeling the Christ love in my heart, but something was missing for me, until I stumbled onto the Red Road.
If we can get past our projections, expectations, judgments and stereotypes - we can see each other from a deeper, soul perspective. Until we take time to get to know someone, it is good to be empty and open to experiencing them as individuals and listen to their stories. When we immediately lump people into categories, we are depriving ourselves of a deeper connection. It seems that people need to label other people and things in order to feel comfortable, to feel like they know something about them.
With the Moon of Inter-relations coming up this next Full Moon, on December 2, I plan to practice being open to the experiences of everyone that I meet and not put them in a box! I hope to be still enough to withhold making judgments and allow them to be who they are without the labels that limit and close the door to deeper learning and inter-connections.