Over the last few months, Missy and I have been gathering information and filling out paperwork for my boys. The reason for this gallant effort on our part is the hope to secure an Indian Degree of Blood Card for the boys. The boys and I are descendants from the Muskogee People, better knows as the mighty and humble Creek Nation.
My grandmother, Okema Randall, on my father’s side, was the last full blood Creek in our family. Because she and her descendants married non-Native people, that makes me one-quarter Creek and the boys one-eighth. This process has been fascinating, looking back at my family, their roll numbers, and reflecting on our family’s history (My aunt deserves much of the credit for keeping our Creek History up-to-date).
When I started this process and people discovered what I was doing, it was always the same response. They would say with an excited voice, “Wow, that’s great! You guys can get some money for school and free medical treatment.” Now, I have to admit that did cross my mind and has been an incentive for filling out the mounds of paperwork. However, as I read the names of my ancestors and wrote them on the paperwork, something else began to take over.
Instead of dreaming about scholarships and free medicine, I began to dream about how our Native ancestors connect with future generations. Now, our family has skeletons in our closets like every other family, but we also have a great sense of pride for where we have come and where we are going. From my great-grandparents to the next generation of our family, the Creek blood that flows through our veins is important.
We attempt to maintain a connection to our culture through education and experience. We celebrate the traditions of our ancestors, but look forward to a rising tide of emerging new Native American generations. The Muskogee people come from a deep rooted culture and tradition, but the new generation of Creeks are evolving. This does not mean they are abandoning their cultural heritage, but they are making strides in the world before them.
We have family in this emerging generation that are achieving great things in the world, like my young cousin, who is attending Oklahoma State University and interning in places like our nation’s capital. My boys and nieces have the world before them with opportunities abounding. I am confident they will go long distances and reach great heights, but I do hope they never travel so far they cannot hear the beat of the sacred drums of their people.
No matter who you are or where you come from, native roots can provide sustenance for future life and growth. May all of our families know where they come from and where they are going. The blood that flows through your veins is important, grounding us to rich pasts and offering us insight for bright futures.