If your ancestors or relatives (are native) and identify as white, what was your reaction?
I responded to this post, but I thought I might go a bit more into my response, which was that my great grandfather, though Yurok, went through life as “white”.
I never met Frank Ryerson, known by family and friends as “Bud”. What I do know about him is not anything I am happy about; he was an alcoholic, he cheated on my great grandma Vera and had a secret second family that he left her for, he cut off relations with his daughter (my grandma Elvera) as well as his granddaughter (my mother). I think the last my family may have seen of him was when he came to try and summon spirits to help my grandmother while she laid in bed dying of cancer, but was promptly kicked out by the wife he left who did not approve of “having witchcraft in the house”.
I can’t say I would want to get to know him if he were still alive, but I do have questions that no one is able to answer, like why he went through life identifying as a white man when he was Yurok. He lived on the tribal land with my great grandmother and practiced Yurok traditions, so I don’t know if he was worried about hiding that fact to those he met in his day to day life. On paper, he is listed as being white, which means I am just barely below the blood quantum minimum to be a member of the Yurok tribe.
I guess a big question I have for myself, and for others if they have any helpful input, is should I go to the lengths of getting genetic testing done to prove that I am indeed enough Yurok to actually be a member? Or should I not let the fact that I am not a member make me frustrated about how I identify to my cultural identity?