A love letter to my fellow light - skinned natives by Ashley Nicole McCray

As light - skinned or white - passing natives, we acknowledge our palatability to whiteness & we acknowledge our privilege. Our hurt feelings mean absolutely nothing when our darker, more identifiably native relatives are being targeted, profiled, assaulted, & killed every.single.day.

This does not mean we do not face racism or discrimination, or that we aren't plagued by the same harrowing statistics, but it does mean we are able to better and more safely navigate systems set up by american white supremacy.

As such, it's our duty to use our privilege FOR our communities, not to complain about feelings, or to discredit our darker relatives -- these actions are nothing more than us perpetuating white supremacy against our own communities (I.e. prioritizing our feelings over the lives & safety of our relatives who are more likely to be targeted by settler-terrorism).

And, as much as we fight for and demand light - skinned and white - passing natives be "included," we need to fight even harder to ensure our black - mixed native relatives are included too.

So, fellow light - skinned natives, let's put down the colorism, drop the neocolonialism, & pass the mic to our darker relatives when we are in a position to.

Our enemy is colonization & white supremacy, not each other. It's silly & thoughtless of us to consider our own historical trauma but not that of those who are much harder hit by virtue of their appearance. The resentment some darker relatives have for us is completely justifiable in the face of white supremacy & settler terrorism.

It's up to us whether or not we see the bigger, communal picture or focus on our very individualistic feelings of being slighted/rejected/pushed away. Instead, let us view these actions as safety defenses our darker relatives are employing to protect themselves against white supremacy.

We prove that we belong through our actions, and we realize we have a higher price to pay precisely because we are privileged. And we are okay with that because we love our ancestors, we love this land, & we love our people.

The truth is, we are blessed with this privilege of maneuvering through systems of colonization, straight up. We are the frontline of access to our respective communities -- this is a huge charge & high honor. We are the gatekeepers. Now that we get it, let's focus on collecting recon, reverse infiltrating colonial spaces, & demanding liberation for our people.

This is what our ancestors want us to do & Creator put us in these gilly suit camo skin bags to breech their colonial defenses.

We have work to do. I'll see you on the frontlines, relatives 

Tecihila (I love you),
Your light - skinned Lakota/Shawnee sis 

Ashley Nicole McCray, is enrolled Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and descendant of the Oglala & Sicangu Lakota Oyate

*Cover photo provided by Ashley Nicole McCray