Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, April 02 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgCravings: Health and Wellness

This month I want to write about something that Iíve been thinking about and that has piqued my interest: craving. Craving is defined as a powerful desire for something.

We all crave something. We crave connection. We crave comfort. We crave understanding. We crave forgiveness. We crave love. We crave moments when profound loss and pain are gone. We crave reconciliation. We crave.

Each of us is on our own individual journey, but we are bound together by family and community. I donít mean to generalize, but my experience has been that most Native people define themselves by their family (tiyospaye), their clan, their tribal affiliation, etc. In order to know us, you must first be aware of our social structure that we exist within and we thrive within. Once you know this, then you can know us, individually, so to speak.

I offer my own craving to experience of health and wellness. Itís my healing experience. I ainít no psychologist and I ainít no mental health therapist. I studied Family Therapy for my masterís degree in Social Work, but I followed a different path. Therefore, this is what Iíve come to know about my experience to understand my craving for health and wellness.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, March 12 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgBeing 'Indian' enough

This month I wanted to write about being Indian, Native American, First Nations, the original People from Turtle Island, tribally-specific names, etc. I wanted to write about how we measure ourselves. I wanted to write about those people that judge everything Native, they are gatekeepers of culture and they assign people accordingly.

Judging people if they are ĎIndian,' or not, is done regularly. These judgments are done in public places or in private discussions. Here are some examples of I witness and I heard over the years:

We separate ourselves according to enrollment. If you are an enrolled member then you are Indian. If you do not have a tribal enrollment card then you are not Indian.

Indian-ness is measured by blood quantum. We separate ourselves according to blood quantum. The practice of determining blood quantum is calculated by taking a percentage of both your biological parentsí lineage to determine. It is supposed to be a proxy of how much Indian you are.

This historical practice of enrollment is the result of the Federal government tracking us to make sure they know the cost of their obligations to the people whose land they took and treaties they broke. Over the years, this percentage has given people a sense of their Native-ness. If you are more then you are more Indian and your credibility increases. Itís become a warped way of thinking.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, February 05 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgLove, Love, Love, Love

We live in an American society that is obsessed with love. It's plastered everywhere this time of year. Valentineís Day brings out Cupid, heart shaped chocolates, flowers, balloons, cards and music about love. Those of us with children help our kids fill out their Valentineís Day cards to take to school. We may give a gift. We may receive gifts. Everything is about love.

This month I wanted to write about love Ė my understanding of love; how I came to know love; and my experience with love. Iíve learned over the decades that Iíve been on this journey called life that love is easy. We complicate love with popular ideas of what it is, what love should be, how love is manifested, who is allowed to have love, when love is given and how love is given.

Itís important to note here before you continue any further, what you read are my experiences. My experiences and the experiences of other Native people are just as diverse, unique and varied as the people in our community. Both of our experiences are valid, not generalizable and should never be construed as such.

My life-changing experience with love was when my son was born, Hoksicila Cante Ma Yuha (Child of My Heart). When I first saw him, when he took his first breath, I feel deep into parental love. The love of a parent is all consuming, all confusing and scary at times, but wonderful and filled with many moments of joy. This experience profoundly shifted my notions about what I knew about love, and what love could be. It is from this experience that I began to explore love, my experience with it and how I defined love.

I am a survivor of sexual abuse and domestic assault. These experiences influenced me and I share this so you can understand how I came to know love. These experiences are not an excuse, nor are they a justification when I failed to return love when it was given to me unconditionally. These experiences are what I needed to heal from so I could experience love.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgSometimes being a urban Indian ainít easy cause we gotta exist along many edges of the world. Itís winter in Minnesota now. Itís that time of year that we Ė Native people Ė are storytelling. Most of our stories include a trickster character. The trickster is the protagonist, or the main character, in our stories that teach us important life lessons. Itís through the tricksterís adventures that we learn about the world around us, our relationship to everything and how we conduct ourselves.

Itís also that time of year that those of us who make New Yearís Resolutions are doing them. Myself and others will be spend time reviewing our last year. We remember what occurred. We recall the lessons we've learned. We hold onto the sweet moments we experienced. We lovingly remember those we lost. We do this assessment in an effort to establish our personal goals for the year.

Socrates said, "An unexamined life isn't worth living.Ē OK. I know, I know, Socrates is a Greek philosopher. I share it because this quote is my life anthem. I'm one of those people who works at changing patterns of toxic or unhealthy behavior. Iím a self-help book junkie. Itís important to me to not share generational trauma with my kids. Iím doing my part at ensuring the generations that follow me can live different lives.

I'm told that it takes 21 days of consistent behavior change for a new pattern to be integrated. Iíve learned for myself that I learn from other people. People love to share their stories with me. It is a trait that I appreciate because I learn from them. I wholeheartedly listen to them and use their knowledge. Everyone teaches me something about the world around me.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgHow to Enjoy the Holiday Season

We are in the midst of the Holiday Season and it will reach a fever pitch soon. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy the holiday season.

Find meaning in the Holidays

We learn what a holiday means to us from our childhood. We observe what the holiday means for other people then interpret meaning to it. We gain notions about what a holiday is from the media. It is important to spend some time figuring out what is important for you and your family. Is it the time you spend together? Is it cooking? Is it being in fellowship together? Is it the rituals you built with them over time together? Figure out the meaning of the holiday for yourself and your family.

Building Family Traditions

The holiday season can be an incredible time of the year, but they can also be difficult for some of us. For myself, I am in the midst of building traditions with my family. Every year we clarify what is important to us, as individuals and as a family. Every activity is reviewed for whether or not it will continue on to the next year, or not. We are building family traditions together. Itís an exciting process.

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