The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Native faced identity crisis

By Rosanna Fernandez/reporter

Native American tribes observe nature and listen to the voice of the earth as part of their cultural traditions, said a NE government professor during a Nov. 13 presentation.

“The imbalance in nature is telling us something,” said Lisa Uhlir. “We can maintain a balance when we look around and see what the earth and nature are telling you.”

Uhlir shared her knowledge of Native American traditions and culture during the event sponsored by the Circle of Nations and student activities as part of American Indian Heritage Month.

“Native Americans are oral people,” said Uhlir, who added that the written word was unknown and communication happened through observing.

A circling hawk or a running deer from the American Indian’s perspective may have indicated a predator was close by.

Five cranes near a still lake may indicate a time for self-reflection or patience.

“Cranes stand for long periods of time and are not in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything,” Uhlir said.

Uhlir, a Michigan native, is the granddaughter of a Native American who taught her to understand their cultural heritage. 

“Being accepted was a difficult time, and I didn’t want people to know I was American Indian” she said. “I would mark the ‘white’ box.”

As a young girl, Uhlir said her grandmother, who is Objibwa, did not disclose she was American Indian but rather told people she was white.

“It’s like standing in two worlds,” she said. “You are unable to compete.”

Native Americans pass knowledge through stories to give information and to understand meaning in their daily lives, Uhlir said.

“It’s like a place where you fit into the entire community of all things living and non-living around you such as animals, plants, the air, the land, the wind and, of course, the humans that make up your experience,” she said.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian