My Ancestry

I have been digging through my family history since I was a teenager.  I feel like I find out more and more each and every year.  I have even gone as far as taking DNA tests through 23andMe, Ancestry, My Heritage, and Helix.  While all the results are very similar, I feel that 23andMe has been the most accurate.  ​

In foster care, the only ancestry I knew I had was Native American.  They made this a very big deal and I had no idea that I was mixed with anything else until the county took over my case.  At that time, they revealed that I was also mixed with Pakistani ancestry.   It was only after finding my family as a teenager that they had informed me of my "white" roots.  Funny how this had slipped through the cracks.  

My mothers parents were primarily Pakistani and Native American.  My maternal grandfather was born in Afghanistan and raised in Pakistan.  He came to America when he was 18 years old.  My maternal grandmother was 5/8 Pomo Indian and 3/8 Scottish.  She was raised on the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo, California.  She was very adamant that the correct term is "Indian" and not "Native American."  She  would be spinning right now if she knew that we are now using the term, "Indigenous."  While all terms are correct, she was very proud of her heritage and HATED being called anything other than an Indian.   I will do my best to honor her wishes and if you don't hear me use the word, Indigenous, very often, that's why. 

My fathers parents both came to America as babies and were primarily Portuguese and French.  My paternal grandfather's family came from the island of Azores Portugal and settled in Massachusetts.  My paternal grandmother's family came from Montreal Canada, settling in New Hampshire.  According to census records, my great grandparents could only read and write in their native languages of French and Portuguese.  They came around 1900.  

I never take my citizenship for granted as many people made sacrifices so that I could be here today.  My Indian ancestors made just as many sacrifices as my ancestors from other countries did.  The Pomo were once estimated to be around 300,000 people before European settlers came to California.  This population was later reduced to around 15,000 Pomo Indians.   I look at those numbers and realize that I descend from a small number that couldn't be killed off.  I recognize that I had other ancestors who died and battled freezing temperatures so I could be in this very part of the country.  I see what recently happened in Afghanistan and realize that I could have been one of those people trying to flee that country and escape the Taliban.   As nice as it would be to live on an island or a place like Montreal, my ancestors came for opportunity and made sacrifices so their future generations would have a better life.  I am grateful for everything that was done so I could be here today.   

I see so many people who act as if their citizenship was owed to them and they don't stop to realize that they are living off of someone elses sacrifices.  You could be facing a different battle in another country right now.  Nobody stops to think of how grateful they should be for what they have and what was given to them.  For many of us, the hard work was done and we are living off of the work of others.  We have it easy and should be grateful for what we have been given.   Sadly, so many never stop to think about what their lives could have been like had their ancestors never made sacrifices.  Not everyone wins the lottery of being born in America.  How you treat others today could dictate where you end up in the next lifetime.   Be kind, be compassionate, and choose to leave your mark wisely.  It would be unfortunate if you found yourself on the other side of a wall in your next life...if you believe in that.  We may never know for sure if there is a next lifetime, but is that a chance you want to take?  May the odds be in your favor.