I put Band-Aids on blisters that day. My small group from YAV had spent the day walking around New York as a part of orientation. We got sent out with only $5 and were meant to observe two very different parks to get some understanding from what we learned from Anti-Racism training . I wore a new pair of converse without socks. Dumb, I know. I was trying to avoid wearing socks that I had to fix every five feet. We spent the day in Union Square and Tompkins Square Park. Union Square is one popular place. New York University is surrounding it. There were college students were hanging and eating lunch. Some people were even sleeping. Tompkins Square, however, was very empty . There were a few kids playing on the playground. There was even a dog park. It was shocking how different each park was. While there were a bajillion people in Union Square, in Tompkins there was barely anyone. For some odd reason, I felt more comfortable with no one, but myself and my small group, and some of the homeless population of New York. I don’t know if it was because there were less people in Tompkins Square or whether it was the idea of the not having to avoid walking into someone or around something. The whole time I was there, I had one constant thought the entire time. It was about my Native Heritage. In case my name didn’t drop the hint, I am of Cherokee descent on my father’s side. It’s always been something I’ve been proud of. However, I have considered myself White. I’ve always checked that little box on standardized tests or on registration forms that only my White (Scottish and German if you really wanted to know). I’ve always felt I had no right to check the Native box because I wasn’t 1/2 or at least 1/4. My grandfather’s grandmother came off the Cherokee reservation to marry my father’s namesake. I’ve always wanted  to know to know more. My father’s family almost has no answers to any of the information to the questions I’ve had. This idea is going to be a new blister. One that is, now, on my heart instead of on my toes. I love my family and I love who we are. I honestly can’t wait to heal this new blister in my life. Love and blessings-Cherokee

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