Love between people of difference has often been challenging. When I was growing up, there were numerous taboos about relationships between people of differing races and religions, even folks of differing skin tones. The common wisdom was that love across lines of difference was doomed. Romeo and Juliet resonated across all sorts of divides during my youth. In the American South inter-racial marriages were illegal in some states.
One would hope that such restrictions placed on love would be long gone. Unfortunately, these restrictions remain in the lives of North America’s Native people. “Marrying out” can easily result in the loss of tribal affiliation for oneself and one’s children, creating immense loss and suffering.
It’s springtime, and our thoughts turn to love. The CBC recently focused on love and its challenges for First Nations people in Canada. The precipitating event was a blog post by Lisa Charleyboy. The post created a good deal of comment and generated much sharing of storied experience. CBC wrote:
Last week our most talked about story was a provocative post by blogger Lisa Charleyboy.
Charleyboy wrote candidly about the tough decision she has made regarding her love life and why she is has decided that she’s only interested in dating a status Indian man who is connected with his culture. Read More
Issues of race can be problematic; issues of blood quantum” even more so. Indeed, love across the arbitrary boundaries of “blood” and religion can be down-right heartbreaking.
The human heart has its own needs and desires, its own logic of love. Governmental rules, whether tribal or Federal, about love do much harm. My therapy practice is stark evidence of this. So much suffering. Whether the culture at large wishes to acknowledge this or not, love practices based on “blood” or religion are immensely destructive. They are forms of racism and genocide and harm the spirits, souls, and psyches of persons and families and need to end.
Changing the status quo would, of course, create other issues of cultural and tribal identity. We have traditionally been able to solve these. We still can.