Let's be honest. Most people view Origine (Original Americans) or "Black Native American" is that we were never here when Columbus arrived, and we all come from slaves. But what happens when a child student is aware of her ancestry? What happens when the child is aware of the history that wasn't taught to them in class?
In August 2019, 7-year-old Juniya corrected her teacher about calling her African. Her teacher calls her and another student up to the front of the class. She goes on, makes comparisons and similarities about them to the entire class. The teacher points out to the class that both Juniya and the other student are girls, and both are in the same class. She goes on to say that the other student is Asian, and Juniya is African.
Now judging from the video and how Juniya acts out the scenario, it's apparent the teacher felt some way when Juniya stands up for herself. Juniya corrects the teacher and says, "I'm American Indian. Not African. The teachers say, "Excuse me?" and by the way, Juniya reenacts what the teacher says leads me to believe she felt threatened by Juniya knowledge of her ancestry.
The sad part is the teacher is a melanated or "black" person. The teacher then states she is Cherokee too. But if she is genuinely Cherokee, why would she assume another Cherokee person is African knowing Origine people like herself exist? Many black people know deep down they have American Aborigine ancestry but don't claim it until someone else does.
This interrogation and denial of Origine ancestry must end. It's crazy how people can act like they saw a ghost when you correct them about who you are and your ancestry. When a person of darker hue talks about their ancestry here comes there "Africans were sent to America as slaves" crowd coming to dismiss any ties and claims we have to the land now known as America or what we call Turtle Island.
This circumstance is the exact reason why it's super important to teach our children and grandchildren who they are. Juniya is a smart and courageous girl. Being in school and going against the knowledge that is taught in school can be turned into a big problem, but the way Juniya handled this situation is pure gold.
It is obvious we need a curriculum, not an extracurricular activity or elective class, about Origine people and history. The "Native American" term is not for Origine people because it's a term that is used to distinguish European immigrants who are from the Know-Nothing At All-Party from the European immigrants who were migrating to America in the 1800s. We are not European immigrants.
We need a curriculum that is centered and focuses on Origine people and history. It includes pictures of Origines with locks and afros. Many people are in disbelief about the existence of Origine people. Because of a lack of representation and exposure to our history, people find it hard to believe that dark skin or even afros are indigenous to the whole planet, not just Africa. It is apparent we need more books, more books, more activities, just more of everything that caters to the representation, history, and culture of Origine people.
Davita, Juniya's and her brother Demetrius Grandmother, has taught her grandchildren about their heritage at a very young age. Davita's Maternal Grandmother’s Grandma is Full Cherokee, by blood. Paternal Great Grandfather is West Indian /Native American.
It is clear that the children are ready and willing to learn more about who they are, and it's up to us to teach them just that. Whenever a child learns the truth, they will repeat it and stick to it. The youth are the future and are very capable of thinking for themselves. We must give Origine children the truth about history. I hope this is something the teacher will remember when she tries this with another Origine student. She will remember the Origine child corrects her teacher about her race and mind her business.