Growing up Native American

images+courtesy+of+Gina+Gray

images courtesy of Gina Gray

Natalie Phan, social media manager & web editor

From being the assistant Kapaun Mt. Carmel football coach and to making sure the school is clean, Kyle Stevens has been an important part of KMC’s faculty. What most students may not know though is that he is part Native American.

According to Stevens, most of his childhood was spent with the Native American side of the family. His great grandmother was full-blood Osage.

“One of the traits of the Native American people is that they tend to be very ‘Clannish’. They have very distinct rituals that are somewhat different from other groups or peoples. Pow Wows/ Indian Dances. Funeral ceremony rituals,” said Stevens. “The belief in other worldly spirits. Cleansing of the soul rituals. I guess the answer to the question ‘How has my Native American ancestry shaped my life’ is that it introduced me to an alternative way of life that other peoples are familiar with.”

Historically, losing Native American land culminated in the loss of traditions and cultural identity. For many Native Americans today, it can be difficult to pass on traditions and keep the culture alive.

“A lot of my Native American family has passed. I don’t get to be in that setting very much any more. When one of my Grandmother’s side of the family dies, I still see some of the traditions practiced at funerals. This lack of practicing is no one’s fault but mine. There are plenty of things I could do to continue traditions and customs.”

According to the most recent school demographics, out of 873 students, only one student at KMC identifies as Native American.

“I do think that there is an underrepresentation of Native Americans in America in general. Without getting into my beliefs on the American government and their relationship with the Indians, let me ask you to research the subject and draw your own conclusions,” said Stevens.

Overall, growing up Native American has been a positive experience for Stevens.
“I am very proud to have a bloodline that can be traced back to the very first peoples of this region. Say what you want about the relationship between the American government and the American Indians. I have reaped the benefits of some of the agreements that were made between the two groups, based solely on the fact that I have Osage blood running through my veins,” said Stevens.

“I wish ALL non-natives would understand that diversity is good. How boring it would be if we all looked the same,” said Stevens. “How boring it would be if we all thought the same. Through diversity we set ourselves apart from any other country in the world.”