When I began researching my history, my aunt described me as an apple: red on the outside, white on the inside. Hierarchies of blood quantum and internalized racism have long plagued Native communities. The Lakota word for mixed-blood, iyeska, gave me a clearer concept of what it means to be part-Native; it is a gift to walk between the red and white worlds, and a responsibility to communicate between the two.
As modern Native Americans we are a true minority. We are, many of us, working within the same society that crippled the foundation of our history. We are working jobs at non-Native owned businesses; we are raising our children in white public schools. We are fighting to preserve our ceremonies, powwows and languages. We are marketing our heritage and simultaneously pushing against being relegated to the kitsch. We are people of color at once corralled and wandering, searching for a medium, alternating feelings of alienation and overwhelming pride as we recognize ourselves as set apart.
Apple is an exploration into my own history, and that of an ever-marginalized culture that is fighting to keep itself alive.