Raising Warriors

Jul 1, 2024 | Blog, Indigenous Visionaries, Our Programs

By Mechelle Crazy Thunder, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Academic Support Counselor

2023-2024 Indigenous Visionaries Fellow

As an Unci (grandmother) of seven grandsons with long hair and living in urban areas, it’s important to educate schools and my community about the importance of our hair. As a former teacher cultural competency is essential. My grandsons have battled with people calling them girls or touching their hair. As a family we do our best to support our young warriors who attend school day in and day out, defending who they are to their teachers and classmates. We encourage and comfort them and share stories of the warriors who came before them who fought a different war and died for us to be proud of who we are and where we come from.

Fortunately, we now have Native American authors who write about these issues that our young people face. My grandsons were proud to have been featured in the magazine Roots. They were in the section on boys with braids pictured with author Joelle Bearstail. She gifted my grandsons a copy of her book, Bear’s Braid. Mrs. Bearstail is also the Executive Director at ImagiNative Inc. Relatives, please support all of our young warriors. Take the time to complement their hair and let them know how proud we are of them staying true to their culture. Take the time to read a book to your child’s class and educate them on our hair.

Special thank you to my daughters Rachael, Alysha, and Marrissa Crazy Thunder for bringing all my grandchildren into this world, and to my grandsons Bryson, Logan, Messiah, Khaden, Malakai, Lukas, and baby Sam, and my beautiful twin granddaughters, Alyvia and Samiya. Grammy will have your back forever. Wopila, Mechelle Iron Cloud-Crazy Thunder!


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