Banner Meaning

In everything I do I try to involve some sort of meaning. Not much is just there simply for aesthetic, and if it is, it’s because that aesthetic has some sort of other distant meaning and purpose. It sounds weird when I actually type it out like this, but trust me, it just is what it is.

When I was growing up, I didn’t have much connection to traditional culture. Yeah, I grew up on the rez, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be an expert on my people at all. In fact, I recall being too busy just trying to hold on to whatever stability I could. Though as I got older, through the influence of some of my peers and through one of my best friends, I realized the importance of self-knowledge and how grateful I should be in being a member of the Oceti Sakowin. What blood I had in me that should be cherished and continued with pride. I joined the school drum group when I was in 7th grade for a while, and while I was no great singer what-so-ever (many back then would say laughable) I tried to just belong somewhere and learn more about myself.

After quitting the drum group out of somewhat of a cowardice, I met someone who changed my life and showed me other things that I could be involved in. The history, the politics, the combination of the two, the values, the mind-set, the way of life, the style. I started to find other things that were more up my ally, so to speak. I had already been a believer in Creator and a holder of a spiritual outlook, but soon I would grow a bit more and gather more altogether.

I started beading. I wasn’t all that good at it, but again, I tried. My initial stab at it came with loom beading. I had all these ideas for designs and things I thought would represent me. Soon I had graph paper full of different pieces I would one day work on and try to aimlessly stitch onto scrap leather I could find.

Truth is, I’m not all that entirely familiar with much of the designs of my people, but as a great warrior Mary once said, “You have to make your own legends now.” So I kind of find a little comfort in not letting some of my ignorance subdue me so much. Don’t worry, I’m not turning my back. I’ll ask and learn soon, but for now I work with what I have.

This design means a lot of different things. The lettering color is a purple hue to signify a different stance on what ignorant people try to separate in claims of “boy colors” and “girl colors”. Purple for me, symbolizes a strength in identity and confidence in statement. The three tipis represent my travels, making multiple places my home throughout my life. The skies above them differ from blue, to grey, to black – to express that no matter what the weather, physically or mentally a situation will never change me away from who I am or the way I think. Yes, I grow and I mature, but I promise I am me everywhere.

Overall, the banner, I think, describes me. Winging it while staying calculated and thoughtful, sensitive and mindful but never weak. As honest as I can be, while understanding that none of us can be perfect, which sounds just perfect to me.