Wednesday, September 06, 2006


An old book lies in disrepair somewhere in my great-aunt's house. Tucked away in an old Zip-loc bag. No one in our family can read the what is written. Many museums and history people have tried to obtain it, but none have as of yet have been able to.

The book was written by Grandpa Eusabio. It is music. They are songs. But they are not written in the European/Western music notion or a common vernacular (such as Spanish or English) that we've all learned to read. They are in the language of the Tankawa, and the notation is quite unique.

My aunt is learning the language (though CD's in her auto) in hopes of dicifering the songs. It's ironic, I think, of how much of us and our gifts from the Creator are passed on their our genes. Scientists have studied this throughly: how much of a person is in his or her genetic makeup. Apparently this is from my family. We are a family of musicians: songwriters, church musicians, rock musicians, bar musicians, and even wanna-be musicians.

It's funny how other cultures (other than the mainstream American one in which I was raised) integrate their religion, their cultural heritage, their talents, and their sense of identity into one solid cohesive mix. My Native American heritage, therefore, cannot be seperated from my musical heritage; they are one. Learning to gain identity, not through a rigid "cultural" heritage, but through a cohesive heritage of one's family can teach and demonstrate that an awesome God really created us and loves us.

My view of my family heritage is summed up in David Huddle's Only the Little Bone: "I am my grandfather's grandson after all."

Click here to read the rest of Only the Little Bone. It's really quite good.


tunz said...

My whole life I thiought I was Italian. My mother died when i was younger so we never really talked about it much. Anyway, my Papi(her father) was French and he was adopted by an Italian family so I am really French. I have always strongly disliked French people and loved the fact that I was Itlian. Now, I just feel confused. I think it is cool that your heritage is evident in who you are.

Chris said...

that's deep cruz. awesome.

my swiss heritage has been passed down fairly consistantly, and it's easy for me to fit in (at least, in appearances) in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. I even have a good idea of how to play the Alpine Horn (think Ricola commercials).

And yet ... I think I'm a cultural mutt sometimes. My father's side is sort of "blanket european" (though mostly scottish and french), and it makes me wonder how I'm supposed to work my heritage. My religion isn't really inherited, though I find that I connect well to past thinkers (Lewis, Paul, Nouwen, etc). My music is sort of inherited, but it's not culturally connected (how do you connect interests in rock music with classical music with acoustic solos with aboriginal native music?)

I think I said that to say that I envy you a bit, that your identity can be so clear, that your heritage can blend with your religion and your talents and dreams ...