Despite my parents’ urging, I had always rejected my Indian identity. At 21, I learned to embrace it.
By Alexis Tompkins-Larrance
At the age of four months I was adopted by my parents—blond-haired, blue-eyed people who did their best to provide me with cultural pride and knowledge of my homeland. Being raised in a racially mixed family made me open and tolerant of differences. Yet I often felt out of place because of my race.
I grew up in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, in a predominantly white community with a growing Latino population. Latinos often presumed that I was one of them, but I knew that I couldn’t claim their community as my own. Although my high school was diverse, there was only one other Indian girl—and she was raised in a traditional Indian home and had much lighter skin than mine. Here, too, my dark skin set me apart….