The Brown on the Bear
The brown of my skin adds to the origin of my name when out came a 9-pound baby with a full head of hair. My father took one look and said, “That’s a Yona over there!” Yona, means bear in the language of Tsalagi. Many don’t see the Native American in me, but it’s in my blood and the culture taught to me. Tsalagi and Nottoway comes from my father who will say I’m his warrior bear.
Well, this bear’s hair and brown skin tone, like the color of a chocolate brownstone, comes from my mother and scores of other ancestors from the African continent. They spent their lives as warriors, hunters, farmers and philosophers. Until, their freedoms were deterred by force and chains, aimed at making them slaves.
Though many would suffer to an early grave, the brown skin you see on me is a testament of their strength. It shows that I arose from those who endured torture. I exist because of their will to persist.
This all compounds to feed the brown bear, people see, daring to charge into large buildings on fire. Aspiring to help those in need, my brown skin will scar and bleed while fighting flames attempting to claim life.
Just like a Native warrior with a knife, I fight with an axe that acts like bear claws. And draw strength through my background with a resounding roar, from the core, of the brown bear.