Julian Wahnee

Comanche/Diné

“How would your grandmother feel about you not acknowledging her?’ I remember hearing this by a young lady on PBS before my first child was born that made me reflect on what is important to me, and which ultimately changed my life. I have always known my father’s side of the family is African American, but being raised with with my mother’s side who is full American Indian it was much easier for me to identify with them. When introducing myself it did not cross my mind to mention my father’s family.

What I was blind to see when not acknowledging my grandmother was her struggles, tears, joy and the strength that kept her family, and her bloodline strong. Without her sacrifice, I would not be here also my children would not exist, which haunts me to think about it.
As father of three whose children represents many different nationalities from American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic and African American, is it important for me but more importantly to themselves to respect and acknowledge who they fully are. To see what their families have been through, for them to fully live. Being at the Brown School has enriched me with many different opportunities. Even when starting my practicum at Better Family Life, which has allowed me to rediscover my whole self in a much brighter light as an African American man.

The combination of being a graduate student at the Brown School, a Buder scholar and working with Better Family Life, has truly opened my eyes to realize that I am a direct descendant from the strong people who they could not kill. Furthermore, this experience has given me the confidence to say that my name is Julian Wahnee. I am African American, Navajo from Shiprock New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Lawton Oklahoma.”