You don't look Indian! Tell me about it. Growing up on the Reserve with fair skin was not that bad actually. When I was a kid my Mom's uncle said I would get a good job because I looked white. In his way he was being kind. It was hard for those old people. Some people got out of Treaty so they could go into licensed establishments. In any case I do look white. Not my fault, honest! I think the first time it was brought to attention was in Residential school, one of the nuns called me that white looking Indian. All the kids laughed in class. I guess in the hierarchy of Indian-ness I am lower on the ladder rung. Funny I don't feel that way. I was lucky in the environment aspect of things; I was raised on Reserve around my relatives. I have met many Brown skinned Indians who have no clue about their identity and that is the way it is.
I used to carry a chip on my shoulder about my identity, being Indian and making people know I was an Indian. It got so I was kind of an A-hole about it. I remember this one time in University I asked this Indian guy where he was from. He said he was from Winnipeg. You ask where someone is from to get context of who his people are and go from there. I scolded him about what he said about being from Winnipeg. "Where are your parents from? They're not from Winnipeg!" He replied he didn't know as he was adopted out.
I felt like such a bad guy. This poor guy was a product of the child welfare system that scooped up kids and shipped them away. From that point I tried to be a little more understanding.
Let me leave you with a story from the Reserve.
My friend had gotten caught fooling around on his wife. She decide that was it, no more. So she packed his clothes in garbage bags and threw them out. He was really lucky as a lot of women would just burn his clothes. Anyway, as he was leaving out the door, she throw him down the stairs. He got up and with all the conviction he could muster, told her, "just for that I'm not coming back this time!"