#NativeNerd column: I am a Native Nerd. Are you?

Vincent Schilling

I look forward to my fellow #NativeNerd friends to return each week. If you have a suggestion or story idea, let me know

I originally wrote this column about two years ago and I realized my original introduction to the world of Native Nerdom was tucked away in archives. I felt it was relevant to revisit my original words with the relaunch this year of indian Country Today. So much has changed in two years and I can hardly imagine how things will continue to progress. I have added a few updates to my original article.

I look forward to my fellow #NativeNerd friends to return each week. If you have a suggestion or story idea you would like me to explore, send me a note in the comment section below.

As a young Mohawk Kid, growing up on Compton Blvd. in Los Angeles – yes, that Compton – I remember receiving my first issue of MAD Magazine in the mail. It was my first magazine subscription. I had saved up for it, and had asked my dad to mail in a check and then I waited for what seemed like forever to receive the first issue, although it was probably just six weeks.

I remember my favorite book not by the name, but by the content. It was a cool science book, with funny questions related to science, such as the reasons for swirls in a person’s hair, the makeup of water in its various forms, gas, solid and liquid, and so on and so on.

I used a microscope in my room to look at ants, used a magnifying glass in the summer sun to burn paper and instead of playing with my toys, I took them apart with a screwdriver.

I read tons of books and comics, I lived at the library and spent as many summer days looking up book titles as I did in taking the bus to the beach. Of course in those days, we used file cards to look up the books. The world has changed so much.

Yes, I am a Native Nerd.

Today, in addition to being obsessed with my Mohawk culture and the origins of my ancestors, I am also obsessed with my newest Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphone and its accompanying S-Pen. I also have a Galaxy S9+ for business.

Technology is a conduit in some ways to my Native connection to this world.

I love the heartbeat of Mother Earth as it sounds booming through the grounds of a pow wow just as I love photographing it with my Canon DSLR with accompanying 18-200mm lens and battery grip.

If I had to choose, I would choose my culture first but the Creator has never asked me to choose. I am lucky to live in a world of Native culture and Native Nerdism. I love this world of media, I love this world of Google Chrome as my web browser - and yes I know some Mozilla Firefox aficionados would laugh at me. (As a watcher of one of my YouTube videos replied to me recently: I’d rather boil my own head in water than use Google Chrome. I love it.)

I also love the world of Android and love the fighting between the users of the iOS and Android platform. I think Apple is fine, but enjoy the ability to unlock or “root” my Andriod device, which means I can use an outsourced phone operating system. Of course Samsung has decreased this flexibility with Knox security, but it is what it is.

So, yes I am a Native Nerd. Right now on my desk, I have figurines of Marvel characters such as Spiderman, Venom and Wolverine. (Yes, I hate that Hugh Jackman is over 6 feet tall and Wolverine from the X-men comics is much shorter.) I am THRILLED that Venom is a journalist Eddie Brock. I can identify.

Yes I have held comic books worth thousands of dollars in my hands. (I didn’t buy them, just held them.) I have hundreds of comic books now encased in plastic covers with acid free cardboard backings.

I have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens twice, I probably own about 20 comic oriented t-shirts my wife bought me. I have been to countless premieres of Marvel and DC comic book movies and will go to many more. I have also watched all of the Marvel movies three times each on average - likely more.

I would like to think all of this qualifies me as a Native Nerd.

Join me won't you?

Follow fellow Native Nerd, Vincent Schilling associate editor for Indian Country Today at@VinceSchilling

Email -vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

Make sure to use the Hashtag #NativeNerd

Are you using the new mobile platform? Get Indian Country Today on your phone.

Google Play (Android)


Comments (2)
No. 1-1

I think Natives make the best nerds. Our love of nature lends itself well to a love of science. We have the multicultural exposure necessary to appreciate the various cultures in sci fi and fantasy. The heroes out of comics often bear some resemblance to the heroes out of our mythology. And I think we have the mental flexibility needed to navigate the wide world of geekdom in which we operate, from finding solitude in a national forest and setting up a solar charger for our smartphones when we take a break, to using electronic media to physically lighten our loads when we go on conservation protests or interstate bike rides. All Natives are probably born to nerd.