By the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the Shining-Big-Sea water,
stood the wigwam of Nokomis, daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
I knew the answer when asked as a kid, "What do you want to be when you grow up?," and I was sorely disappointed later when I found that becoming an Indian was not going to be an option. I can't say how many times I read "Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I'd read everything I could get my hands on to be prepared. Back in the day, shredded wheat came in big rolls like steel wool instead of little, sugar-coated mini-bites, and the cardboard dividers were a gold mine of Indian information. I laboriously copied the pictographs so I'd be able to read and communicate when the metamorphosis came. I wished there were more exotic animals so I could follow their tracks, instead of just the dogs and cats in my neighborhood. Ah, well. This was long before I learned of Custer's Last Stand, Wounded Knee, or the Trail of Tears.
I walk with my feet straight ahead and not splayed like a white man, and I can tread through the fallen leaves without a lot of noise. One just never knows which early lessons might be valuable. It came to me the other day that I must still move slowly and ordinarily speak softly at home. Bessie Anne gets frantic and races ahead if I should go quickly from one place to another, and if I raise my voice at all ("Hello?! Hello!!," to a bad phone connection), she barks madly. She reads me for signs like I read tracks (there are many more animals here now than were in my childhood), and takes her cues accordingly.
If someone were to ask me now, I'd have to say that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Obviously, it hasn't happened yet. I knew the answer when I was a kid.