I am now Engaged!

You read right, I proposed to Jared on the 28th of December back home on my reservation and he said YES!!! The following is a little insight into our relationship, a little message for Jared, and details about our rings and what the symbols on them mean. If you want the story on how I proposed and Jared’s reaction, you’ll have to watch the video on my channel!


When did I know I wanted to ask him to become my husband??? … I’ve been picturing a future with him from this past summer, at least in a more serious manner. I was certain since Thanksgiving. after he took me to officially meet his relatives.  🙂 Did I know that I would be the one to propose? Yes, I’ve always known that I would be the one to ask. 🙂 Jared, if you’re reading this, you know it to be true! ❤

If you are new to following me, Jared and I have been together since June of 2016. We had our first date after connecting on a gay dating app. I promise you nothing naughty happened on our first meet up! This particular app just so happens to have a certain reputation within the gay community, but both of us weren’t looking for a hook up.  After two weeks of seeing one another, I knew that I wanted to make our relationship official.  We both were able to connect through the subject of music, and with him being from New Mexico, he already had an idea of what my cultural life was like. It would be a little later that I would discover his interest in learning about Hopi culture and art. (which of course I am also a Hopi artist)

With just over a year and a half of being together (and six of those months living together) I am happy to say that there has NEVER been one argument or an episode of drama between us. We both carry our own ways of creativity and while we respect the boundaries of the other’s time of focus while working, we both have come to appreciate, support, and best of all share our own worlds of art with the other. He has shown me a whole new perspective into the world of music (he’s close to receiving his PhD in musical composition) and I have shared with him my passion of activism though YouTube, as well as given him the opportunity to witness various ceremonial dances back home. My family has welcomed him with open arms since day one of meeting him. 🙂

He has taken me to New York for a concert in which he was a featured composer at St. Johns University School of Music. Just a few weeks after meeting me, he has seen me go to VidCon as a featured creator and an invited guest to the YouTube Space LA for a summit on accessibility. He also went with me when I was invited to speak at our Hopi Education summit to share my story of receiving special services for my low vision while attending school on the reservation. We both have performed together in a concert and of course we both are proud daddies of our dog Spike. ❤

Jared, with you I have found the perfect balance in what qualities you have as my partner that make me happy. You make me laugh in a way that nobody has ever appealed to a special sense of humor we have come to share. You always encourage me to go with my gut and to take every moment, even the little ones, of opportunities to have an adventure or to treat ourselves. You support my decisions and do your best to take care of me by doing the little things. I am happy that you love Spike just as much as I do and even more happy that my family also loves you. I am the luckiest man alive to call you my future husband. Thank you for everything, and for somehow finding a way to put up with my stubborn personality. 🙂 I love you!

For those of you wondering and who most likely came from the video, both of our rings are very unique in that they are made by the same Hopi jeweler with cultural symbols on them. Mine is the simpler of the two and has four humps on the band which is a Hopi symbol for a rain cloud. (see above) On both sides of the cloud there are three vertical lines to symbolize rainfall. Being that Hopi is located on the Colorado Plateau in Northeast Arizona, the elevation makes my reservation a very dry climate and the importance of rainfall for survival is the primary focus of prayer in our ceremonies.



Jared’s ring is much more detailed and has five different symbols across the band.


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If we start on the left side, we have three similar symbols of which, again represent water. Some would say that they look similar to the special flutes used in the annual Flute Dance, a very special ceremony. Because the symbol is vertical I take it to be a another symbol of a rain cloud. To the right of this you have two corn stalks, a main crop farmed by Hopi men that is the very symbol of Hopi life and culture. Then, perhaps a more familiar native symbol, a depiction of Kokopeli. His story is that he had a hunched back and was a flute player. On his back he carried seeds which he planted wherever he went, playing his flute to help them grow. Just behind him there is a smaller symbol which is a mound with two pahos (eagle prayer feathers) on top. This is a small representation of a prayer shrine where various pahos are gathered from the community or a family. The last design on the far right can be interpreted in various ways. Most geometric designs are used to decorate pottery pieces and depending on the artist, can serve various meanings. I like to see it as sun rays reaching down upon the shrine, carrying prayers to the heavens. We pray to Dawa, our father the Sun.

Jared hasn’t stopped looking at the ring since I placed it on his finger. Again, if you wish to know how and where I proposed, you will have to watch a video which will be uploaded to my channel soon! Thank you to all who have sent their congratulations and best wishes for our future! Your support means everything! I am ready to have many adventures with someone who cares for me and makes me very happy. I love you Jared!

blind love



Activism is for those who CARRY the label, not those outside of the community

Hey internet, man this has been one hell of a year for public opinion. This is the year I have taken a look at myself as an Indigenous person. (To those of you who are quick to call out my skin color, my body does not produce much melanin. I have albinism.) Not only the label Indigenous, but also the fact that I continually need to mention my genetic condition to set people straight about my ethnicity, has become increasingly annoying. If you’re subscribed to my channel http://www.youtube.com/jddalton you may have seen my latest upload This has been the most traffic my channel has received in one week since half a year ago. Why all the views? Because I wanted my voice heard in response to another YouTuber’s video where they spoke about Indigenous cultural appropriation. This YouTuber however, is not Indigenous.

Instead of making this post super long and explaining what happened, I will leave a link at the bottom of this post for you to watch the video for yourself. The point of this blog post is to discuss further why I called out this person for how she approached this subject with her audience. First of all, I understand that my voice alone does NOT represent the Indigenous community as a whole. We are all individual thinkers and our own experiences with our ethnic culture are going to be different just like our opinions about this other creator’s video. Second, I would like to address some comments I made about this creator in my response video. I mentioned that it appeared to me that she is only on the platform for the business part of it, along with mentioning her subscriber count, and the fact that no other YouTubers seemed to be featured on her channel tabs. I had mentioned this because as a person wanting to spread awareness, her own channel page did not appear to be set in a way that emphasized “networking with others.” I mentioned subscriber count because I felt it was important to at least give my viewer an idea of how many people could have watched her video I was discussing.

Back to my point (see title). You have every right to call yourself an ally to any community that is a minority. We will always welcome those who wish to spread awareness and participate in being educated about socioeconomic issues that minority communities face. But let’s get one thing clear, EVERY community has a voice. And as an ALLY, you recognize that you are not included in that community and the experiences that people OF said community face.

You want to help educate? Feel free to do so, but when using a platform it is basic respect to turn the attention to a voice FROM the community you wish to have represented. If you do not carry a certain label, show respect for those who do carry the label, by referring other viewers to their channel, or extend the courtesy of inviting a person on your channel to collaborate with. Regardless of intentions, know that taking the mic on issues that personally do not affect you, is not only disrespectful, it’s disparaging to that particular community.

Indigenous voices are present on the YouTube platform, but yet our number of subscribers does not even compare to that of other creators from other ethnic backgrounds. Why? Many topics related to the Indigenous community are still discussed today. (Dakota Access Pipeline, 45 mocking us by using Pocahontas’s name at an event honoring Native Veterans) These are issues that WE are able to speak to ourselves. Instead of having outsiders comment on our OWN history and experiences of cultural appropriation, we need to call them out by telling them that their voices are not what we need. We need you to support the voices of the community. Who better to speak about the issues we face than those who LIVE the experience and those who are AFFECTED by these forms of oppression???

Apparently, this other creator was asked to make her video from a viewer who identifies as Indigenous. Her viewers are using this fact as an excuse for her covering the topic in the way she did. Another Native also commented on my video saying that she is excused because she used humor in her video to send the message. Had she been a Native creator, those of us calling her out would more than likely have no issue with the video. Does her ethnicity matter?? In this matter I say YES it does. There have been several other Native YouTubers who have done this concept on their own channels. These videos have been up for a while now, before she uploaded her own version. I will conclude that she did not know of these videos existing before she published her own version. But I still say that she COULD have thought about collaborating with a Native creator. This would have been seen as respectful and would have shown that she truly values the voices of Indigenous people.

My response video can be seen by clicking here.


Native American YouTubers

This is my call to ALL Indigenous YouTubers. If you’re a creator, viewer, or if you want to start your own channel, please read this article because I have something important to share.

So awhile ago I was chatting on twitter with two fellow Native vloggers, Honmana and Susie, about how much I want to see a panel of Indigenous creators at VidCon next year. This has been something I have envisioned ever since I attended my first VidCon in 2016 as a featured creator.

There are all types of content that relate to our communities and many ways that we embrace our cultural heritage through creative media online. What if we were able to come together to start a network with other indigenous creators out there? What if we could help build our audiences by working together on projects? What if we could talk about ways to preserve our historical knowledge and language using platforms like YouTube? What if we could support Indigenous brands of fashion, art, music, and film?

I know very well that many of us from both urban communities and on the reservation consume a lot of YouTube media. What if we were able to channel that focus so that we were able to inspire younger Native youth to be creative, to want to learn about their indigenous identity, and to have pride in their tribal heritage?

In those tweets I had also tagged VidCon’s profile. And just a couple days ago, I received a twitter message from VidCon saying that they are interested in this idea and told me to submit a proposal for a panel at VidCon 2018. So, this is something that could potentially happen! To ensure that it does we need the community to play its part. If you would like to see a panel of indigenous creators at VidCon in 2018 your voices need to be heard.

We are a community of creative people, and we have the ability to show the world that we are still here, our languages have the ability to continue through online media lessons and discussions. We can come together to address certain issues and challenges we face in our communities. For those who are away from home, we can find the support and find familiar tones of humor from other native voices and share our stories. We can unite together as an indigenous community from various nations.

Do you watch YouTube? Are there creators you like to watch who are also from Native American heritage? Are you a YouTube creator or wish to start making content? If you are interested and would like to have a network of other natives to ask questions, get inspiration, work on projects together, then let it be at VidCon 2018. Let’s show YouTube that we are a community worthy of representation at their annual event! Use the hashtag #WeRIndigneous to show your own creativity, share work from other Native people, and to have your voice heard by telling VidCon you want a panel of Indigenous creators next year.

Here is a collaboration project I put together a while back with other Indigenous Vloggers.  

Am I Lost???

I have lived this entire week without two social media apps I have used almost everyday for over the past five years! I deleted both of my Facebook and Twitter accounts (although I still have another week to change my mind before they are erased) I have felt weird wanting to “check in” with others but I now only have YouTube and Instagram. I wonder what relatives are up to, what old friends are doing….

I’ve also realized how often I feel the urge to “share” something or want to scroll through some feed to feel updated on everything. I like the fact that I am pulling my phone out less during the day. I still watch the same amount of YouTube videos on my phone, but I also think that I have been using Instagram more to satisfy my urge to scroll on posts. With the introduction of ITV and the slight changes made to YouTube…. it has been interesting to me in thinking about how these platforms continually transform themselves to keep users on their sites and innovate ways for creators to “work” more using new developments for followers to consume content.

I am also bummed that I am missing out on another year of VidCon for a second year in a row. But I think not seeing posts on Twitter and FB help. 🙂 I want to “talk” to people who I could normally communicate through messenger on those apps. I hope this feeling of want to post and scroll will pass after more time. My brain still needs to adjust. It’s a challenge to keep “connected” to my audience when I limit myself to interact with them to only two social media sites. But I also have Patreon and you can always email me! 🙂

I’m Deleting Facebook and Twitter Profiles

Whats up readers of the internet! I know I have not posted to this blog in quite some time. And I wanted to post here before I edit the video about this topic for my YouTube channel. As you’ve read in the title, I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook.

Why? It’s my choice, and I feel that making this decision will help me to gain more focus on what truly matters to personal achievements. I don’t need to play the “numbers game” of social media to find my happiness and to feel productive. I can devote my time wasted on these apps to get more important things done. I can focus less time in a virtual bubble and hopefully not be as distracted by notifications or feeling the need to check in on these sites.

But I’m not leaving social media all together. I am a YouTuber after all, and as a visual creative person (who is visually impaired) I love seeing posts on Instagram! I will still be using these two platforms to share my creativity with others and to connect with those who live far and wide.

What are your thoughts about social media? Is it good or bad? Are we addicted to these apps?

Connecting With An Audience

Hey awesome readers of the internet. Lately I have found myself diving back into the work of making art, buuut have also realized that I have not made a post here in quite a bit. I figured since I am back to at least uploading videos once a week I could at least share some extra thoughts through my blog.

I want to share my thoughts as to how I connect with my audience on the YouTube platform. Lately I’ve been gaining several new subscribers and my views have gone up slightly as well. Honestly, ever since I have lost my partnership with my MCN and no longer receive revenue from YT, the amount of time that I invest into my videos has shifted a bit. I don’t invest as much energy into my content as I used to. I don’t go out of my way to make a super polished production. But after I have noticed that more people have been interacting with me in the comments, it hit me that my true audience doesn’t care about the spit and polish aspect of my videos. They care about my interaction with them on a personal level.

As one of my viewers put it, the last several videos I’ve uploaded have been very deep and thought provoking. I then went on to explain to them that it is much less of a hassle for me to just have a simple chat in front of my camera than to put together a project that will require me to do a lot of research and fact check if I want to present any information. I would spend a lot of time doing the research for it, and I already make time for editing. There are other ways I like to create other than just making videos, and with a full time job as well I have decided to get back to making the type of content that I used to make. Sharing my opinions and perspective.

Its the human element that people are able to connect with. I really enjoy conversing in the comments of my videos. And at the end of the day it really isn’t about if you agree with me or not, but that you at least took the time to hear and watch me present my perspective with you. I watch other creators because I like to hear what they are willing to share and I take their views into consideration. That is what builds a community, not the idea of agreeing with one another, but SHARING with one another.

As the school year draws to a close, you can imagine how busy I will be scrambling at work getting things situated and ready for the next school year. I also have a summer position as a camp counselor that will start the next week after the end of school. I will do my best to continue to connect with you guys and to share videos when I cam. I know that this could still be a great year for my channel!

My Students Have Discovered My YouTube Channel

Did I know this would eventually happen??…. It’s been in the back of my mind. Honestly, I’ve been comfortable with them not knowing about it for the past year since I’ve started working with middle school students. How do I feel about it?…. I’m still taking it in. LOL

Am I worried about my content? No, I have been making educational content since I started my vlog channel. They really won’t find much new information about me. They know about my albinism and my vision and that I’m gay. What gets me is that, according to my analytics, my audience is mainly people who are older or the same age as I am. I honestly think they’re only interested because it’s me and not that into the content of my videos.  (we’re talking 11-14 year olds)

Am I nervous or excited? I am honestly a bit of both! Excited that they will get to see me in a different light other than my role on campus. Through my channel I have been able to accomplish a lot and have had the opportunity to experience meeting new people and going new places. 2016 was quite a productive year for me as a public speaker. So, what could I possibly be nervous about? Well, it would be my approach to various topics related to social identities and events. These are topics I do not discuss as in depth at work than I do on my channel. As any respectable employee of a public school, I am not very vocal about my political beliefs. This is of course not a standard applied to my videos. I discuss very personal subjects and feelings about serious issues. I keep in mind how this can affect my image with students. And from now on this is something I will need to consider while producing content. (At least while I’m still working at a school.)

Do I wish that they never found my channel? No, going into this media I would have been a fool to think that I could keep certain people away from hearing about my YouTube channel. The very notion of being a YouTuber is having your audience grow.  I cannot control who consumes my content. What I DO have control of is WHAT I make my content to be. My mission through my videos has always been the same, to make an impact and to spark a change in how people perceive my identities and to always consider diversity.

I Was Released From a Contract

Hey awesome people of the internet! So as mentioned in the title of this post, I will no longer be associated with the multi channel network I’ve been with for the past two years. BroadbandTV is dropping me due to YouTube’s recent changes in the partnership program. Although I have fulfilled the required amount of watch time on my channel, the growth of my audience (subscribers) has only been 1/5 of the required amount within the past year.

How do I feel about this? I am choosing to look at this as a way for me to have a fresh start to what my online content is about. Will I continue to post to my YouTube channel? Of course I will! But…. I have decided to take my content to another platform as well. Prior to writing this article I have created a page on Patreon where, if you would like to, my viewers are able to support me directly for my video content. Feel free to check out my page here: www.patreon.com/jdpianokeys

My focus is to helping others understand the diversity in this world. If I can offer insight in how I interact with my own communities, connect with others who share the same labels or serve as representation, a seed can be planted in the minds of viewers. My hope is that by sharing my story, and inviting guests to share theirs, consideration for those who are different will happen with my viewers.

But some projects I have in mind are going to cost me time, energy, and even money. With the support of my viewers big donations for small, it can help me to achieve what I want to accomplish with my presence online. If you would like to be part of having early access to YouTube content, or exclusive content available only to Patreon Subscribers, click the link about and see what perks are available for joining Team Awesome!



A Blind Coach

So if you are subscribed to my YouTube channel (youtube.com/jdpianokeys) you might have caught my latest upload. I am now coaching 6th and 7th grade boys soccer at work! My first official position as a head coach for anything. I was an assistant coach for cross country in the past with another school I worked for. I am now at work 10 hours a day, four days a week. As you can imagine I go home utterly drained, ready to lay down and fall asleep!

This new schedule change has me drained as you can imagine! Thus far we’ve had two matches and our next two are just next week Monday and Wednesday! How did I get this position? Well, I was a last minute resort, because the usual person who has coached in the past pulled out the week before practices started. So our athletic director approached me and said that we were in need of a 6th/7th grade coach. I gave it a day to think about and asked about the pay, it was enough to make me commit. 😉

But since I’ve started I have loved the experience! Of course I was nervous, doing everything I could to learn about the game of soccer. Penalties, rules, plays. I have played for fun when I was in elementary. My 3rd grade teacher was from Hungary and he taught us how to play. My 4th grade teacher was big into soccer, so for both years I played during PE and recess, 3rd VS 4th!

Other than that, you should know that I am by no means a “jock” nor have I ever been in school! I don’t watch sports, I don’t follow sports. But I am competitive! So I thought to myself, “why not?” And since then I’ve been having fun with it. Having a chance to connect more with the kids, creating practice drills, cheering them on during games and getting after their bad habits.

So far we’ve tied our first game and lost our second. I’m starting to figure out where my players are their strongest. I am now getting more insight in how to be assertive with them, but also be as encouraging as I can be. Middle school kids are a riot! But I have been working with them for over a year now, and the pitch is just another extension of campus.

How can I coach if I can’t see??? Well there are several techniques that I have (and still am in the process of) developing to help me keep track of things. I have a roster for every game and practice with a student’s number and position for that day. that way I know who is in which position on the pitch during plays. On my white board I make sure to write in my substitutions when I send them in to know who is playing and who isn’t. Thankfully I am able to see the ball in play, my only issue really is picking out the individual players on the field. Our jerseys aren’t that well designed to make the numbers stand out. I’m glad the calls are left to the refs during the game!