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Old 05-24-2012, 07:26 PM   #303
Unregistered Cheroke
Unregistered Cherokee
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Originally Posted by this1ndnchic View Post
Thats kinda cool to me, cuz they are interested in the native cultures. But on the other hand the non-natives who WANT TO BE native is really pathedic.
What if those white people are trying to escape their white culture, to "deculturate" as white? Fact is, modern white culture is very destructive to many people living in it. I know it is to me just on the physical lifestyle part of it. It is destructive on account of a way of living that is unsustainable over the long run, separates us from each other, devalues us, and destroys the earth. Maybe the issue is that that woman realizes this (unless she was talking about the bible), and she is lost and needs help moving to the place she needs to go to in her heart. That's what happens to people when they find themselves trapped and are trying to find their way out.

This is what I mean, but first, I need to say something:

I am unregistered, of Cherokee ancestry, as my screen name indicates. My grandmother was Cherokee, but passed on when I was barely a year old, so I did not get to know her. I grew up in a household where apparently, my parents knew not to push the religion issue on me. Mom had me baptized shortly after I was born, but Dad refused to go along with it. After they divorced, I lived with Dad and stepmother (who tried once to convert me to Christianity, and it didn't take because I wouldn't accept it and questioned it too much). My parents believed that I was born deaf, but other things indicate that I lost my hearing very early on. I'm someone who experienced relative linguistic isolation for a very long time because of my profound deafness in the first seven-plus years of my life (no one knew that I was deaf until the very end of the first grade, when I had flunked out and was put in a school for children with disabilities early in the year, and it was after a school year of deaf education that I was exposed to religion for the first time, by a polish catholic nanny of all people. I could not believe what the grown woman was saying to me!), and also experienced a lack of verbal exposure to today's religions up until that time. I was very much wild and free (this is true, still even though I've had to temper the wild streak enough to survive, but I will NEVER lose it because it is too big inside me), and I was an easily frustrated children because I couldn't communicate very well with a very small vocabulary. My Old Way is Native Human living in modern civilization, and I have carried intact to this day this worldview, which I'm unable to explain because there are no words for it, as I didn't learn to talk English beyond two words until I was fitted with hearing aids during the seventh summer (I was born in January).

Today, I wrote this:

I just read something that is very difficult for me to deal with at the moment. I'm sick at home with a cough, and I couldn't sleep very much last night. I couldn't fall asleep, and I had to sooth myself of fear of the night by remembering the connection to my worldview and stepping into the light that is seen far off on mountain ridges, to bring warmth and pain relief on myself.

I've been struggling in the weeks since to determine if my Native or feral ways of looking at things can be interfaced with traditional Cherokee beliefs. It's possible that I may never complete this process... This, I read on acculturation/assimilation of Native Americans (and please read the article to make sense of it):

"However trivial it may seem, this short exchange between Mohegan and the singing settler corresponds to Cooper's earlier presentation of the mixed provenance of Mohegan's attire both in implication and technique. If Mohegan's attire is not European enough to justify his total acculturation to white culture, Mohegan's short and gloomy answer to the singing settler's question about the music is obvious enough to reveal his reluctance to sever all his innate ties to the Native American traditions. His reluctance is strongly proved by what happens moments before his death near the end of The Pioneers. Knowing that the time of his death is drawing near, Mohegan completely reverts to his Indian tradition, painting his face and body, decorating himself with Indian ornaments, rejecting European clothing, and losing his ability to make baskets. Most importantly, however, Mohegan's belief in Christianity is gone, but his love for the Indian faith is back. Ultimately, Mohegan dies as an Indian, ascending to his Indian paradise. For him, as he describes in his last words, "The path is clear, and the eyes of Mohegan grow young. I look -- but I see no white-skins; there are none to be seen but just and brave Indians" (421). On the surface, Cooper might want us to be sad and, even, shocked to discover that Mohegan has never been as wholly "civilized" as he seems. His ulterior aim, however, is to use the reversal of Mohegan's acculturation, or what might be called the "deculturation" of Mohegan, to warn his contemporaries that the transformation of Native Americans through acculturation will never succeed. As he declares through the mouth of Natty Bumppo, "It's hard to keep them from going back to their native ways" (421)."

I just about cried when I read this. It is a very emotional piece for me, because I am Native, or an Ancient. I am one without a recognized spiritual faith, because I cannot explain what it is or how it works. Every time I look into different things, like rock bands, making things, or doing things, I lose interest and revert back to simply being, as I was as a child. My stepmother tried to acculturate me as a Christian one summer. I say acculturate because I was forced to go to bible summer school. I was not given a choice, since I was a lot smaller than her and couldn't fight back, and Dad couldn't stop her from making me go if he was out in the field working. I HATED IT, because it represented control about everything I do, (wait a minute, that might explain why this country is increasingly eroding our personal rights, which the Cherokee Nation was based on), and my stepmother didn't know what to do with me because I was wild when she met me, so she probably thought I needed to have the "savage" taken out of me (even if it was a mixed-blood/white one).

It's possible that the struggle I have is that I will not successfully assimilate into anything, because of my Native status, even if I try to assimilate into traditional Cherokee beliefs. I'm finding myself doing that. I really have to work hard to maintain interest in all but the basic interests, like making things, playing my didgeridoo (I'm having a hard time maintaining interest in my drum set playing at this time), learning culture and language little by little. I find myself reverting, "deculturating," as Cooper put it, to these interests only, and I realize now that I can't stop it. Only I'm doing it now and not near death because it is so strong.

It seems like I continually look for new things to do because I find it hard to feel okay about reverting to simple living. It's hard because I don't have someone who shares the same cultural situation. I feel alone in that regard.

It would be interesting to see if it would be possible to talk to that woman who was escorted out and see if it would be possible to deculturate her from the white world if she is willing, and apply that to people who are trying to get out before they destroy themselves. They're doing a good job of destroying themselves in Europe, DC, and NYC. It's just a matter of time...
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