Thread: Women On Drum?
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:29 AM   #10
Elo Janis
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I have come across a number of articles recently about how a number of our traditional beliefs and behavior are either changing or disappearing permanently in Native American circles. This has led myself and many others to wonder if this is a signal that Native American life is slowly coming to an end.
Things that were once considered sacred, are now nothing but memories to most of us older traditionalists. In their place, the current younger generation have been taking liberties with the handling of our traditions. While change is good for the most part, a mere 'update' would suffice in most of these situations as there are just some things that really have no need to be altered in any manner.
Using the fact that her advanced age and accumulated wisdom made her one of the last of the last of traditionalists, my Unci told a number of us many of the things that were meant to remain as they were, never to be changed regardless of how the world was changing at a rapid pace all around us and how people would start to view the remainder of the Native population.
In order for our way of life to remain as close to what it was before the European Invasion and subsequent American Holocaust, it was up to the elders, now more than ever, to instill in us the original practices of our tribe so that our way of life would remain as close as possible to what it has always been.
One of the issues Unci made perfectly clear was that in the Sioux tribe, women would forever be forbidden from leading a drum group. Instead, their role at powwows was to sing only back up, and of course, wechagalante at the end of honoring songs.
Her reasoning was that there always had been and always would be set in stone traditional roles that Indian men and women adhered to in order for our way of life to continue on for generations, unfazed by the white mans culture of change. She based this on the premise that since we never had a universally accepted written language as our primary form of communication, the only way to pass down our traditions for the survival of our descendants depended on verbal story telling.
Since the beginning of our history, it had always been the male's duty to be the primary story teller of their group and that women would not be expected to participate in any of these story telling sessions. So it just seemed logical that since many of our songs reflect the state of our tribe, it would be the men who would take the responsibility to pass down these thoughts and words. For that reason alone I personally do not think it is a good idea to have exclusively women's drum groups. Even though music of all venues are changing constantly, Native American music is one style of music that would best be left as it was handed down to us.
And for Zeke and all the others who think that our much honored and always respected 'traditionalist views and values' are nothing but BS, may I remind you that had it not been for traditionalists holding their ground against many who think they have a better way of doing things among us, the Native American customs many of us hold close to our hearts today would not exist. WE would NOT exist. Show respect not only for your elders, the heart of our existence, but for yourself as well. By dissing those who gave their traditionalist lives so YOU might have the pleasure of being here shows great disrespect for the grandparents and parents who put you on this Earth.
Instead of attending a powwow, the dancers of this generation would be holding raves with singing what were once traditional native songs in hip hop, Blues and rap style renditions. Our regalia would be nothing more than thongs and bra tops for women covered by transparent mini skirts and the men would be making their rounds in pants sagging under butt cheeks, backwards baseball hats and cigars being the costume of the day.
I understand progress and a need to change who we are to fit the standards imposed by white led media and a handful of trendy, of the moment style of fashionistas like the KKK...Kim, Khloe and Kourtney.
But is this what we want our descendants to do to carry on our once proud and beautiful culture? Is this what we are descending into? If so, what is the point?
And please, for respect for elders and respect for your race, refrain from stating traditionalists are nothing but bull****. Had it not been for our ancestors' traditional bull****, none of us would be here today living what many would call decent, respectable lives. Lives that were made possible because some people cared enough to make sure traditional ways and beliefs are all we have to remember a life that is now gone...a life that might soon be totally and completely gone with rap stations playing the newest remix of Sioux favorites just as Kanye and Fifty cent would do them.
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"Sometimes the character of the opposition defines why something ought to be the most politically viable thing in the world that needs to be changed"
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