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Old 08-25-2019, 08:48 AM   #329
OLChemist
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Wow, someone who likes the sound of their own voice as much as I do, LOL. j/k


First, how was the powwow?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
I know overall in my posts I am sounding like some kind of a white apologist which is the most uncool thing in the world right now. I'm just trying to promote more understanding on both ends I guess.

Second, no you did not sound like a white apologist. You sound like many on the lost or befuddled I've met from the dominant culture. You sound like some of my own non-Native kin.

But, too often the demand for "more understanding" is actually code for "you must give us your cultural and intellectually property." It also discounts the fact that Native people live immersed in the dominant culture, were educated in dominant culture institutions, consume dominant culture media, and have friends and family within the dominant culture. They may understand full well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
I see it as exactly the same force that is attempting to bring all peoples and cultures under its thumb until they have no memory whatsoever of their past, until the lifeblood and energies of all people only feed one power structure. Then the work that began thousands of years ago will be complete.

Have you read Silko's Ceremony? If not, do.

Ceremony on Amazon


Quote:
Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
I think there are a lot of things just as someone who didn't grow up in the *white* culture can't understand, a white can't understand what it's like to grow up indian.

Sure the fish is the wrong one to explain water. Unaware, he is immersed in it. But, the frog goes from air to water and needing both is able to. The word in Lakota for mixed blood is iyeska or i'eska depending on the orthography de jour. It's not the nicest word you can have directed at you. Literally, it means speaks white. The image it conjures is the antithesis of Lakota values. Yet, in ceremony it is also a term for interpreter. There is a perspective that comes with being iyeska.

From that vantage (and that of the fine liberal arts undergraduate education my parents insisted upon), I want to approach this:


Quote:
Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
I think a really crucial question is - what are a people who have completely lost their own native history and culture left to do? Create a new one, I guess is the only answer, but then how do you go about doing that? Sorting the things out that are on the table for the culture I guess is also the only logical answer- but also, that is difficult to do when the culture has been completely hijacked - when most of the people living in the culture aren't even the ones creating it anymore. Just like with christianity, a lot of the beliefs and viewpoints that are getting pushed on television have been arbitrarily decided by people who don't have THE people's best interest in mind or at heart. It's impersonal.

In your earlier post, you spoke of how the dominant culture was detached from this land. Do you think a borrowed or stolen culture would fit better?


"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." -- John Milton (1608 - 1674)

"For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good." -- Psalms 52:9


Offering gratitude to the Creator, the Earth, ones ancestors and the powers is a significant part of Native lifeways. Once it was part of the ways of your ancestors. This is what I see a missing from so many in today's dominant culture. They can look with the eyes of science upon the amazing mechanism of the living human cell, watch the dance of subatomic particles, peer into the heavens and back into time, yet can only see the half-full glass. And like a child they obsess over what they don't have. As Milton says, without gratitude there is no sense of transcendence. There is no sacred without the transcendent. How can an person nurture the relationships with kin, "tribe", place, and the Creator in a perpetual sense of deprivation?

Native people often have an enormous amount of dysfunction, death and destruction in their lives. There is a lot to mourn. There are many reasons to be angry. There are many reasons to throw yourself into a whirlwind of self-destruction. In my experience, traditional healing always begins with an expression of gratitude. You offer a little tobacco and pray that these people might live. Hecel lena oyate kin nipi kte.

In my culture, your relationships with kin are most important. Whether your parents were parents of the year or not, they conspired with the Creator to give you life. For that they deserve your gratitude and respect. This does not mean get sucked into pathologies, should they exist. But it does mean acknowledging the gifts they gave you, however meager. This you do because you are human and this is what civilized humans do. For how can you hope to maintain a healthy relationship with the people, land, plants, animals, and powers that surround you if you can't honor your responsibilities to your own family?

Gratitude takes the focus off you. As my mother would say: "Stare into your navel long enough and you're likely to find some pretty nasty lint." It seems to me those, within any culture, who are the most fulfilled -- and do not confound fulfillment with happiness -- are those who work that the people might live.

Maybe a start in your search is not to look to another people's cultural patrimony but to find the reasons for gratitude within your own. I doubt you need to go into a potentially unrecoverable past to find gratitude, beauty and truth. Trust the many iyeska who have wept over the world we could have built together had we just gone about our past differently, your history, original instructions, philosophies, and arts contain what you need.

Last edited by OLChemist; 08-25-2019 at 02:23 PM.. Reason: If I edit this enough times, I might just fix all my typos.
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