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Old 08-26-2019, 01:28 AM   #332
joythirstpop
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thanks for taking the time to read all this crap I'm writing, and then respond thoughtfully. I don't know too many people in real life who like to talk about big ideas, and there's not too many good forums that I know of online anymore. This seems like an interesting forum maybe to come back to in the future.

I ended up chickening out on the powwow, but it ended up working out anyways because one of the tires on my car has been making noise for weeks and later that day I had a flat tire. The powwow I was going to go to was a couple hours away and I might've ended up stuck out there. Maybe I will go another time.

I feel like I should say as a side-note that my posting into this thread was probably charged with a particular vibe after having read through it fully, and a few pages/years back (this thread was started in 2004 or something?!) there was a particularly lost sounding individual that just made me feel really sad for them. They didn't seem to get all that much sympathy- I completely understand why, it just kind of stuck me with some sort of impression and I felt like I wanted to say some things I've had rolling around isolated in my own head for a while and see how other users responded. But, maybe after all the things in my head weren't that important or special. Worth taking the time to find out, and thank you for helping.

I guess I want to take the time to come to some big questions and say some things that may or may not really piss you off, but since we've got this far it's probably worth fleshing out (at least I hope, you are the judge of that yourself.) Of course, I know you don't represent all the native americans, just as I don't represent all white people. But I think it could potentially be unhealthy to think of it as unequivocally unfruitful to take any potential risks of offense if any greater truth might be at stake somewhere.

So, one thing I'd like to bring up is that in terms of my own personal ancestry (and I know a lot of other modern americans have the same or similar), it is so diluted that I am not more than 18% of any one nationality. It's a mixture of irish, scottish, swedish, italian, english, german and native american with a bunch of other smaller bits thrown in that I could trace way back. Technically I think I would be between 6 and 7% native american based on the information I have been able to dig up. So, I'm a complete mutt. And all these nationalities have unique cultures, languages and histories, but none of them really feel like they are "mine" in particular. But, because I am mostly "white", am I just supposed to stick to revering, learning about, participating in the "white" parts?

And, theoretically, even for someone fully "white", is it still wrong to want to have reverence for native american beliefs and customs, to learn about them and possibly participate (where the line is, of course, you are the judge) in some capacity? Is that the same as "owning"? I know that there is a danger of things falling into the wrong hands, losing their meaning and becoming perverted - but should that discourage any desire for reverence or "participation"(?) whatsoever?

I think it's pretty well agreed upon that the vast overwhelming majority of indigenous belief systems in the world overlap in a huge way. Maybe the particular rituals, prayers, words, regalia, stories, gods, histories differ - but overall there seems to be major similarities in the way they view reality, the world, and humanity's place in it. For instance I think the celtic, nordic and germanic tribes all had very similar world views to the native americans, though the technicalities differed. It's when the abrahamic religions were introduced that that particular style of worldview seems to have begun to wane for those peoples - and that was a change that was forced, not natural.

Believe me, I have tried to get into philosophers and writers of the west... and yes, there are good ones - BUT, before descartes, they were all heavily christian in their theology, and after descartes, they all seem to be in some way either for or against it. There's not too many western writers, philosophers or figures who view the world in ways that can be compared to that traditional older and more universal indigenous way of looking at things.

I know it would seem that every culture should have equal amounts of admirable figures and beliefs, but what if they don't? What if certain parts of certain cultures resonate more deeply for certain people, and others don't? Are they supposed to ignore it?

I know you bring up intellectual and cultural property, and I think regalia, rituals, prayers and other specifics (I'm not sure where the line is?) are all obviously in their right place as unique and deserving of complete respect for them and for those who it belongs to. But as for the deeper beliefs, worldview, spirituality - can you own that, can anyone own that? What if you are white and find yourself agreeing with those beliefs, or that general worldview - that it matches up with your more ancient ancestors - but there's nowhere really for you to go to experience other people celebrating those beliefs and worldviews in an authentic way?

I know you would probably be pissed off if I were to say something along the lines of- "well, buddhist, judaic and some other religions don't discourage other ethnicities from learning about or participating in their religions, some even actively encourage them" - and I wouldn't say that. BUT, I do ask (respectfully), where is the line? I'm sure I would get different answers from different people (of course), but I'm still interested to hear anyone's reasoning for what they feel or believe. I'm not writing any of this coming from a place of, "just let all the white people in and treat them as your own!". I'm not asking that at all. I know there's still bones to pick and unresolved things. I just still sense, through reading the history of this thread, a lot of general enmity regarding these issues (understandably, I should note)- though more from some and less or none from others. I guess I just want to understand more. Whether or not you think I am worth the time or effort to be made to understand is up to you, and thank you again for your time and effort!

Thank you also for the part you included about having more gratitude and reverence. I will think on that more, I think it's a good lesson for everyone. I really believe the "west" having lost any sense of gratitude, wonder or seemingly ANY reverence for ANYTHING at all is one its biggest problems. I will definitely check out that book.

I read this book a few years ago "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" and there is this one part where an indian elder is talking about the way he sees the world, with god having gifted each unique culture to the world as fingers on a larger hand that is humanity as a whole, each culture with particular strengths, each which would be strengthened when working together. I guess ultimately I would like to bring up the idea that a lot of people have talked about over time, of some kind of transcendental religion or truth underlying all others. I think a lot of westerners don't like that their particular religions seem to leave out a lot, especially in regards to nature, respecting women, respecting ancestors, and unity or the whole "circle of life" concept - and for some even things like gods, spirits, colorful legends.

And, with every culture, at some point for the customs to have begun, they were new at one point - however far back. Are we only to ever look to the past, or can we choose what happens with our cultures- can they become new and to an extent unrecognizable from themselves in the past? That is surely what has already happened with the West in the past 2000 years, and will mostly likely continue to happen- but hopefully people motivated by benevolence can get the reigns sooner than later. I do believe the past and tradition hold power (I'm sure you'd agree) - but what if the traditions readily available to us (specifically westerners) aren't cutting it anymore so to speak?

There's a lot I've written here. I'm not sure if it completely does justice for where I'm trying to come from, I hope it gets across. Thank you again for your reading and responses!!

Last edited by joythirstpop; 08-26-2019 at 03:43 AM..
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