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Old 08-05-2007, 02:15 PM   #348
NorthofAda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Historian View Post
How about getting back on track with the original question.

What is most important to you, that Whites know about our people?

Perhaps looking at a few other questions may help.

What are the most common myths and stereotypes about NDN people that you would like to see dissolved?

How who you go about educating the dominant White society about the truths concerning NDN people?

Is it more important for white society to be educated on the detailed diversity of hundreds of different tribes and nations with different cultures, traditions and languages, or is it more important for white society to be educated on the true common factors that are found in all NDN (Indigenous) cultures?

Is it important that white society knows that NDN people can come together at Pow-Wows, with different cultural backgrounds, yet be unified in their desire to be good and kind and helpful, and show high ideals of sharing and giving?
Those are some good questions Historian.

I think there should be some balanced awareness of NDN diveristy/similarity. What I mean is that none of US even know the details of the traditions, cultures and languages of every other tribe. We need to teach them that there are some similarities - oral history and the communication of traditions, respect for elders, respect for warriors/veterans, and the like, but balance that with the fact that there is no 1 "Indian language" or culture or religion, for example.

I think dissolving stereotypes is an uphill battle. Much of predominant native history, especially books you'd find at your local library, was written by non-NDNs and has a skewed perspective. Even little things like the translation of place name meanings are presented incorrectly. With the Internet, there is even more opportunity for incorrect information to be shared. I think having the NMAI and sites like Powwows.com does a lot to point those wanting an accurate picture of "nativeness" in the right direction. I think having more NDNs in mainstream media, such as movies, music, and the like will help, but we have generations of Hollywood misconceptions of NDNs to overcome. Finally, there are the schools. I know that in some states, like the Dakotas, they are doing a lot to increase the accuracy of what is being taught in the schools about Native history and culture, but more needs to be done. Here in Wisconsin, what I've found is that there is spotty education, and somewhat narrow in scope. My kids have been taught a lot about the prehistoric NDNs, the Mound Builders who lived here thousands of years ago, but very little about modern Native culture. Even then, perhaps justifiably so, it is centered around the peoples who are indigenous to our locale, the Potawatami, Oneida, Menominee, Winnebago, etc. It would be nice if they were at least told that not all NDNs live the ways these people did, that NDNs of the plains, the Southwest, Southeast, Northwest and Northeast have different traditions.

I like the idea of your last question, showing how we can come together at powwows and share. I think that should be communicated clearly by the MC throughout a powwow, teaching the spectators about how the powwow brings us together, how we may have differences in our regalia, but a similarity in our attitudes. That's why it was kind of disheartening to see how this thread turned over the course of time. Anybody who is non-Native reading this would wonder why we attack each other so aggressively, if we supposedly hold so much in common.

Kind of a lengthy post - thanks for asking these questions and stimulating more spirited discussion.


Last edited by NorthofAda; 08-05-2007 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: Wrong name.
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