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Old 04-12-2006, 11:46 AM   #1
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Umbilical Cords

I was recently asked why some tribes save their umbilical cords and wear them in decorated pouches when they dance.

I have no idea how to answer this question.

There are probably many tribal and regional reasons for this.

Can anybody help?
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
I was recently asked why some tribes save their umbilical cords and wear them in decorated pouches when they dance.

I have no idea how to answer this question.

There are probably many tribal and regional reasons for this.

Can anybody help?
I heard you wear yours around your neck tied on a leather thong and chew on it when you enter into a 'tense situation'.

lol!!
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bo Jangles
I heard you wear yours around your neck tied on a leather thong and chew on it when you enter into a 'tense situation'.

lol!!

And I heard you keep yours in a bowling ball case because it's the same size, shape and weight! *L

.... and even has three holes the size of your 3 nostrils!
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:31 PM   #4
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Question

...

Last edited by lbgood; 03-20-2009 at 10:15 PM.. Reason: ...
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbgood
So what do the Kiowa people do with it Whome?
lb,

I have no idea. That is why I posted this question. I have seen several that were put into small beaded pouches and worn by women of several different tribes.

Thank you for sharing the Ute way of doing things.
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Last edited by WhoMe; 04-12-2006 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
And I heard you keep yours in a bowling ball case because it's the same size, shape and weight! *L

.... and even has three holes the size of your 3 nostrils!
There you go again!

....gettin' all jealous and hurt cause mine's bigger than yers!!

aye!

I heard you got a mean toe nail clipping collection too......ya know, over next to the envelope with the nose hair trimmings your saving up to do a faux turkey beard roach with and your belly button lint and ear wax ball collection you're saving up for the first annual NMAI artists in residence, wacky collections auction. I heard it's gonna be a gala black tie, eight course sit down meal function.

GEEZ!

You comin' to GON? ASU?

Dang. Maybe we should carry this over to PM's?

LMAO!
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbgood
So what do the Kiowa people do with it Whome?
They soak it overnight in their corn soup for "flavoring"!!

AYE!!




sorry....I'm gonna stop now......it's a legitimate question posted by Whome and here I come tearin it up!

My apologies.

Mods, feel free to intervene and delete my posts here in this thread.
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bo Jangles
They soak it overnight in their corn soup for "flavoring"!!

AYE!!




sorry....I'm gonna stop now......it's a legitimate question posted by Whome and here I come tearin it up!

My apologies.

Mods, feel free to intervene and delete my posts here in this thread.

*L

S'all good.
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:42 PM   #9
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Talking

IBGOOD is pretty much right on the beaded turtles and lizzards and sometimes other animals/shapes. They were put on cradles and you will see them on the old time belts worn by girls as part of their set (knife case, ticket case, pouches, etc) Sometimes they came in twos....one had the chord and the other didn't. At the turn of the last century, many were made just for the tourist trade and they did NOT contain a chord. They are found from the Northwest area to the southern Plains.
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:41 PM   #10
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As much as you people do not care for me, I do have an anwser to the question. It may not be truely correct, but this is what I was told a long time ago.

The cord thing was started by the Crow. Mothers would take the cords from their children at birth, dry them and place them in a bag. They would carry them untill the child was old enough to parent a child. Then passed to the child. The idea was that a mother could hold on to the child as being part of her until she could no longer as the child was of age to reproduce. Stillborn and dead children's cords would be carried for the entire life of the mother as to protect those children from harm because they could not defend themselves. It was also a way for the mother to have the child with them.

Before the idea of passing the cords to the children came along, the mother would keep all cords as a way to count how many children were born to the woman. At the mothers death the cords would be passed to the Creator with the mother.

This is what I was told. I do not know if it is true. I assume it is true because it makes sence to me. The information came from my grandmother. She has now passed into another world. She was a good woman.

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Old 04-13-2006, 11:26 AM   #11
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It has been a long standing tradition for a Sioux child to receive two beaded fetishes at birth.
Usually it is a turtle for girls and lizards for boys, as the turtle is thought to embody feminine medicine and the lizard is thought to embody masculine medicine.
The fetishes were usually made by a close female relative or the mother, and they were beaded according to the tribal designs, and there were always two of them, and stuffed with buffalo or horse hair.
Secreted inside of one was the child's umbilical cord stump (after it had fallen off) and hidden away while the other was left out in plain sight.
The one with the umbilical cord was hidden because it was thought that bad or malignant spirits could take over the child's spirit and make mischief with the child, and possibly control them as they grew, in the tradition of the "Skin Walkers".
When the child turned 5, they were given the fetish containing their umbilical cord, as the child was thought to be old enough to understand the responsibility of keeping it safe as part of their personal medicine.
A person who acted abnormally was thought to have lost their umbilical cord, and the protective medicine that it contained, so great care was taken that the people would not loose their fetish, and their medicine, as it was thought that loosing the fetish with the umbilical cord could cause insanity, or even death.
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Old 04-13-2006, 03:59 PM   #12
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I don't know about it starting with the Crow, but that sounds pretty good to me. Of course in my tribe, we have different beliefs.

When the cord shrivels and falls off a newborn, it is wrapped in sage and put in a specially decorated turtle or snake, or lizard (I think it's pretty much up to the parent which design they want to use). It is sewn in and put on the cradle board where the child can use it as a toy/teether until they are out of the board. Then it is attached to the child, sometimes on the back of the belt, or around the neck. When the child grows up to be an adult, it continues to go with them, so it is not uncommon to see someone dance with it.
The reason we keep it close all the time is because it is called our Chekpa, or our twin. It's like a continuation of our essence, so we want to protect it, and it protects us. The turtle is used most often because of the strength and endurance the turtle has. It is to ensure long life.
We also say that if you don't keep it, you are always going to be looking for it. Have you ever seen little kids who just HAVE to open every cupboard and closet door? Hes looking for his Chekpa! And my Grandma Madge used to say that my Uncle Ernie was looking for his every time he opened the refridgerator door and just stood there for a long time!
This is what I was taught, anyway!
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiyan
I don't know about it starting with the Crow, but that sounds pretty good to me. Of course in my tribe, we have different beliefs.

When the cord shrivels and falls off a newborn, it is wrapped in sage and put in a specially decorated turtle or snake, or lizard (I think it's pretty much up to the parent which design they want to use). It is sewn in and put on the cradle board where the child can use it as a toy/teether until they are out of the board. Then it is attached to the child, sometimes on the back of the belt, or around the neck. When the child grows up to be an adult, it continues to go with them, so it is not uncommon to see someone dance with it.
The reason we keep it close all the time is because it is called our Chekpa, or our twin. It's like a continuation of our essence, so we want to protect it, and it protects us. The turtle is used most often because of the strength and endurance the turtle has. It is to ensure long life.
We also say that if you don't keep it, you are always going to be looking for it. Have you ever seen little kids who just HAVE to open every cupboard and closet door? Hes looking for his Chekpa! And my Grandma Madge used to say that my Uncle Ernie was looking for his every time he opened the refridgerator door and just stood there for a long time!
This is what I was taught, anyway!
I was wondering how the sioux did theirs ...thanks for the sioux explanation Aho!!
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Old 04-13-2006, 04:58 PM   #14
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just a funny little note to add, it is said in my tribe that you can tell if a child has lost thier cord cause they are nosey looking through peoples things, they are looking for thier belly button.
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:44 PM   #15
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Talking Our stumps..

Husband carries his stump in a turtle umbilical bag filled with buffalo hair, sage, sweetgrass and cedar when he dances and I saved the stumps from the kids to put into their cord bags which their paternal grandparents gave them when they were given their names. Just some FYI from another tribe.
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:46 PM   #16
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i heard from my dad that you keep them so you dont be a digger when your older...you know like digging around in cupboards and closets looking for it...
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Old 04-13-2006, 05:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
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just a funny little note to add, it is said in my tribe that you can tell if a child has lost thier cord cause they are nosey looking through peoples things, they are looking for thier belly button.
duh..i just read yours... thats right eh..i say that to my brother and hes 38 yrs old today..when i catch him diggin isay "lookin for your belly button'
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Old 04-13-2006, 06:04 PM   #18
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Now this is very interesting. It appears that the cord bag is used by many tribes in different fashons. It seems that each tribe has a different way but the same meaning were handed down.

Could this have actually started long before we had the tribes we know of today? Could their have been just a few tribes scattered throughout North America? Could those tribes of yesterday split to what we know of today? What about the tribes of Alaska? According to anthropology, they were the first tribes here. The rest that came migrated south to warmer climets. I was taught that the Crow started this. But how long have the Crow been the Crow. Or how long have the Lakota been the Lokota? The anwser may actually be a tribe that we do not know about. This may have started by ancestors that split up to form many of todays Nations.
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Old 04-13-2006, 10:05 PM   #19
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ANYWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYZ ^ ^

hey MOTS and migi and wiyan...yeah, me too!!! LOL...I've heard the "lookin for your belly button" thing lots! (from mah Comanche G-parents..hehe)

but I don't recall a specific reason for (or for not) wearing it on your powwow outfit...maybe back-n-da-day, people did it at powwows, but I dunno now...competition clothes are sooooo different thesedays......
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Old 04-14-2006, 10:41 AM   #20
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Land of 370 Broken Treaties
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Thanks for all the replys on here, the PM's and the emails.

There certainly are numerous reasons for saving a childs umbilical cords according to tribal tradition.

Some women wear them when they dance. Some wear them tied to their breastplates on the back over their heart, some in a pouch tied around their neck and some as a 4th bag on their belts.

I have learned that most tribes tie them to their baby's cradles, to begin with.

Also they are stored in pouches. Also diamond, turtle, snake and lizard shaped cases. Some beaded, some not.


Thanks for your help!
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