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Old 10-07-2018, 12:57 PM   #321
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Sometimes, they answer. It is hard to understand their language.
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:08 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by ches View Post
Sometimes, they answer. It is hard to understand their language.
I have no problem understanding. I don't mess around with those cult religions though.......
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I believe blood quantums are the governments way to breed us out of existance !


They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
It's not me....I think you're an idiot !





There's a chance you might not like me ,

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Old 08-24-2019, 04:12 AM   #323
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interesting thread.

I think it might be difficult to understand the intense need for belonging that some people experience, especially by those who weren't born with a sense of it predefined easily for them and passed down through their family. Like with a lot of things, you don't realize how important something is until it's gone missing, and for some people it is never missing from the beginning - and they are lucky! - while other people, it's been missing from the start and it may even take them a long time to realize it (if they ever do). They have the feeling of emptiness and may inevitably gravitate emotionally (wisely or unwisely) towards certain topics/ideas/ and sometimes identities which feel like they are guiding them towards a more whole sense of being.

I also think that what a lot of people don't realize about white people is that they ALL - bar none - had indigenous/tribal(?) ways in the distant past, however far back. There is undeniably a lot of animosity towards white people by others races, but in more recent years it's more noticeably also being stirred up by whites towards themselves. I don't think the fact that much of imperialism and imperialistic attitudes historically has been enforced by white people is proof in and of itself that white people by blood are defective in some crucial way, as much as I continue to see this sentiment implicitly AND explicitly suggested in the world. Forgive me if this is really ballsy to say, but if any other races had been living in closer geographic proximity to Rome in the past 2000 years, that would've very likely become the people that would constitute our modern "white" people. It's not an issue of blood but an issue of philosophies of life, view of reality, and mode of government - all which were used as tools of dominion by a new (at the time), highly effective, centralized and organized power structure.

European tribal peoples were forced at the edge of a blade (just like everyone else later on) to accept the rule and gradually the philosophy of their conquerors. They were just conquered a longer time ago, over a longer period of time, by people who looked more similar to them (one less barrier to assimilation - forced breeding laws with foreign occupying soldiers helped, too). And it wasn't just a forcing to accept authoritative rule and obey orders... their native religions were COMPLETELY wiped out, Christianity made sure of that (a tool of conquest? a lot of people think so) - being mandatory for conquered peoples to accept, also at the edge of a blade. It is wonderful that a lot of native american tribes have retained their beliefs and customs. White people TRULY do not have ANY of that which has survived for them from pre-christian times - except through movies, books - not firsthand, and not even from reliable sources.

White people in america really have no home... even if they could afford to go back to europe and attempt to assimilate, it would probably prove to be too troublesome and lonely for most. It's not even their culture anymore- and the culture that they DO have has been totally manufactured.

As for me, I only have one great-great grandfather of full native american blood, who was an orphan and I don't know what tribe he was. I heard about him as a kid and this lead me to have more curiosity as I got older - though as for his tribal customs, beliefs, sense of community- none of that was passed to me whatsoever. I am now 26 and tomorrow I am planning on going to my first powwow just to check it out and see how it feels. I am kind of nervous about it so with some google searches I found this thread and read the whole thing.

Long before I first started reading books about native american ideas and religion, I could easily have seen myself possibly over-hyping my native american ancestry- because all of the things that native americans represented to me in my head aligned so much more truthfully with the way that I felt about things (felt right)- in comparison to the world view being shoved down my throat through school and television. It seemed like something to be proud of. I never had much direct interaction with more full blooded natives as a kid, but I could've easily have seen myself acting in a way or saying something that would have possibly been offensive to them.

I really wonder, what is more significant when determining what constitutes a people? Is it genetic, is genetics even important whatsoever, or is it more importantly about shared values and shared destiny?

I think these are questions that are going to be more and more significant in the future, and not just for whites and natives specifically. All I know is that people divided cannot work together. Maybe we can learn from the past and the future can be brighter. I really believe that deep down. Hopefully we can all have more sympathy for each other. Seems to be the only way to bring us closer together.

thanks for the thread and thanks for reading, hope I didn't sound like a douche, and I hope I didn't waste your time
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Old 08-24-2019, 09:46 AM   #324
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To demonstrate my total geekiness. Let me mutilate a line from a favorite Star Trek episode: "A good post. Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a good post." LOL.

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Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
Long before I first started reading books about native american ideas and religion...
Plural, please. There are 500+ cultures in the US alone.


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I think it might be difficult to understand the intense need for belonging that some people experience...
I think, many do understand the intense need to belong, the intense need to satisfy the itch inside oneself. This intensity and the fate of other things non-Indians have wanted has taught Indian people to be, at best, cautious and, at worst, frightened.

My years in academia and then in industrial labs working with young people from the dominant culture has exposed me to many non-Indians with just this emptiness. I see several factors at play in producing this hunger.

1) Alienation from family. Something about the dominant culture model of adolescence seems to require conflict with parents. The process of transitioning from child to adult creates a distance that for many never heals. Maybe, the base familial unit is too small? Maybe, the fact that the industrial and post-industrial economic system has rendered adolescents unable to usefully contribute just when the Creator has programmed them to start trying out adult roles? Maybe, it's the radical individuality of a culture steeped in two millennia of the Christian idea the individual before a wrathful God on Judgement Day? Who knows.

As a result, many members of dominant culture American society have few connections to relatives and few connections to the larger social institutions the provide meaning. Further, the current generations seem less likely join or form voluntary social support networks. They live in tiny nuclear families, expecting to get all their social needs meet by their partner, children and pets.

2)Near total ignorance of and contempt for their cultural heritage. Let me take Christianity as an example. In my experience, those professing religious alienation know little about the breadth and depth of the many Christians traditions. Usually, they simply know they don't like it. They are similarly ignorant and scornful of their artistic, literary and philosophical traditions.

Rather than honor what they have received from their ancestors and learn from the good and the bad in their history and culture, they disown their past. Rather than alter and adapt what is theirs, they become voyeurs. Then, they mistake exoticism for meaning.

3) Romanticism. Especially since the 1960's Native people have become wrapped in a Billy Jack, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Dances With Wolves veil of dominant culture projections. These are just as distorting as the John Wayne captivity narrative tropes of prior generations. Indian people and their cultures become vehicles for dominant culture desires. Natives are a magic mirror, telling them they are just who they want to be.


Which brings me to the other half of your sentence.

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Originally Posted by joythirstpop View Post
...especially by those who weren't born with a sense of it predefined easily for them and passed down through their family.

No disrespect intended but... Easily?! Did you miss the zombie apocalypse? Language loss. Disintegration of the family. Destruction of traditional economies, educational systems, governmental structures, epidemics, war, institutionalized deculturation.... Native people have been a bit busy in the half a millennium since the Lost White Guy washed up in the Caribbean.

Transmission of identity isn't easy for any culture living submersed within another. You make a passionate case for the travails of the Gaels, Saxons, Cimbrians, Teutons, etc under the Roman Empire. Can't you see the same forces at work today? Can you understand why people might be less than willing to accept the child of the invader, when their own children need all the energy they have to give?



Maybe when I'm not nursing a migraine, I'll be a tad more positive and we can discuss some of your other points.
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Last edited by OLChemist; 08-24-2019 at 11:26 AM.. Reason: Grammar. It's not just a good idea; it's the law.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:01 AM   #325
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Dang , Billy Jack was my hero ! I suddenly feel so lost !
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I believe blood quantums are the governments way to breed us out of existance !


They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
It's not me....I think you're an idiot !





There's a chance you might not like me ,

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Old 08-24-2019, 11:30 AM   #326
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Dang , Billy Jack was my hero ! I suddenly feel so lost !
Great, I'm going to have an entire day with the image of you kicking redneck as -- uh -- aspirations across the courthouse square. Just don't do the hollyweird ceremony vision thing....

Dang, now we're back to snakes. I still miss JD, LOL.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:55 AM   #327
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JD's busy retiring ! He's so retired it makes me tired ! He's a coast to coast kinda retired now !
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I believe blood quantums are the governments way to breed us out of existance !


They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
It's not me....I think you're an idiot !





There's a chance you might not like me ,

but there's a bigger

chance I won't care
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:53 PM   #328
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OLChemist View Post
Can't you see the same forces at work today?
absolutely. 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. The work is at varying levels of completion with different peoples- some way more, some way less.

You bring up a lot of really good points, all of which I agree with, I apologize for misspeaking anywhere - instead of easily I should've said maybe "more" easily - but comparing I suppose can be pointless without real understanding to begin with. Things seem a certain way on the outside to outsiders, in any case. 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. From the outside I can see how certain aspects of white culture would be difficult to comprehend - and because they are difficult to understand, easier to result in judgment (and of course, vice versa- same would be likely to happen with any cultures or peoples who seem opposed or different in some way from each other). 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

About family- again, I don't know what it's like growing up indian, but I can say that all the white people I know who want to get away from their parents (myself included) had parents that treated them like total crap. And likely, these parents were treated that way by their parents, too - so it's developed over generations and generations. I think it's something to do with the power structure itself which discourages empathy and tells you that the way to get things to happen is to force and coerce people - authoritarianism - and have no mercy - almost like your children are soldiers or something. In a lot of these families there is very little warmth whatsoever, and the expression of authentic emotion or intimacy is completely absent. On top of that, there is this huge collective abstract authority that society represents for white families it seems... and parents sometimes will even compete with their own children for the imagined approval of that society- so sometimes you can feel like you are completely on your own. It can make you completely crazy.

About not appreciating the christian religion handed down... yes, there are definitely some admirable pieces of christian history/tradition/philosophy, really interesting christian mystics... but, for most of us that grew up with our parents trying to "bring us up" in that religion, forcing us to church on Sundays- it felt totally fake, the whole thing. Most or all of the people going seem to be there for show, and in my family personally as well as other families I know, the most vocal "christians" were also the most disgusting, self righteous and judgmental people you could ever meet. The experience of church for many provides nothing authentic to hold onto, and even the people who identify as christian who might seem to have something legitimately spiritual about them would've anyways whether they were brought up christian or not. It's not very encouraging to really want to investigate more about christianity for most.

On top of that, in more modern times, the culture is dictating and has been dictating - atheism is cool, christianity is not. Family is also "uncool".

Most modern christians belief seems to hinge upon this whole thing that believing that Jesus died for your sins is the most important thing in the universe and all you have to do is believe that and you will go to heaven when you die, nothing you do actually matters. It's really nuts. It makes you feel nuts going to church and having this crap hammered into your head over and over.

We could also get into a whole historical debate about whether institutional christianity was completely manufactured intentionally as a tool of dominion from its inception. Whereas celtic, norse, germanic or any native culture grew on its own, fermented in a way for thousands and thousands of years - christianity was created (its beliefs and practices arbitrarily decided by committees) and forced up hordes of conquered peoples. And if it was based on completely fake suppositions- as many feel - where does that leave us with it?

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.

I know white people seem silly or out of place approaching native beliefs/customs - but honestly they almost seem the same level of silly or out of place trying to re-approach their own heritage which they've been alienated from by a gap of hundreds or thousands of years. You may not have been exposed to the communities of people trying to revive pagan beliefs and customs - but I think there is some crossover in the particular way of going about it. I think it may have to do with growing up heavily on movies and television, and NOT receiving ANY traditions handed down from family - not even having any offered in the first place to either accept or reject. Many or most families let the TV and the school system raise their kids - that is, they give their kids up to the abstract authority to raise, and whatever version of history those forces decide to give those kids, is the version they get.


I think white people are just hungry for something true and authentic because everything they grew up with has largely been manufactured and felt fake or forced. Hopefully no other cultures get destroyed to the same extent before we can really begin rolling up our sleeves and reversing/undoing/healing thousands of years of spiritual, social and psychological damage. We are all going to need help from each other, that is for sure.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:48 AM   #329
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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?


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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.


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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


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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:


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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.
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Last edited by OLChemist; 08-25-2019 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: If I edit this enough times, I might just fix all my typos.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:46 AM   #330
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Howesha very good. Faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. I love you all just the way you are. I hope you have a howesha kisheki wonderful day. Take time to talk to a tree today.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:45 AM   #331
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@joythirstpop, I forgot to say: Bless you for being kind to this old dyslexic and her reading glasses by breaking your posts into clearly delimited paragraphs and skipping the texting abbreviations. Much thanks. :)
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:28 AM   #332
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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!!

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Old 08-26-2019, 03:47 PM   #333
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I ended up chickening out on the powwow,
You should never chicken out on a chance to learn !

Maybe I will go another time.
You should !

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-
Some folks just don't deserve sympathy ! A lot of how we determine someone's sincerity is based on how they react to some of the things we say to them.

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.

It is rare for one of us to get really mad......it has happened , but rarely !LOL

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?
This question always comes up ! There are many on here , who are ndn , live ndn , powwow ndn , ceremonial ndns , that are not full bloods and some are not even close , as in "thin bloods" ! But it IS who they are and who they identify themselves as !Some live on rezs , some live in the real world

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?

BUT, I do ask (respectfully), where is the line?
The line is within you grasshopper ! LOL You must identify as something ! Something can be defined but a "mutt" cannot.My GrandMother always said"you're either ndn or not , there is no in between"! So as a young man living in a white world , I decided I am Cheyenne and I took it upon myself to educate myself into everything Cheyenne. I'm still learning !

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.

Too many today deem themselves "entitled" No one is ! One must earn their place. Most can never achieve that as it takes much humility.

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!!
Greetings , I am just a Cheyenne "older" and not too qualified to speak about much. It's obvious you are looking for something , but whether it's in this culture remains to be seen. Ol'C is my friend and very knowledgeable in her culture......the Lakota culture. As a Cheyenne I know some things about our people. My wife is Cherokee/Choctaw/Creek and she knows much about her peoples. We "powwow" and we meet other tribes and learn about the little differences in our beliefs , the differences in the different tribal ways , how they do some things. Some other things we don't learn , because it's private and we respect that. There are over 550 DIFFERENT tribes , and I say that because we're not all the bonnet wearing tipi dwellers that you see on TV !
Once you've decided that you are ndn , and figure out what tribe you are , then you can begin a long journey into your own identity ! Or you may continue being a lost white person and gathering little bits of knowledge from everyone ! Either choice is yours. You speak in percentages ,so I'll assume you had a DNA test done. Good luck with that. Laters.....just an old guy with an attitude ! LOL
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:42 PM   #334
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Thank you for your reply! I guess I am really interested in this whole question of where belief and where identity intersect. I can see the importance of identifying as part of a people- for solidarity, strength, responsibility, education, connection. But, and I'm just speaking for conversation's sake- does one have to be part of a people or identify (because of blood?) as part of a people (and, in some cases, be accepted by that people?) in order to feel that they have any place in actually believing any of the beliefs of that people? And if they share in those beliefs, what should discourage them from wanting to participate in a celebration of those beliefs? Again, I'm sure everyone will have a different answer like you said!

I guess maybe using fractions is more traditional, 1/16 is what I know of as my native ancestry from my great great grandfather. My great grandmother, his daughter, is still alive, and I've spent a lot of time with her over my life and she is clearly very native, but doesn't have any tribal membership and has never really shown too much prerogative to want to investigate or participate in anything native more deeply. He said he was cherokee even though he was adopted and I don't think remembered his parents- and I may or may not have actually found his name on the dawes roll but I also know that some people really react negatively out of hand when you mention being cherokee from someone way way back. I guess I've been struggling with this, whether or not to even consider it worth it to pursue a tribal membership, or whether that is necessary or important. Sadly I've lost a lot of ties with that side of the family and I would need birth certificate down the generations etc. And if I were to go all through that and be denied anyways, I think I would feel pretty crappy about it.

I suppose it's a well known struggle! Part of me feels like I don't even deserve to know or participate, I feel very out of place. That's one place where I'm coming from, but I also know there are a lot of fully white people that are desperate to learn and are desperate for any kind of authentic spiritual celebration or community. Maybe in the future there can be more crossover or universality of celebration of the deeper parts / worldview of ALL of the worlds indigenous cultures, in some way that can be accessible to as many people as possible yet still allow for individual diversity and identities to remain and be retained. I think it could potentially be a really great thing for the world if people had a way to celebrate those values and connect with other people who felt the same.

I know there are people trying to revive the older european pagan stuff, but that is really few and far between and most of it doesn't really seem or feel authentic. I try to find celebrations nationally of those types of gatherings and there is really not much to be seen at all, or it'll be mixed with some completely ridiculous stuff (like "steampunk" aficionados?). Powwows on the other hand are all over the place, so more easily attend-able.

I'm not suggesting powwows in and of themselves should ever be repurposed. It just seems like the native peoples would be the strongest and already existing spring board for something like that to ever grow. But, maybe that's totally pipe dreams. I just know people are more isolated than ever, people are starved of authentic spirituality/community, and the environment of our planet is REALLY taking a beating (which for the most part the dominant culture seems to want to ignore) - and people's isolation only contributes to their weakness and inability to properly confront or do something about these problems.

Anyways, thanks again for reading, and thank you for your replies
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:08 AM   #335
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As much as I respect WD, I must disagree with something he said. I'm not "very knowledgeable." I know a little.


"My car is dented.
The radiator steams.
One headlight don't work,
But the radio can scream,
I got a sticker,
It say's "Indian Power",
I stuck it on my bumper,
That's what holds my car together."

-- Indian Cars, Keith Secola.

It is shame you missed the powwow. I know the fear of the uncertain automobile. I used to drive a Chevy Citation that was followed by a tow truck and two vultures. But, sometimes you just have to put on the bumper sticker -- and pay your auto club dues, LOL.

ATCR remix of NDN Cars


I trust you know that a powwow is a social event, not religious. There are spiritual dimensions to some aspects, but it's not ceremony.


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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.

You might get some argument on this in the Native world. This universalist assertion ignores a couple of big worldview issues.

Most of Native systems are much concerned with cultivating relationships, material and immaterial -- a western dualism that doesn't exist in the same manner. These systems are profoundly intermeshed with geographic locations, particular flora and fauna, and certain kin and social structures. Thus, they do not transplant. Nor do they lend themselves to sampling. You can't pick and choose, without potentially damaging the universe -- literally.

This is not to say that some tribes' ways and teachings don't provide ways of incorporating non-tribe members. But, there are profound changes involved in this. The person incorporated is fundamentally changed; they are woven into the community and metaphysical fabrics.


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...there can be more crossover or universality of celebration of the deeper parts / worldview of ALL of the worlds indigenous cultures, in some way that can be accessible to as many people as possible yet still allow for individual diversity and identities to remain and be retained....
The above raises a couple issues for me.

First, this is vision is at odds with the fundamental functioning more than a few Native religions/cultures. My experience suggests this wouldn't fly in the Pueblos, for example. Some traditional systems restrict knowledge and practice to particular aspects of the society. Each gender, clan and society has its responsibilities. The opposite gender, different clan or society has no business even knowing what the others do.

Second, it seems for many in dominant culture celebrate does not to mean to honor and respect, but instead to participate and then appropriate for their own use. From where I sit, the spiritual buffet approach so many seekers take, shows not a belief in the teachings they borrow. Instead they demonstrate a fundamental disbelief in the powers involved and a lack of respect for integrity of indigenous systems.

Over the years, I've run into a few non-Lakota people who've become enamored with a particular type of dreamer/ritualist, the heyoka. They seize on idea of a contrary and fall in love with the idea what they see as of a culturally sanctioned rebel, especially one with powers. It makes them special. In the city where I did my postdoc, there were several large NDN heritage groups/clubs. There was a gentleman, that belonged to one of these groups, who drifted around the edges of NASA(Native American Student Association, not the other NASA)/AISES events and local powwows. Less than 10 mins after I met him, he had proclaimed that he was a heyoka. It was clear he had missed the point and the power. He was playing with fire or in this case lightning. I suspect if you could see into his heart, you would learn that he didn't really believe in the power of the spiritual entities involved or the teachings about that role and its obligations.


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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.

Working together does not mean the pinky becomes the thumb.


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Originally Posted by wardancer View Post
Once you've decided that you are ndn , and figure out what tribe you are , then you can begin a long journey into your own identity !

Listen to the old guy, LOL. Once you find your people, then they will begin the process of enculturating you, in their own time. Teachings are slow. Respect is earned not granted. Remember to decolonize. Learn to hear and heed the words "no" and "not now". Listen to peoples' silences, these are as meaningful as their words. Eyes and ears open and mouth closed works best. Respect what you are claiming. Native ways aren't about you and your needs -- that these people might live.

OK. I need to get back into my bed. The lab is going to start calling my name very early.

Last edited by OLChemist; 08-27-2019 at 08:15 AM.. Reason: Wow, I invented the passive aggressive tense. Wholesale grammatical violence. Yee haw!
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:23 AM   #336
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I guess maybe using fractions is more traditional, 1/16 is what I know of as my native ancestry from my great great grandfather.
The down side of being NDN -- fractions!
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:50 AM   #337
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As much as I respect WD, I must disagree with something he said. I'm not "very knowledgeable." I know a little.
And now she is being argumentative......and modest ! LOL
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They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
It's not me....I think you're an idiot !





There's a chance you might not like me ,

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Old 08-28-2019, 06:16 AM   #338
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thank you for all your time and thoughtful replies. very interesting conversations to be having- glad that I found a place where they could be had! I've got a lot to be thinking on from here on out- thank you for helping, I really really appreciate it

it sucks that some bad apples can make things more difficult for everyone else, but, I guess sometimes that is just life. here's to hoping a brighter future is within reach for all of us, together or apart
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:18 AM   #339
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And now she is being argumentative......and modest ! LOL
Always she is argumentative, and very very convincing.
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True peace between nations will only happen when there is true peace within people’s souls.
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“Tell me, and I will listen.
Show me, and I will understand.
Involve me, and I will learn.”
Lakota Proverb

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
(Reinhold Niebuhr, but the origin is debated)
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:46 AM   #340
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Very interesting. Thank you.
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