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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Ask PowWows.com What is wrong with whites asking about culture ? What is wrong with whites asking about culture ?

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Old 12-15-2018, 04:43 AM   #1
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What is wrong with whites asking about culture ?

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading some of the posts here and there seems to be a divide with white people asking about your culture. im white and travelling to the US.

As an Aussie we do not have culture unless your wanting to have a beer and bbq and a swim at the beach. Thats the culture here. haha. We have a disconnect to our heritage as most of our great grandparents were bought out here as convicts, and or stolen generation from orphanages. Or alot of the time people changed thier name when they arrived here.

Personally i am really interested in a number of cultures, indigenous australians, maouri and american indian.

Unfortunately we were never taught anything in relation to the australian indigenous. You had to find it yourself with limited resources. And i did and researched the history.

This is now slowly changing and my daughters primary school (upto 11 years old) has just introduced Noongar language, all students learn the language. (Western Australian Perth regional traditional owners- Noongar). At each assembly at the school the traditional land owners are acknowledged and the land we stand on which is noongar land. This is read out in the Noongar language and also english. There is so much more also but that will take a while, so....

Its so great to see the changes happening for the next generation and to heal the older generations, both white and indigenous.

In saying that, there has always been sooo much to read on American Indian history and culture. So my interest and admiration for your culture started at any early age.

No i dont have a purchased tipi in my backyard, but i have seen many white people doing this and charging for meditations....highly annoying !!!!!

So no i don't see myself as anything other than myself, but i would love to when i come to the US to meet with the traditional land owners and just go with the flow. In that i may have questions to ask and so not sure on how it will be received. My intentions are relaxed and curious and i love to learn and i think your culture is amazing.

So how do we avoid asking the wrong questions or being viewed as another pain in the arse white person ??? Thanks !!
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Old 12-15-2018, 06:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
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As an Aussie we do not have culture unless your wanting to have a beer and bbq and a swim at the beach. Thats the culture here. haha.
Everyone has culture. But like a fish, we don't know we're wet. The roots of culture run very deep. Even when you set out to eradicate it, it resists. It's buried in how you learn -- direct questioning in your case -- to how and to whom you pray to how you talk or don't to your father in law. You bear the imprints of culture; your society bears the imprints. In general, we notice only notice our culture when someone else differs and we find their behavior at odds with our "norms".

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... i think your culture is amazing.
Uhhh... Cultures, actually. Over five hundred in the States alone. Some as different from each other as the French are from the Chinese.


Now for one of my generic warnings --

Beware of romanticizing Native peoples and their cultures. Indian people are just that people. They are individuals. They aren't spiritual all the time. They live modern, mixed up lives, just like everyone else. Some are nice, some are jerks. If you are expecting expecting something like the books or movies, you may well be disappointed. But if you go into Indian Country with your eyes and ears open and a humble spirit, intending to meet individuals you will have an amazing time.

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Old 12-15-2018, 09:36 AM   #3
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Hey olchemist
Once again i respond to you and the internet kicks me off
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:38 AM   #4
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I will check if my response goes through tomorow thank you..
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Please be aware that the ask powwows.com forum is moderated. Posts must be approved by a moderator before appearing. With the holidays approaching, us mods are clearing out the guest rooms, wrapping presents and baking cookies, LOL. Please be patient :)
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:44 AM   #6
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ahh yeah and long winded ones need time to be approved. whoops. Ok. I have responded to you though, bit embarresing if all my long winds come through in one hit at a later time haha
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
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So how do we avoid asking the wrong questions or being viewed as another pain in the arse white person ??? Thanks !!
Rose's guidelines for asking questions of folks from other cultures:

1) Is direct questioning appropriate in that culture? This takes some careful observation. It may also take getting guidelines folks from your culture that have extensive (positive) experience interacting with that culture.

2) How well do you know the person you are asking? In any culture there are differing levels of interaction for differing levels of intimacy.

3) Would a stranger asking you the same question offend or weird you out? How many times in the dominant culture do you ask the person in line with you at the bank what they think about God? (illustration not applicable if you're from a missionary faith.)

4) Is the person you're asking and paid or volunteer cultural presenter, museum docent, tour guide, etc? This folks answer questions as part of their work and they are skilled at intercultural transactions.

5) Did your interlocutor start a discussion on the subject you want to ask questions about?


It's good that you don't want to be rude.

Before coming to the US, decide what Nations you're going to visit. Go to the tribe's web page and read anything their tourism and cultural preservation offices have up. Find out what the rules are for visitors on the reservation -- like closed areas on pueblos. If the tribe has a visitor's center or museum, read their website. Look at travel guides for the area. You will often find lists of do's and don'ts for visiting reservations and Native events.

I would strongly recommend you start your interactions in venue where Native people are presenting their cultures and controlling the dialogue. Folks who work in museums, visitor centers, historical villages, etc are comfortable with questioning and are some are quite skilled at guiding you away from areas that are not discussed outside the community or sometimes even inside the community.

I have generally found that most people are fairly open to helping you learn to act like a polite person within their culture. I've seldom had a bad experience asking people in Native nations I've never visited or European countries for that matter about appropriate etiquette. Obviously, you need to pick the person with care, but a host of riches may come your way when you humble yourself and ask: "I'm a stranger here. I don't wish to appear rude. Can you tell me what I need to do in X circumstance to be polite?"
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:18 AM   #8
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ahh yeah and long winded ones need time to be approved. whoops. Ok. I have responded to you though, bit embarresing if all my long winds come through in one hit at a later time haha
I may be total misinterpreting what you said, but is there some confusion about the PM's versus the posts to the forums? Or is something missing? I've approved everything I see waiting on these thread.
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Old 12-15-2018, 10:54 PM   #9
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Thanks Olchemist,

Yes everything you have mentioned above is what i was wanting some clarification on and your reply is how i would naturally conduct myself. So thank you for that.

I didnt know however the extent of the tourism and tour guides and so on. I was thinking it would be much more difficult to be able to visit these places.

My friend has had this trip planned for 3 years, to be honest i had no interest in going until i said to her i want to visit the Hopi let me google if they are in the area. and then i googled american indians and route 66. Thats when i saw this trip will not be an ego based holiday of i saw and did this and bought this, blah blah. I now see his trip will be an experience, which is what i value, experiences.

"I may be total misinterpreting what you said, but is there some confusion about the PM's versus the posts to the forums? Or is something missing? I've approved everything I see waiting on these thread."

Oh i had actually responded to your original reply, in fact twice !! I saw that one was not posted so i responded again, oh well, i must be doing something wrong on my end.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:38 AM   #10
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Hey olchemist
Once again i respond to you and the internet kicks me off
It may not be the internet. Under your log in (user name and password), make sure to check the box that says "remember me."

I like that you seem to have an open mind. So many people have stereotypes in their heads, and they are disappointed when they find out the truth. I am very environmentally outspoken-especially on my FB page. Someone posted that I was that way because I'm half Cheyenne. I responded "uh, no, I'm this way because I would like to have my grandson and future descendants have good water to drink and clean air to breath." Maybe a part of it is my heritage, but it's not the driving force.

Some people come to the forum asking all kinds of intrusive questions-some about sacred subjects and stories. They get bent out of shape when they are told that what they are asking won't and can't be answered. As OLC said, politely ask questions about what's allowed wherever you are. You will be more kindly looked on than if you just blundered in like the proverbial bull in a china shop.
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Old 12-16-2018, 03:14 AM   #11
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Thanks Subeeds!

Will make sure i click the remember me box.

I think its great your outspoken about our environment, we all need to take a stand on that, sadly most people are too busy wrapped up in the belief of having to work and buy things that are of no value and repeat, stuck on a mouse wheel and do nothing to contribute other than contribute to their own stress and the money system.

Thank you for your kind words. I will be curious of course but will always ask what is appropriate, and say sorry if i hit a certain topic, last thing i wont to do is offend.

Looking forward to doing some research on the places i would like to visit, as i dont really want to be in a group of idiots on any tour, would prefer it be just me and the guide hahahaa.

Please dont make too much of a judgement on my next comments, as i am just wanting to clarify something if i can ?

My indigenous friend moved to an area where i grew up, so i took her to the places i have always felt a certain energy. She picked it up straight away haha, which i knew she would. We talk openly about this kinda thing but of course this is because we are friends and we have that trust and respect with each other.

Lets say i am visiting one of the Nations and i feel a certain something, can i mention it. And i mean mention... not start a huge dialogue and shouting and screaming oohhs and ahhhhs hahaha. Nothing to do with ego, i just want to know to either keep that to myself or quietly mention it. Of course i will gauge the situation and if there are too many ears around i will be quite and maybe mention it later, say to the guide. But i guess is this considered something that we shouldnt say ? Im happy to keep it to myself in any respect, im not looking for validation on what i feel.

Just thought i would ask the question.
Thanks !!!
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