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  • [MENTION=283555]joythirstpop[/MENTION], 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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    • 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, 03:43 AM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by joythirstpop View Post

        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
        Last edited by wardancer; 08-26-2019, 06:58 PM.
        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 !


        sigpic


        There's a chance you might not like me ,

        but there's a bigger

        chance I won't care

        Comment


        • 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

          Comment


          • 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.


            Originally posted by joythirstpop View Post
            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.


            Originally posted by joythirstpop View Post
            ...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.


            Originally posted by joythirstpop View Post
            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.


            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, 09:15 AM. Reason: Wow, I invented the passive aggressive tense. Wholesale grammatical violence. Yee haw!

            Comment


            • Originally posted by joythirstpop View Post
              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!

              Comment


              • Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
                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
                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 !


                sigpic


                There's a chance you might not like me ,

                but there's a bigger

                chance I won't care

                Comment


                • 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

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by wardancer View Post
                    And now she is being argumentative......and modest ! LOL
                    Always she is argumentative, and very very convincing.
                    Those who know do not write and those who write may not know. Frank W. Louis, No such Agency

                    True peace between nations will only happen when there is true peace within people’s souls.
                    Black Elk

                    “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)

                    Comment


                    • Very interesting. Thank you.

                      Comment

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