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  • Indian at heart

    Some may see this as a thread that just keeps repeating itself over and over again. I have been all over this forum reading all the controversy about whites faking, whannabees, etc.. at Pow Wows. Whether they are dancing are selling arts and crafts they seem to run into controversy about thier race. Well. Maybe some white people are there only for the money and profits. Shame on them. Let me just get to my point of this thread.
    I went to my first Pow Pow ever last weekend at the Choctaw coliseum in OK. The week b4 that I saw the theatrical performance at the casino at Choctaw resort. I was very touched by what I saw. I enjoyed every bit of it. The culture is just awesome. I have been reading a lot about traditions and such. You see im not at all Indian what so ever. Im just an old country boy. I was raised litteraly in the woods. LOL. But my moms side of the family came from the mountains such as the Ozarks. Call me hillbilly if you wish..LOL. But they were friends with some Indians from the area and was accepted like family. So I was raised to love the Indians and I always have. My heart goes out to the ones in the past. I hate what the whites did. But the Indians that we knew are now gone and I dont know how to even contact them much less remember there names. Times have moved on. But I have always since a child loved the Mother Earth and respected her as the Indians did. The woods call to me all the time. Very strange feeling. What Im getting at is this. The culture and lifestyle of the Indian people feel my heart with love and joy like you cant even imagine. Where would a white man like myself fit in witht the Indians? I meant to mention also that my wife and her family is part Cherokee and they go to Pow Wows a lot. They dont have a card becasue of various reasons but surely are Indians. Its hard to find a culture like the Indians that I feel like I fit in with but I dont want to tread on sacred grounds if im not wanted there. How could I participate with them and become closer with them in a respectful way? How could I contribute myself to them to help them if needed? Any suggestions anyone?

  • #2
    Originally posted by laser
    Some may see this as a thread that just keeps repeating itself over and over again. I have been all over this forum reading all the controversy about whites faking, whannabees, etc.. at Pow Wows. Whether they are dancing are selling arts and crafts they seem to run into controversy about thier race. Well. Maybe some white people are there only for the money and profits. Shame on them. Let me just get to my point of this thread.
    I went to my first Pow Pow ever last weekend at the Choctaw coliseum in OK. The week b4 that I saw the theatrical performance at the casino at Choctaw resort. I was very touched by what I saw. I enjoyed every bit of it. The culture is just awesome. I have been reading a lot about traditions and such. You see im not at all Indian what so ever. Im just an old country boy. I was raised litteraly in the woods. LOL. But my moms side of the family came from the mountains such as the Ozarks. Call me hillbilly if you wish..LOL. But they were friends with some Indians from the area and was accepted like family. So I was raised to love the Indians and I always have. My heart goes out to the ones in the past. I hate what the whites did. But the Indians that we knew are now gone and I dont know how to even contact them much less remember there names. Times have moved on. But I have always since a child loved the Mother Earth and respected her as the Indians did. The woods call to me all the time. Very strange feeling. What Im getting at is this. The culture and lifestyle of the Indian people feel my heart with love and joy like you cant even imagine. Where would a white man like myself fit in witht the Indians? I meant to mention also that my wife and her family is part Cherokee and they go to Pow Wows a lot. They dont have a card becasue of various reasons but surely are Indians. Its hard to find a culture like the Indians that I feel like I fit in with but I dont want to tread on sacred grounds if im not wanted there. How could I participate with them and become closer with them in a respectful way? How could I contribute myself to them to help them if needed? Any suggestions anyone?
    The only way is if you just happen to have married into your spouses family and that is the only way. Even then you will definitly have probs because you wil have to deal with the in laws and the community. Many ndn's are not enclined to accepting strangers especially those of non native blood. It's just the way it goes. The ndn in heart I dunno I don't believe in it. You have to have the blood to be ndn.

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    • #3
      hey i posted a response what happened to it?*lmao*

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi, Laser. I think you see this as a repeating thread because white people with some Indian ancestry (like me) and whites with no Indian ancestry but respect for Indians and their way of life (like you) are still trying to figure out how to interact with Indians (those born into the culture and living it), given that so many Indians are put off by non-Indians insulting them and then having the nerve to try to be more Indian than they are. I have found that if you are respectful and act respectfully, don't treat people like caricatures or museum pieces or other than as normal human beings, Indians will accept you just like anybody else does. Treating Indian people respectfully includes not dressing up in cartoonish Indian costumes and not acting like you know more about their culture than they do and not doing nutsy newage stuff like inventing your own sweat lodge rituals and charging people to join you. In short, treat people like you would want to be treated.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by laser
          I went to my first Pow Pow ever last weekend at the Choctaw coliseum in OK.

          How could I participate with them and become closer with them in a respectful way?

          How could I contribute myself to them to help them if needed? Any suggestions anyone?

          You answered your first question, go to the powwows!

          While you are there, participate in the raffles and 50/50's,
          when they call for a blanket dance go up and put a dollar on the blanket.
          This helps the committees and the singers, without them there wont be a powwow!
          When the MC says everybody come dance and they will specify if they mean those that are not dressed in dance clothes to come dance...
          GO Dance!!!
          All of these ways a person who is not dressed in dance clothes or NDN or what ever can help at a POWWOW....

          Come to the powwow in good street clothes no holes in pants
          wear good shoes and a clean shirt.
          You do not need to wear skin hat or something that you feel is NDN to show respect, those just make you look silly...
          And above all else , Smile have a good time and listen to what the MC has to say they will keep you from doing something silly that will embaress you.
          Simple
          ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
          Till I Die!

          Comment


          • #6
            It's easy just go to your neighborhood powwow and keep your eyes and ears open. After that, go to another powwow and do the same. Do this at least 20 times and don't forget to participate in the honor songs, always have single dollar bills ready to put in the hat. Slowly but surely, people will see you and maybe you'll make friends but it won't be easy. It will take at least 50 powwows before you can be assured of a ringside seat.

            Comment


            • #7
              I also have visited a powwow and felt the power and love. I was drawn to it like a magnet. The regalia and the people were beautiful, the drums felt like my own heartbeat. I went home with tears in my eyes because I wish I could find my native roots. I have been researching my roots for about 10 years and know there is Native American from my mother, and suspect there is Native from my father, but have no proof. My skin may be white , but my heart is red. Has anyone used the DNA tests that are offered on this website ? If so , please let me know what you think of it.

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              • #8
                Well I see the horse is still gettin' a beatin'. LOL j/k

                Yes this is a controversial topic and while many people are sick and tired of it, I do think most people will never let it die. Here is the logic chain: White people came and took our land, White people are now usurping our culture, White people should be banned from powwows and White people should be pushed back into the (Atlantic) Ocean. I'm sure some of the responses you've already seen are basically just that logic, whether summarized into short to-the-punch cliches or stretched over long paragraphs about racism, conquest and Manifest Destiny. And much of it is based on truth. But another truth is, American Indians are also an ethnically and politically diverse community that contains its own proportions of racism and discrimination. But like the Black communities and other minority groups, American Indians are not being racist, we are being racist "back". If you punch me on the playground, you are wrong. But then I get to punch you back for free, and I'm not wrong until I've over-equalled what you did first. Follow the 3rd Grade logic here?

                Most people at powwows see your face, see whether you are being respectful without being a "wannabe" and realize that you are eternally a guest in another people's culture, they'll shake hands with you and say, "Welcome". But when people get to hide behind the anonymity of Internet screen names you really get to hear what the loudmouths have to say. Loudmouths who can inflate their Personal Profiles and Account Details without any kind of verifiable information and then try to trounce you. Just remember that this communications medium can easily obscure the distinction between a truly respected community elder who only wants everyone to be happy and for his/her traditions to be passed down to their children (and respected by everyone else) and the zitfaced punk who may not even be NDN in the first place, who gets magically transformed into a holy medicine man through the power of his sacred keyboard (and DSL connection). You will run into a lot of that here, if you haven't already.

                You will learn who is real here, unless you are completely braindead you can tell them by their words. Ignore the rest. Ignore ME if you find me acting and typing that way! But don't avoid powwows just b/c some inexperienced joker who thinks they are just talking to their computer screen tells you "GET OUR OF OUR blah-blah-blah". Because it isn't their blah-blah-blah in the first place.
                "Friends don't let friends drink decaf..."
                Wakalapi's $49 unlimited phone service www.49deal.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think that one thing you need to remember, and always keep in the front of your mind, is that no matter how sympathetic or how much you feel you "fit in", nothing is going to make you a "real indian". I think that is where the "Hobbyists and sympathizers" go so very very wrong in their approach. That said, I think that there is room for you as a human being interacting with other human beings....not a white man "living among the Natives", which dehumanizes Native people. Just be a person, a man, a human. You can be appreciative of the culture, but always ALWAYS assume that you dont know what you are doing, and respect what is going on. Dont jump in and try things until you are invited. Dont try to blend other cultures or practices that you admire with Native religion and culture (ie. the Pipe and crystals).
                  In my own experience, when some white people come to our reservation, they are looking for their own "Fantasy Island", to recreate and live out what they read in romance novels or saw on TV or movies. They dont last long. They try to adopt some weird "Native" accent, and we all know we heard it before> the stilted, stiff speech pattern! Then they call home or go home and all of a sudden are experts on the tribes they have visited!!
                  The white people who do come and usually stay, and enjoy the most benefit, originally come because they have friends there, and they stay because they like the people, as PEOPLE, not anthropologically oddities. They aren't there to absorb the culture and the language or to "Find" themselves in our ceremonies. They stay around for the same reason we want them to stay: Mutual, person to person admiration and respect.

                  All in all, before you try to "find your place to fit in" or try to find that "indian at heart", reconsider what your true intentions are before you assert yourself on people. You can't move into a community just cause you like their culture....that has happened to the tribes for years and years now, and to what benefit? Make friends, find people you love and admire, be a good friend. You wouldn't just move into your white friend's house just cause you like the way their family interacts with each other, or because you like the way they decorate their house, would you? Remember that Native people are PEOPLE, not a culture, not a really good powwow, not a nice beaded piece of jewelry, and NOT just a movie subject.

                  Thank you for letting me speak....
                  Ipsica Waci
                  Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Be your self

                    For what its worth - my two and a half cents. Don't go looking to be someone your not. Be proud of who you are whether you are Native American, European, African or what ever. If you go to a Pow Wow enjoy the culture, music, art and the people. You will find a wide veriety of people from many nations. You will find some friendly people and some not so friendly as in any culture. If you don't make any friends there then just enjoy what you see, go home and come back again to the next Pow Wow. Always be polite and respectful to all you meet.

                    Stand tall and be proud, for I am who I am and I can't change that ...... nor would I want too.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was just cruising the forums and came across this thread. I just want to say these answers are some of the most friendly, straightforward posts I have seen on this site. My admirable respect to the posters.


                      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


                      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                      Mr. Rossie Freeman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lakota Wiyan View Post
                        I think that one thing you need to remember, and always keep in the front of your mind, is that no matter how sympathetic or how much you feel you "fit in", nothing is going to make you a "real indian". I think that is where the "Hobbyists and sympathizers" go so very very wrong in their approach. That said, I think that there is room for you as a human being interacting with other human beings....not a white man "living among the Natives", which dehumanizes Native people. Just be a person, a man, a human. You can be appreciative of the culture, but always ALWAYS assume that you dont know what you are doing, and respect what is going on. Dont jump in and try things until you are invited. Dont try to blend other cultures or practices that you admire with Native religion and culture (ie. the Pipe and crystals).
                        In my own experience, when some white people come to our reservation, they are looking for their own "Fantasy Island", to recreate and live out what they read in romance novels or saw on TV or movies. They dont last long. They try to adopt some weird "Native" accent, and we all know we heard it before> the stilted, stiff speech pattern! Then they call home or go home and all of a sudden are experts on the tribes they have visited!!
                        The white people who do come and usually stay, and enjoy the most benefit, originally come because they have friends there, and they stay because they like the people, as PEOPLE, not anthropologically oddities. They aren't there to absorb the culture and the language or to "Find" themselves in our ceremonies. They stay around for the same reason we want them to stay: Mutual, person to person admiration and respect.

                        All in all, before you try to "find your place to fit in" or try to find that "indian at heart", reconsider what your true intentions are before you assert yourself on people. You can't move into a community just cause you like their culture....that has happened to the tribes for years and years now, and to what benefit? Make friends, find people you love and admire, be a good friend. You wouldn't just move into your white friend's house just cause you like the way their family interacts with each other, or because you like the way they decorate their house, would you? Remember that Native people are PEOPLE, not a culture, not a really good powwow, not a nice beaded piece of jewelry, and NOT just a movie subject.

                        Thank you for letting me speak....
                        Very well said.

                        He'un ica'nte mawa'ste!

                        "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                        "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                        --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

                        Comment

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