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  • Sacred or not sacred

    Normally, I would put this in the 2 singing threads but this is more about drums. . .

    I was with a group of Indians and we were helping out with some workshops for school aged children. When it was time to change work stations, a blonde, non Indian woman would beat a hand drum that she made as the signal for the students to move to the next station.

    I thought about this. Is this something offensive?

    Because I am a moderator on powwows.com and a researcher, I know that Native women have their own societies where they used small drums to conduct ceremony. There are also powwow drums made up of women who DO have the right to beat a drum and are supported by their tribal communities.

    Anyways, I am not the powwow police.

    After the workshops, we were discussing what worked and what didn't. One of the workshop facilitators, who is Lakota, said that he was offended by her beating the drum. I respect his belief and customs, but now that I know what I know, they are no longer my beliefs. Kinda the when in Rome syndrome.

    Most Natives agree that the drum is sacred.

    So my question to you is

    If the drum is "completely made" by a non Indian and sold to a Native drum group, does it become sacred? By completely made I mean the tree was cut down, animal killed, frame made, skin cured and scraped, and tied to the frame.

    If a drum is completely made by a non Indian and used by non Indian singers, is it still sacred? What if it is used as a coffee table instead?

    Were the old northern bass drums used at powwows in the 70' and early '80's sacred?


    Hmmm?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    you would also have to think to yourself, that we are not the only ones who use hand drums....so i wouldn't necessarily be offended........but if she was advertising it as something Native, then yeah I would be...........I know of some Natives who have a drum that they use a setting for a lamp....and decorated it with a rug and some pictures......(No, they are not Navajo...LOL!!!).....but yeah I've seen that and I asked knowing these people why, knowing they don't powwow (they're catholic)...I was told it made their home feel special....LOL!!!...whatever that means........I sing and I respect my drum doing what I was taught making sure not to offend the people who I learned from.....but who am I to tell someone that they're beliefs are wrong and mine is right???....
    sigpic

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hmmm..

      Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
      Normally, I would put this in the 2 singing threads but this is more about drums. . .

      I was with a group of Indians and we were helping out with some workshops for school aged children. When it was time to change work stations, a blonde, non Indian woman would beat a hand drum that she made as the signal for the students to move to the next station.

      I thought about this. Is this something offensive?

      Because I am a moderator on powwows.com and a researcher, I know that Native women have their own societies where they used small drums to conduct ceremony. There are also powwow drums made up of women who DO have the right to beat a drum and are supported by their tribal communities.

      Anyways, I am not the powwow police.

      After the workshops, we were discussing what worked and what didn't. One of the workshop facilitators, who is Lakota, said that he was offended by her beating the drum. I respect his belief and customs, but now that I know what I know, they are no longer my beliefs. Kinda the when in Rome syndrome.

      Most Natives agree that the drum is sacred.

      So my question to you is

      If the drum is "completely made" by a non Indian and sold to a Native drum group, does it become sacred? By completely made I mean the tree was cut down, animal killed, frame made, skin cured and scraped, and tied to the frame.

      If a drum is completely made by a non Indian and used by non Indian singers, is it still sacred? What if it is used as a coffee table instead?

      Were the old northern bass drums used at powwows in the 70' and early '80's sacred?


      Hmmm?
      Sounds wierd.

      I wonder what the payoff is for her.

      Where was this?
      Because of our treaty status, the distinction of being 'Cherokee' is a status of citizenship, not a racial issue.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 50cal View Post
        you would also have to think to yourself, that we are not the only ones who use hand drums....so i wouldn't necessarily be offended........but if she was advertising it as something Native, then yeah I would be.....
        i agree it depends in my opinion whether the drum is native made, and if she was specifing something Native there.

        they use hand drums all over the world, some of the ones from northern europe and russia have much the same constuction as ours, and used for similar and different purposes as part of their own indiginous ritual(much of which have been lost over time within itself), while others like those from japan are vastly different, but still retian their ritual purpose in their dancing and music.
        drums are almost a universal instrument in indiginous cultures around the world, and have played an important role, even if their uses vary from country to country.

        now the other part of your question i lack the knowlage and authority to answer as i'm very new to most things powwow. I would say if she was being ignorant of certain fact and didn't relized that she offened some people, take her actions with a grain of salt.

        I hope i'm not saying anything wrong here, i'm just trying to explain a few things, no offence if i happened to offend anyone :)
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          I remember the ole bass drums back in the 70's and 80's...

          Depends on the context right

          So the Drum started out as a Bass Drum in some high school band and finished its life as a Powwow Drum. The feeling that were put into it while it was a powwow drum made it what it was. So its only sacred when used by people that belive it to be sacred.

          Its like them war trophys from the 1800's
          The Trumpet, the Lariat and the Quirt
          All made by whiteman but after being captured they are now sacred items because the people that carry them make them so.

          To that non-native it was just a hand drum she does not have the beliefs that would make anything else but that
          ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
          Till I Die!

          Comment


          • #6
            The Old Man.....

            mentioned the bass band drums (army) and how they were captured. I like what Josiah said about the trumpet or the quirt. Same holds true for the band drums...

            As far as the woman Who Me was talking about, I agree with 50....

            What sort of ticks me off is when someone places ownership on something without the proper understanding of it.... They come out of left field with some random off the deep end, far fetched (lame) interpretation....

            Oh I have some classic stories....
            "She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses". But, of course, she's lying."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Josiah View Post
              I remember the ole bass drums back in the 70's and 80's...

              Depends on the context right

              So the Drum started out as a Bass Drum in some high school band and finished its life as a Powwow Drum. The feeling that were put into it while it was a powwow drum made it what it was. So its only sacred when used by people that belive it to be sacred.

              Its like them war trophys from the 1800's
              The Trumpet, the Lariat and the Quirt
              All made by whiteman but after being captured they are now sacred items because the people that carry them make them so.

              To that non-native it was just a hand drum she does not have the beliefs that would make anything else but that
              Thank you all for your input. Everything that everyone said was postive feedback.

              I think Josi, brought a new perspective that I never thought about, "its only sacred when used by people that believe it to be sacred."

              I guess this could apply to some powwow arenas as well as drums?

              I have seen Christian crosses used as just jewelry worn by individuals who were doing bad things. I have seen Christian churches converted into nightclubs. I think Josi's quote would certainly apply in these instances.

              Getting back to drums.... many Native elders say that all things that the Creator made are sacred, especially the plants and animals. This in turn is part of what makes a powwow or ceremonial drum sacred?

              I was at the Santa Fe Indian Market this year. There were over 1200 Indian artists who display their artworks. One thing that puzzled me was seeing Indian made drums used as coffee tables, lamps that fiddy spoke of and wall hangings. I know many powwow people frown on a drum being layed on the ground and feet put on top of the drum. I know many Indians get offended when women beat on an Indian drum.


              Whatcha think?
              Last edited by WhoMe; 11-01-2008, 06:04 AM.
              Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know how it is for all tribes but what I've been around people have mentioned some sort of a ceremony when first using a drum. Like an awakening of sorts. That's all I feel I should say about that part of it.

                If that is the case then if a drum doesn't have that awakening wouldn't that mean that it would be dead or devoid of spirit or life? It would just be a empty shell with a hide on it? Just a thought.

                Also, I've been taught that if a prayer is said without faith or belief/spirit then the prayers don't go beyond the ceiling. So I feel then that a drum devoid of spirit would just have a resounding thud and wouldn't make it past the heads of the singers.

                Case in point is my brother's drum. He was gifted with it and it was brought to life on the same day he was made chief. When that drum is struck it jolts the heart and the sound reverberates through the whole area like rolling thunder! It's awesome. I've been around the other type of drums and singers and have gotten sick and have seen how chaotic things around would become. That to me speaks volumes.
                "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume

                Comment


                • #9
                  A drum is a drum no matter who makes it. It's a drum. It is what our society today has named it. Now this goes a long with Feathers as well I believe. These tools gifted to us, only have the power that WE give to them. Not saying hey I can make this feather heal you, or this song will make you walk because I give it power. We know where this power comes from. What I mean by give it power is to believe in it. If you know in your heart the things these tools can do, THAT is when these objects become sacred. When you sit down and talk to that grandpa or smoke off those feathers, to me that's the point where you don't play games anymore. As far as non-indians go, that 1 man, you know, the one man that walked this earth that was perfect, him n ol' pops up there ^^ created all this and gave us the option to believe one way versus another. So if your white but truly believe in these traditions passed down, because they were shared with you, then so be it. If a non-indian puts their thoughts and beliefs into an object, then who says it's not sacred to them..(whome- not saying anything in regards to your story). My drum my grandpa is gonna be sacred to me because of the way I do things. But to answer your question if a non-indian makes a drum then it's up to the person using it whether or not it be sacred...just a thought.
                  bucwild2012

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Coyot_In_The_House View Post
                    mentioned the bass band drums (army) and how they were captured. I like what Josiah said about the trumpet or the quirt. Same holds true for the band drums...

                    As far as the woman Who Me was talking about, I agree with 50....

                    What sort of ticks me off is when someone places ownership on something without the proper understanding of it.... They come out of left field with some random off the deep end, far fetched (lame) interpretation....

                    Oh I have some classic stories....
                    yea that gets me too....the fake sacreds haha.......
                    bucwild2012

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by suthernwaterbird View Post
                      yea that gets me too....the fake sacreds haha.......

                      suthern,

                      I know what you mean. I go to a lot of new powwows where people make certain parts of the powwow "sacred." I try to be respectful and take things at face value.

                      But sometimes it's hard not to laugh.

                      But other times I see value when others don't.
                      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lately

                        Originally posted by suthernwaterbird View Post
                        yea that gets me too....the fake sacreds haha.......
                        Its been "open season" on that subject.....

                        I hear ya Who Me....Best just to get a good laugh.....
                        "She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses". But, of course, she's lying."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          but dangit man can't people tell the difference between heritage, tradition & bs?? I don't think we're that cheesy are we??
                          bucwild2012

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
                            suthern,

                            I know what you mean. I go to a lot of new powwows where people make certain parts of the powwow "sacred." I try to be respectful and take things at face value.

                            But sometimes it's hard not to laugh.

                            But other times I see value when others don't.


                            What is the Sacredness in the "Walrus Dance"??
                            bucwild2012

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That kind of reminds me of one drum maker that was abusive, would you want a touch of that energy. I talked to a few Elders on that subject, all of them just about gagged on what was in their mouth at the time,ooooopss. Well needless to say name was given of the person and he has been told to stop making drums, but they are out there and being used. He no longer gets his customers even though he beats women and steals from them, the Elders have made sure that these drums get replaced due to the negativity of his Spiritual Path!!!!
                              Drums are what we put in them! Sacred for some Sick for others.
                              Heck I saw imitation drums at Costco, at x-mas filled with a package of smoked salmon, hope beyond hope that these are not to be sacred! They were copies of Haida hand drums.
                              Money talks I guess!
                              Listen to my heart, not just my mouth! The most powerfull thing we can do is,,,share,,, if we don't it dies with us.

                              It is the year of the bear, I am sharpening my claws and will no longer tollerate harrassment.

                              Born in Winnipeg raised in the Pikwakanagan, Deutschland was never home! Army brat that had no choice in a parents duties to home and country. I Too Serve our flag and work for the uniform.
                              Stand behind our troops or stand IN FRONT of them.

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