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Thread: Cultural Appropriation and the Gods

  1. #1
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    Cultural Appropriation and the Gods

    I know that this topic has been popular and controversial but I think it would be interesting to talk about here. How do you feel about cultural appropriation?Are certain beings and practices closed to some people? Do you draw the line somewhere? Is anything and everything ethically ok? Are some practices okay and not others? I have seen both end of the extremes of this argument and I want to know what you lovely people think.
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    Not a fan of cultural appropriation but even this term has been appropriated to make light of it, saying you can be influenced, learn from or adopt things from other cultures. I've even heard people say if you aren't Mexica you can't eat a taco (other native American tribes ate tacos and taco like stuff btw ) and ridiculous stuff like that which makes people not want to take cultural appropriation seriously. Cultural appropriation is, and those practices that enable, cultural genicide., It is the taking of a culture and re-defining in a way that excludes those inside those cultures from having a say about what the culture is. Like people saying all All Native American made dream-catchers and then telling you that you are wrong about your culture when you till them your tribe didn't do that. It is stealing the narrative of a culture from people within that culture.

    Are certain practices closed to some people? Yes, they are, some things aren't shared with outsiders and it isn't a racial or ethnic thing so much as a cultural thing. For example, with Native American cultures, we are defined by culture so if you arent native by blood but grew up culturaly native in a native community you'd know things, you wouldn't be seen as an outsider. A lot of tribal cultures are that way. It comes down to being adopted into a clan of the tribe...

    Some things are even closed to certain clans unless you are entrusted with the medicine by those clans. For example in the Cherokee clan system each clan as their own medicne, and to be a true adept on the way to becoming an Uku you heave to gain the trust and respect of the seven clans to learn and master the seven medcines. Some things are even kept in families and a lot of that is so practices differe enough that what you do doesn't bleed over into someone elses medicine... and people because of who they are carry different medicine and thats just how it is. that medicine is just there or it isn't , it isn't given by anyone or anything but the fire.

    The trials of the clans are like medicine fires, and the clans and those who carry medicine in genral have the choice to share or not to share with anybody. It is their medicine, but it isn't shared lightly and formula/icantations are almost never shared, especially if outsiders. You dont share medcine with anybody, only those you feel are capable of understanding and respecting it. Respect is key, if you dont try to be something you arent and misrepresent the traditions that goes a long way to building trust. Depending on what and how much you share with someone, that can turn into an adoption into the clan because the medicine made the clans... it can come down to a blood oath with it comes to sharing medicine.

    I trust the fires judgement and as for the 'gods', they will work with who they choose, that's their busness and if I see genuine devoout devotion and they've clearly learned something, if they 'know things' thhat is going to catch my attention. Really though when someone says a god came to them at the end of the day that just amounts to unverfiable personal gnosis.

    You cant talk to ancestors you dont have and that is an issue. You can talk to your ancesters but the practices that work for us in coontacting our ancestors may not be how your ancestors contact you. That is a factor as well.

    I draw the line and it usualy gets drawn regarding the character of the person than race but I do keep things on a need to know basis depending on where that person is at, what is part of ones private 'egregore' and what that persons medicine is. We have different colors we use for some ceremonies that we do not tell people with no connection to those ceremonies. it isn't that the colors we share are false, they are correct going back through the mound builders and into the Mexica. The private colors are used so it is harder for others to tap into and work bad medcine against us, and individual grounds may have their own colors.

    At large we are as a people pretty xenophobic and unlikely to share because our traditions have been abused. We are more apt to share with people who are tribal, even if they are of a different tribe because they understand, respect and honor what we share as they do their own medcine. I certainly thing when you do share medcine it is important to have the person you are sharing with learn the medcine of their own people so they understand what it means to be tribal.

    So theres different levels of it... the medicine that is about the person discovering their path I share if the person is ready to learn.
    The medcine gaurded by the clans are shared by the clans.
    The medcine used to protect our ceremonial grounds I couldn't share if i wanted to. It would be betraying my people.

    So no, it isn't all ethically ok, but at the same time i am a dedicated priest of the fire and in devotion to that fire, in service to it I help people find their medicine fire, to do otherwise is to fail to honor the Ukten, our 'god'. To fail to be a torchbearer in this regard and deny someone the chance to know themselves when they are properly prepared to look goes against the very heart of the tradition. So that is accounted for in my ethics as well.

    Also some things are earned in native cuotures and being native has nothing to do with being able to practice/have the thing or not. For example, and this is of the plains tribe not my tribe, War Bonnets are like purple hearts, you earn them for service to your people. To wear one without earning it is like impersonating a vetern or officer of armed forces.

    You'll notice though that these things are rooted in honor, cultural disposition, protection, and the idea that each person is given their own medcine than it does race and that's another thing- people often make cultural appropriation about race when it is actually about culture.
    Last edited by Humming Bird; January 6th, 2017 at 12:31 PM.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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    I definitely agree there. I do think there are some things that may be off limits. My own personal line is that I won't claim any blood, titles, or ritual objects without proper introduction and initiation. However I think it's possible to contact say a Hindu God if you are not Hindu. It doesn't make you Hindu but I think it is up to them if they will answer or not. I have heard the food argument too. It is over the top.
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    Cultural Appropriation and the divine is a difficult subject to me. In part because those who want to "barrow" seem to always insist it is their right to do so and try to justify why it is right. Those who try to retain control and ownership of their heritage and culture are then painted in a negative context because they are not willing to share or give up what is theirs. Frequently going back into this notion that "You got something I want" and it needs to be shared as knowledge and information should be freely shared.

    Yet it tends to ignore that for more than a few peoples their divinities are more than just gods / goddesses they are their very ancestors. They are the source of blood and life and all people of a certain blood, ethnicity, region claim descent from them. So by their heritage, culture, society, all of it you have to be of those people to be connected to their divine ancestors. You can't just say I read about them, they sounded neat and though I'd call upon them. Yet many pagans get really offended if they can't borrow those divine beings selectively or aspects of them. Not only selectively picking divinity and traits for them but also selectively borrowing props and concepts from the peoples that worshiped the divinities. So you have cherry picked traits from the divine, cherry picked cultural, social, ethical, moral, spiritual, religious influences that more often than not are taken out of context to just what the stuff actually meant to the society.

    Inversely though I think you also encounter the idea of false attachment. The Medicine Wheel is one such false attachment. It seems you can't speak about Native beliefs without it coming up yet not all nations had a Medicine Wheel. Those that did certainly did not have a universal scheme for it regarding colors, meanings, animal presences, etc. Yet I've seen member's of more than a few nations argue to defend it as a cultural sacrament, some going so far as to argue about defending Sun Bears Medicine Wheel which clearly was a made up wheel for exploitation. Same with Shields and Mandala's, yes they have a connection to many of the various nations but they also have a presence in other parts of the world. But again I have seen people argue and even attack others because they've displayed a shield or mandala and the person doing the attacking claimed it was Native American in origin.

    People go on about Cultural Appropriation yet many times ignore the member's of a culture who are selling their heritage. There was an author known as Brooke Medicine Eagle who used to sell many books on Native Practice, don't recall the actual nation now. But she was very popular on the Plastic and White shaman circuit's and actually mined forums. I recall getting emails offering her books at a discount price a few times along with all the endorsements from other native Shaman. The only problem was if you actually tried to find sources from the nation she claimed to be from there were none, lots of dis-acknowledgements for certain but no endorsements. So selling of heritage was a big business and still is, by not only outsiders, but also by insiders seeking to make a profit off of their heritage. Regardless of whether they be member's of a nation and actually lived on a reservation or off a reservation or maybe had no connection to their nation at all other than some percentage of blood. Sort of like Elizabeth Warren and her claims of Native Ancestry to benefit herself. I know I have cousins who keep trying to prove our ancestry and be recognized for the education benefits then get upset because I say its to far in the past and we're to far removed to try to claim a heritage we've not lived.

    Some cultural appropriation and assimilation will happen regardless its unavoidable. But I think the problem is people confuse appropriation and assimilation

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    Quote Originally Posted by monsnoleedra View Post
    Cultural Appropriation and the divine is a difficult subject to me. In part because those who want to "barrow" seem to always insist it is their right to do so and try to justify why it is right. Those who try to retain control and ownership of their heritage and culture are then painted in a negative context because they are not willing to share or give up what is theirs. Frequently going back into this notion that "You got something I want" and it needs to be shared as knowledge and information should be freely shared.
    If they act like they are entitled to it, they get nothing. That's just how I am in deciding who to share with and Im not alone on this point.

    Yet it tends to ignore that for more than a few peoples their divinities are more than just gods / goddesses they are their very ancestors. They are the source of blood and life and all people of a certain blood, ethnicity, region claim descent from them. So by their heritage, culture, society, all of it you have to be of those people to be connected to their divine ancestors. You can't just say I read about them, they sounded neat and though I'd call upon them. Yet many pagans get really offended if they can't borrow those divine beings selectively or aspects of them. Not only selectively picking divinity and traits for them but also selectively borrowing props and concepts from the peoples that worshiped the divinities. So you have cherry picked traits from the divine, cherry picked cultural, social, ethical, moral, spiritual, religious influences that more often than not are taken out of context to just what the stuff actually meant to the society.
    This, very much this. They destroy the cultural subtleties which are then lost. Regarding 'gods'
    Kutani was the first priest
    Kana'ti the first man and hunter
    Selu was first women
    Though they have different names for those roles.
    While characters by these names ever existed or not is something that can be debated, they are also titles for the archetypes of our ancestors.
    If Selu or Kana'ti comes to a non-native in a dream that's their perogative, but it is understood that we have a blood connection to them and that blood medicine establishes a strong like to them, which aids them coming through us greatly.

    Inversely though I think you also encounter the idea of false attachment. The Medicine Wheel is one such false attachment. It seems you can't speak about Native beliefs without it coming up yet not all nations had a Medicine Wheel. Those that did certainly did not have a universal scheme for it regarding colors, meanings, animal presences, etc. Yet I've seen member's of more than a few nations argue to defend it as a cultural sacrament, some going so far as to argue about defending Sun Bears Medicine Wheel which clearly was a made up wheel for exploitation. Same with Shields and Mandala's, yes they have a connection to many of the various nations but they also have a presence in other parts of the world. But again I have seen people argue and even attack others because they've displayed a shield or mandala and the person doing the attacking claimed it was Native American in origin.
    They don't even make the distinction between a medicine wheel and a medicine ound in native context. A medicine wheel is a physical thing you carry with you or hand up. A medicine round isn't physical, it is the knowledge and traditions of the directions within the circle of your horizon. Traditionally with the Cherokee, we didnt have physical representations so much, certainly not at the time colonialism set in. We always had our round because we have a color for the center which is where we always are. The medicine wheels of most tribes dont show a central color, but it is my understanding that that most did have central correspondences but that they were hidden to non medicine people.

    The cherokee colors for the whole tribe don't change and go back to the Mexica through the moundbuilding culture.
    However, the colors do change directions depending on medcine forumula.
    There are formula that use different rounds entirely but they aren't seen as the tribes colors despite being medicine the tribe has.
    As mentioned individual clans, families and ceremonial grounds may have their one medicine round .... kind of like how you have national and state flags.

    The tribal colors are really kept hidden thogh the teachings behind them aren't always apparent.
    They are also moundbuilder colors.
    As they tie into the notion of pathworking and storytelling whereby all kinds of characters emerge, they are pretty compatable to spinning any mythos or place and I personally am not too hung up about people using them. But I do make issue when the nature of the round is misrepresented and the medicine we do is always in the language... so when we call the red dog or the blue dog or the white racoon or whatever, and when we do our incantations we do them in Cherokee. (or in some other mound builder language depending on what we are trying to contact). If someone uses the medcine round to center and balance and explore themselves though that doesn't bother me as long as they are being genuine and respecting the round.

    People go on about Cultural Appropriation yet many times ignore the member's of a culture who are selling their heritage. There was an author known as Brooke Medicine Eagle who used to sell many books on Native Practice, don't recall the actual nation now. But she was very popular on the Plastic and White shaman circuit's and actually mined forums. I recall getting emails offering her books at a discount price a few times along with all the endorsements from other native Shaman. The only problem was if you actually tried to find sources from the nation she claimed to be from there were none, lots of dis-acknowledgements for certain but no endorsements. So selling of heritage was a big business and still is, by not only outsiders, but also by insiders seeking to make a profit off of their heritage. Regardless of whether they be member's of a nation and actually lived on a reservation or off a reservation or maybe had no connection to their nation at all other than some percentage of blood. Sort of like Elizabeth Warren and her claims of Native Ancestry to benefit herself. I know I have cousins who keep trying to prove our ancestry and be recognized for the education benefits then get upset because I say its to far in the past and we're to far removed to try to claim a heritage we've not lived.
    I remmber hearing about Brooke
    Dhano Wayahoo and Little Grandmother are also plastic shamans to watch out for.

    Thing is, even if they aren't with a band or rez somoene in the native community should know them and be able to vett for them that they either are native or know what they are talking about if they have been able to grow up culturally native. Even if that isn't the case for some reason, medcine people of those tribes can quickly ascertain if what the person is talking about has anything to do with the traditions or not. medcine people do try to keep in touch, oral tradition depends on what we all know... and not everyone from a tribal band knows all the old stories let alone the medicine but generally they can smell out nuage.

    Some cultural appropriation and assimilation will happen regardless its unavoidable. But I think the problem is people confuse appropriation and assimilation
    It is very Borgish isn't it?
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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    Quote Originally Posted by DracoJesi View Post
    If they act like they are entitled to it, they get nothing. That's just how I am in deciding who to share with and Im not alone on this point.
    I can relate to that. While not a native american practice I was initiated into a family folk tradition but it is not mine to give out. So I might share similarities with others but the tradition itself I keep to myself and my family. In part because I am no longer in contact with the main family so can not get permission from them to share.

    This, very much this. They destroy the cultural subtleties which are then lost. Regarding 'gods'
    .
    One of the things I tend to dislike about the notion of core shamanism. Yes many similarities such as world walking but once you've removed the cultural and heritage that holds it together the purpose and reason for doing it is lost. So for me to put it into a modern concept it's like all nations have cars and we drive but our justifications and reasons differ along with the pleasures, experiences, duration's, distances, etc differ. Even in the same country it can be so different as to make it incomparable experience wise


    They don't even make the distinction between a medicine wheel and a medicine ound in native context. A medicine wheel is a physical thing you carry with you or hand up. A medicine round isn't physical, it is the knowledge and traditions of the directions within the circle of your horizon. Traditionally with the Cherokee, we didnt have physical representations so much, certainly not at the time colonialism set in. We always had our round because we have a color for the center which is where we always are. The medicine wheels of most tribes dont show a central color, but it is my understanding that that most did have central correspondences but that they were hidden to non medicine people
    .

    I think a great many people presume most medicine wheels are shaped like Sun Bears. I'd say probably 90% of the time I encounter discussions regarding medicine wheels and stone placement, colors, houses, clans, etc it's all from that wheel. Heck think the four colors of Red, White, Black and Yellow for the four peoples are re-iterated from that wheel. Vaguely recall he tries to bring in some of the material from Black Elk Speaks which is another Neo-Shaman & Native American book that is heavily pushed.

    Ironic you bring up the mound builders as I see fairly often when it comes to sacred mounds Rattle Snake mound is the one most often brought up, seem to recall it's in Ohio but not sure. I think Native American wise it's sacred sites that are associated with specific spirits that tend to get exploited. Not specifically unknown local ones but famous ones that become popularized and tourist destinations.

    .
    As they tie into the notion of pathworking and storytelling whereby all kinds of characters emerge, they are pretty compatable to spinning any mythos or place and I personally am not too hung up about people using them. But I do make issue when the nature of the round is misrepresented and the medicine we do is always in the language... so when we call the red dog or the blue dog or the white racoon or whatever, and when we do our incantations we do them in Cherokee. (or in some other mound builder language depending on what we are trying to contact). If someone uses the medcine round to center and balance and explore themselves though that doesn't bother me as long as they are being genuine and respecting the round
    .

    This raises sort of an interesting scenario. I was speaking to a person about a dream / vision I had. One thing that bothered me was could never figure out the language it was in as there was never a language spoken. I heard English from every participant regardless of the species of creature involved. Each line was crystal clear and at the time I recalled it with great clarity though now many of the lines are as shadowy as the dancers who moved about the fire I danced with. Yet the person I was talking to was at first upset then intrigued as I revealed my experience to him. Everything from the preparation of going up onto the mountain bathing in the water, climbing to the peak under the moon and seeing the bonfire. Seeing the humans and the young woman who called me forth and introduced me to the dancers. Watching the dancers and hearing the different songs hearing the beat of drums but knowing they weren't drums but heart beats. Hearing songs turn to growls as some dancers turned to bears, some to foxes, some to wolves. The whole time the young woman sitting upon some sort of seat or stand in the center where the fire was one moment then gone the next. The rest of the vision doesn't matter nor relevant.

    Yet the point was the language of the spirits and what was called is their language not ours. Once in the dance our voice was replaced with theirs and as I whispered some words and chants he started to whisper them as well. I never saw him again and I can only presume it was the spirits that brought us together and had me recount my dream for another dancer who needed to rehear it. As I spoke it wasn't the English he heard it was the beat of the blood drum in his ears, the pulse of the dancers of his clan calling him to the ring to join them in the dance to remind him that in council all voices are one and the same.

    Sometimes I still get told what language it was doesn't matter all I need remember is that when I get asked to be a talking stick or hollow bone I do so. Many of my friends don't understand that and more than a few don't under stand why I seek solace near running water. I think it's important to understand the language tells the story of "Spirit" as a people understood it to repeat the story and keep it alive. To make it a living heritage.


    It is very Borgish isn't it?
    It does sound borgish to assimilate a culture's ways for certain. Yet being retired military I can tell you there is a world of difference in how local populations treated the military who tried to become one with the population and blend in and live according to their rules and the tourist. By taking on many aspects of the ways the local population dressed, acted, did things in was un-avoidable that we would retain parts of it and have it become parts of our own lifestyles and family practices. It was more than just the old adage of "When in Rome do as the Romans!"

    I recall I was stationed in Scotland and had gone into purchase an item in the city of Aberdeen. The lady had rung up the item and don't recall the exact price now but she got to asking me what it was like to work on the platforms. There where a lot of American oil men at the time working on North sea oil platforms. Told her I didn't know as I was stationed at the RAF base south of Aberdeen and she replied basically "Oh, your one of our local chaps!" and noticed she had made a mistake on the total by about 5 quid. I paid for my items and left. A couple of guys were there with us and I mentioned it and one of them went in and made the same purchase. Again the same thing happened with the same results. This was back around 1980

    Saw something somewhat similar in Japan and Spain. American tourist screaming at the owner of a store giving the impression that if they screamed the person behind the counter would suddenly understand English. The One in Spain the tourist was told by one of the Service Members if they hollered again they would go sailing through the door. At which time they decided they would rather leave on their feet. The person then apologized for their rude behavior. Those tourist went into another store which is where the group I was with encountered them started to scream and noticed more American's with short haircuts and decided to leave. The owner there was a bit nervous as we used broken Spanish to make our orders and speak to her which put her at ease.

    The Japanese are interesting in that many times they sort of his through their teeth when they are nervous or flustered. Was in a store when some tourist started the screaming match that was just ending and were leaving. The woman behind the counter was all sorts of nervous as here comes more gaijin (foreigner) so she braces herself to be screamed at again. Using our best broken-Japanese we try to make our order and ask directions. She relaxes and uses her best broken-English to answer us back and we have a nice conversation. She was afraid to even try with the tourist.

    We didn't always understand it correctly but tried our best. Forgiveness and many times corrections were the rule of the day on both sides. Of course sometimes resulting in down right funny results. I was taking Spanish in college while stationed in Spain. Was answering a question and knew I couldn't answer the teacher in English and didn't realize I replied in Spanish the converted to French a little Japanese and then back to Spanish. The teacher is laughing, my wife is laughing and parts of the class are just starring. The teacher is like followed you in Spanish and French lost you then back to Spanish. The wife is saying you spoke part in Japanese. Never even dawned on me I shifted between the different languages only knew I couldn't answer in English.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by monsnoleedra View Post
    .
    One of the things I tend to dislike about the notion of core shamanism. Yes many similarities such as world walking but once you've removed the cultural and heritage that holds it together the purpose and reason for doing it is lost. So for me to put it into a modern concept it's like all nations have cars and we drive but our justifications and reasons differ along with the pleasures, experiences, duration's, distances, etc differ. Even in the same country it can be so different as to make it incomparable experience wise
    I haven't seen any Core Shamanism material because.......eww, no thats alright I'm good.
    I can't even get passed the name.
    Thats a good way to put it I think to those who have done it... the terrain is different because the cosmology and understanding of the culture is different.
    Sort of like the idea that what you see in the afterlife is what your psyche dwells on, as if stuck in a dream and unless you are lucid dreaming you dont know it is your own personal hell or heaven. Eaven in cultures with a similiar number of heavens and hells it is a different journey.
    The techniques and even the sense of self while journeying is different.


    I think a great many people presume most medicine wheels are shaped like Sun Bears. I'd say probably 90% of the time I encounter discussions regarding medicine wheels and stone placement, colors, houses, clans, etc it's all from that wheel. Heck think the four colors of Red, White, Black and Yellow for the four peoples are re-iterated from that wheel. Vaguely recall he tries to bring in some of the material from Black Elk Speaks which is another Neo-Shaman & Native American book that is heavily pushed.
    Yep I know the one you are talking about and I have no idea why out of all the tribes people prefer that one. It is a Lakota/plains wheel, and that tribe is a heavily exploited tribe. So are the Cherokee but nobody can bother to get ours right..
    I've seen different forms of the Lakota wheel out there but the are clearly just different formations of the same colors at different directional stations.
    I've known Lakota who do apply the four colors to the four peoples of the world but this is obviously a post-colonial teaching.
    I'm pretty sure the inclusiveness of that idea is why it is so exploited.

    ]
    Ironic you bring up the mound builders as I see fairly often when it comes to sacred mounds Rattle Snake mound is the one most often brought up, seem to recall it's in Ohio but not sure. I think Native American wise it's sacred sites that are associated with specific spirits that tend to get exploited. Not specifically unknown local ones but famous ones that become popularized and tourist destinations.
    .
    .You mean serpent mound? yeah it is in Ohio. I concor, most mounds are unimposing, not as big as they used to be and easily forgotten with time hidden by the growth of modern infrastructure. There's Cahokia but people arent interested in that because of its dark history and the fact that it was a major city-state which disturbs their romantic views of simple indian life...

    I feel as though one of the most important is actually Spiro mound for its rich religious iconagraphy and connection to many of tribal stories today.

    This raises sort of an interesting scenario. I was speaking to a person about a dream / vision I had. One thing that bothered me was could never figure out the language it was in as there was never a language spoken. I heard English from every participant regardless of the species of creature involved. Each line was crystal clear and at the time I recalled it with great clarity though now many of the lines are as shadowy as the dancers who moved about the fire I danced with. Yet the person I was talking to was at first upset then intrigued as I revealed my experience to him. Everything from the preparation of going up onto the mountain bathing in the water, climbing to the peak under the moon and seeing the bonfire. Seeing the humans and the young woman who called me forth and introduced me to the dancers. Watching the dancers and hearing the different songs hearing the beat of drums but knowing they weren't drums but heart beats. Hearing songs turn to growls as some dancers turned to bears, some to foxes, some to wolves. The whole time the young woman sitting upon some sort of seat or stand in the center where the fire was one moment then gone the next. The rest of the vision doesn't matter nor relevant.

    Yet the point was the language of the spirits and what was called is their language not ours. Once in the dance our voice was replaced with theirs and as I whispered some words and chants he started to whisper them as well. I never saw him again and I can only presume it was the spirits that brought us together and had me recount my dream for another dancer who needed to rehear it. As I spoke it wasn't the English he heard it was the beat of the blood drum in his ears, the pulse of the dancers of his clan calling him to the ring to join them in the dance to remind him that in council all voices are one and the same.

    Sometimes I still get told what language it was doesn't matter all I need remember is that when I get asked to be a talking stick or hollow bone I do so. Many of my friends don't understand that and more than a few don't under stand why I seek solace near running water. I think it's important to understand the language tells the story of "Spirit" as a people understood it to repeat the story and keep it alive. To make it a living heritage.
    We say if you want to change the way one thinks, get them to change their language.
    It has such an influence on the wiring of the mind, it instills a very different mentality than English.
    The language is a vehicle to the right state of mind to contact the Thunderers (our gods)
    It is also medicine which we use to paint within the obsereving quality of our awareness, shaping thought-forms as it were and seeing in the minds eye that these are current happenings and that it is so. There is also this notion that when we use the language it reaches out across space and time, connected to its use in the past when our people walked much closer to and with the Thunderers... it goes out like rolling thunder.

    Once this has been established, when we are in the right state of find and in contact with the spiritual beings of our tradition it comes non-verbally as well.
    They are able to diectly communicate with us visually, illustating concepts within our mind. It is a sort of telepathic communication.
    It is a higher form of communication than verbal language but our language wires our brains to think in such a way, to understand reality in such a way that we can communicate with these entities to the extant we can.

    Also though, I wouldnt try to contact an Egyptian god and speak Chinese... if they know Chinese they can go for it but I know very little.
    I don't doubt the old gods of northern Europe and Rome and Greece have picked up modern English or that they wont just tap into our own knowledge and faculties to translate for us in real time but... theres somthing to be said for getting to know someone in their native tongue and if I know enough that I don't have to know English, I dont.....

    It does sound borgish to assimilate a culture's ways for certain. Yet being retired military I can tell you there is a world of difference in how local populations treated the military who tried to become one with the population and blend in and live according to their rules and the tourist. By taking on many aspects of the ways the local population dressed, acted, did things in was un-avoidable that we would retain parts of it and have it become parts of our own lifestyles and family practices. It was more than just the old adage of "When in Rome do as the Romans!"
    -and that is living it, being recognized cultural peers. This is a way syncretism happens, though the people in your life and their influence. That blending is organic and becomes a well woven tapestry instead of a rug woven in some sweatshop for some culture at the expense of another. I see there being a huge difference and whole other level of effort to be part of the community here. It is naturalization.

    When people say to me to just get over what happened or that we're all one monolithic American familly no we aren't... because natives still have a sense of culture and identity. We are still around and not much as changed in how we are treated. It isn't just in the past, that causattion is continuing today... and they dont get it because they arent a part of that and are so far removed from their ancestors who had a hand in it... so theres no consequences for them. They arent naturalized, there has never been any respect at large for our cultures nor have we ever been accepted as cultural peers.

    Hell, many Cherokee faught for the Soth because we were promised representation in the new congress. I dont know if the south would have made good on that promise but they let us have our own general. Meanwhile the North wasnt too fond about savages joining the ranks....history.

    I recall I was stationed in Scotland and had gone into purchase an item in the city of Aberdeen. The lady had rung up the item and don't recall the exact price now but she got to asking me what it was like to work on the platforms. There where a lot of American oil men at the time working on North sea oil platforms. Told her I didn't know as I was stationed at the RAF base south of Aberdeen and she replied basically "Oh, your one of our local chaps!" and noticed she had made a mistake on the total by about 5 quid. I paid for my items and left. A couple of guys were there with us and I mentioned it and one of them went in and made the same purchase. Again the same thing happened with the same results. This was back around 1980

    Saw something somewhat similar in Japan and Spain. American tourist screaming at the owner of a store giving the impression that if they screamed the person behind the counter would suddenly understand English. The One in Spain the tourist was told by one of the Service Members if they hollered again they would go sailing through the door. At which time they decided they would rather leave on their feet. The person then apologized for their rude behavior. Those tourist went into another store which is where the group I was with encountered them started to scream and noticed more American's with short haircuts and decided to leave. The owner there was a bit nervous as we used broken Spanish to make our orders and speak to her which put her at ease.
    That is utterly insane. people who only know/care about knowing one language are annoying enough. People who make communication worse by acting spoiled or uncivil or irritating but to act so privledged when you are invited into their country/space is outright assinine.

    Also, it is the same with many a moonshiner, having a good time time talking and drinking with them ocassionly gets you an extra jar as a thanks for sharing your time, knowledge and non-assinineness with them...

    The Japanese are interesting in that many times they sort of his through their teeth when they are nervous or flustered. Was in a store when some tourist started the screaming match that was just ending and were leaving. The woman behind the counter was all sorts of nervous as here comes more gaijin (foreigner) so she braces herself to be screamed at again. Using our best broken-Japanese we try to make our order and ask directions. She relaxes and uses her best broken-English to answer us back and we have a nice conversation. She was afraid to even try with the tourist.


    I have an admiration for Japanese and Chinese exchange students, tourists and resident forigners.
    I really do, being indigenous I often feel as if I'm surrounded by a foreign culture and I am, and yet it isnt the same as I've had my whole life to navigate and adjust. Also I appreciate how quiet they are typically though I don't know how much of that is culture vs shyness because they are surrounded by a foreign culture. I do see it as a mixture of both though.

    We didn't always understand it correctly but tried our best. Forgiveness and many times corrections were the rule of the day on both sides. Of course sometimes resulting in down right funny results. I was taking Spanish in college while stationed in Spain. Was answering a question and knew I couldn't answer the teacher in English and didn't realize I replied in Spanish the converted to French a little Japanese and then back to Spanish. The teacher is laughing, my wife is laughing and parts of the class are just starring. The teacher is like followed you in Spanish and French lost you then back to Spanish. The wife is saying you spoke part in Japanese. Never even dawned on me I shifted between the different languages only knew I couldn't answer in English.
    That is what we call hailing on all frequencies or putting the universal translator in ping-scan mode.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

  8. #8
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    There was actually a really really good explanation of cultural appropriation from tumblr, but I can't find it. Yes, I know tumblr has a bad, bad rap over being SJW, but this post basically broke it down into saying that SHARING the culture after being invited in was amazing and good, but taking and twisting aspects of it for aesthetics and convenience was rude and bad.

    Basically, an example it used was going to an open-to-the-public event for say, Day of the Dead, is good. It's even okay to have your own celebration at times, such as some people who are not of that heritage but have friends and family of that culture and understand the significance to the culture and treat it respectfully do.

    But it's not okay to pick and choose aspects of that culture and start using then and then mock or degrade people of that culture for doing the same thing. (Recent examples: There was a white female singer who started wearing dreads. The media began boasting about how trendy and beautiful she was. A black female singer had natural dreads, and the media began wondering how dirty she was.)
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    Okay, so I realize my post address the "And the gods" aspect of the OP but I have a draft on that and will post when I get a chance. =)
    Even when your hope is gone, move along just to make it through the night.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by faye_cat View Post
    There was actually a really really good explanation of cultural appropriation from tumblr, but I can't find it. Yes, I know tumblr has a bad, bad rap over being SJW, but this post basically broke it down into saying that SHARING the culture after being invited in was amazing and good, but taking and twisting aspects of it for aesthetics and convenience was rude and bad.

    Basically, an example it used was going to an open-to-the-public event for say, Day of the Dead, is good. It's even okay to have your own celebration at times, such as some people who are not of that heritage but have friends and family of that culture and understand the significance to the culture and treat it respectfully do.

    But it's not okay to pick and choose aspects of that culture and start using then and then mock or degrade people of that culture for doing the same thing. (Recent examples: There was a white female singer who started wearing dreads. The media began boasting about how trendy and beautiful she was. A black female singer had natural dreads, and the media began wondering how dirty she was.)
    I wouldn't say it is ok to cherry pick or practice something just because you don't get on someone else for doing the same. It's more nuanced who redefining the things outside of the context of the culture and then telling that culture it is wrong about what the thing is or that they shouldn't to the thing. In this case that black people shouldn't wear dreads a non-black person find sit nasty when black people do so... to which first of all it isn't their body in the first place but also it is doubly insulting because it then becomes the oppression of a culture the non-black person took from.

    On that note though i never personally understood the argument for wearing dreads is such a big deal, like eating a taco isn't a big deal because I don't know of any practices concerning dreads that are especially sacred, are a rite of passage or really have anything to do with defining black identity.
    Now apparently many black people think it does, so apparently it does, I just don't get that one.

    I say black here because that's all i have to go on, and the notion of black culture I find to be evident of a lack of an awareness and struggle to find roots which isn't their fault. That's what cultural genocide does,
    but notice white people do it to when they talk about white culture as this monolithic thing... and thats because they don't live in a tribal world anymore and especially in the U.S. we have this melting pot mentality that is removed from individual cultural origin.
    When a white or black person talks about white or black culture... I'm like, "alright, so where are you from? what kind of community were you raised in and who were your ancestors...
    because it has come down to race more so than culture,
    For example i'm native and as far as similarities between tribes that tells you something but there are also differences.... so when I talk about that part of my heritage I'm talking about Cherokee culture... because we were defined by our culture which was our clan and tribe.
    We intermarried with other tribes, we are all native, same race, different culture.
    But among whites and among blacks I see less distinction of clan and cultural lines, more so in the U's than from people overseas but still.

    So what is black culture? I don't know, I think there is a black identity for sure but so much of that is in the shadow opression and trying to hold on to being black right? -and i get that, I get what it is like to recover from that kind of thing.
    I wonder how much of that though has become a culture all their own outside of that shadow.
    Everything I point out that people are taking out of context and disrespecting about native culture I can tell you exactly why it is disrespectful and none of has to do with race particularly, though if a culture had racial reasons that's their prerogative.

    Point is, with dreads and white people wearing dreads I don't see black people saying "Thats disrespecting the traditions surrounding wearing dreads" or "that's not how you honor dreads" it becomes "white people can't wear dreads" and I think it comes out of a desperate want of reclaiming their identity all the same, but that it is this notion that it is a black thing, a way of showing they are balack and if white people do it then they'll have to struggle even more to show they are different.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
    anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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