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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

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Native American traditions 23.Nov.2006 10:03

wonder

I totally understand why Thanksgiving is not a grand celebration for all of us. What I would love to know about are traditional Native American celebrations and how they are shared in the community. One of our neighbors had a ceremony for her son when he graduated from high school, and I was honored to be invited. There was a circle of friends and family to honor the young man. They danced and drummed and congratulated him for making this big step. I will never forget the good community on that day. As I celebrate (in a vegetarian way) this tradition of my ancestors, I do want to know more about Native American 'holidays' and their meanings.

Dear Wonder 23.Nov.2006 11:01

fireweed

From what I understand, asking in a public forum is one of the least liked [by many Indigenous folks] ways for you to find out about ceremonies. (Am I right in this, y'all?)

The reasons for this are many, but seem to boil down to this: as in most disciplines, some practices and beliefs are not for sharing until people learn to engage with them the right way. And as with most colonized peoples, the first people to have Nations on this continent often desire extra time to get to know and build trust with non-Native people before entrusting info about ceremonies to them. Finally, many Indigenous people are (rightfully) tired of people asking them about their lovely ceremonies and NOT asking them how else to help with their lovely survival & regeneration.

Holidays might be another matter- the 30th anniversary of the Alcatraz occupation, etc.

My advice is to educate yourself about Indigenous objections to improper use of ceremony by non-Natives, and then befriend people in the Indigenous community that you feel genuine interest in (and common ground with) as people. Show that you can be there for them, show that you're willing to learn with them & on your own, laugh with them, hurt with them. Learn to support them in their self-determination as a person and as a people. Be okay with not finding out about ceremonies. See what happens from there.

The other aspect of indigenous communities... 23.Nov.2006 13:56

ranger

...is that they hold high regards to the elders, completely the opposite of white society.

Thank you fireweed 23.Nov.2006 19:35

wonder

I really did not understand that asking about ceremonies in a public forum was a tacky thing to do. There was no disrespect intended at all. Thank you for your information. I have often hoped to be included in meaningful ways with indigenous peoples, but have not been lucky enough to meet the right people at the right times. I guess that is just not a part of my journey. Now that you have added your comment to my posting, I do see why I should not be asking blatant questions. Thank you.

Hopefully 23.Nov.2006 22:54

fireweed

I hope nothing I said deterred you from your curiosity, and desire to contribute. Your path may not have been to become involved w/ the indigenous community (as a friend or ally) in your regular walk of life....yet.

& I don't know what your life is like, & what demands on your time there are. If you do have the time, there are always pow-wows to visit, classes and/or gatherings. Books to read. Or...there's always the random acts of kindness route. A plate of cookies to NARA, NAYA, UISHE or one of the other organizations in town. A card expressing thanks and support.

Reading your posting, I get the sense that you have prioritized caring in your life, and that you do so for the people around you every day. Thank you. May we all know what to do.

much appreciated 24.Nov.2006 07:39

wonder

No problem at all, fireweed. I appreciate your suggestions and will follow up on them. It is always good to simply look around ourselves and do what is needed at the time. That is what I will do. There is always plenty of need! Thank you again for your thoughtful ideas.