native-american-culture

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Gotta give it to ya B. (Disclaimer: not a Beyoncé fan). This video/song is not all about “slaying”. It’s a reminder to the youth of the importance of staying true to your roots even if society tries to shut out your culture. This has been a reoccurring phenomenon in America since it’s formation, beginning with the removal of Native American culture by literally exterminating them. The ones who survived assimilated into the “white” culture (not all but the majority did). The result has been a prevalent white culture in society. The video clearly illustrates history repeating itself. The implicit message I received was to embrace your culture and ethnic differences as it is essential for society to stop seeing “white” as superior and as the end goal. Also, keep ya money up! (This is just my interpretation). Thanks for the reminder Beyoncé🙏🏼.

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B.Yellowtail | The Mighty Few Collection

Native American Fashion Without Cultural Appropriation

“Her endgame is to create a space where Native designers thrive, and where support, appreciation and respect for their craftsmanship overtakes appropriative efforts to slap a few feathers and beads on an outfit and call it ‘Native-inspired.’ The richness and diversity of indigenous artisanship deserves to be seen, she says. Native artists deserve to have their own work bought, not appropriated without context or recognition of the original cultures from which it came.” (via)

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Rain Dances of the Jemez Pueblo

The rain dances of the Jemez Pueblo people are documented in a 1947 film from Dudley Pictures Corporation’s “This Land is Ours” series of educational travelogues. Rain dances are a form of weather modification that span a number of cultures across the world. The ritual has deep historical roots and is still practiced in a diverse range of areas, including Zimbabwe, Slovakia, and Native American communities. While many Native American rituals involved only men, the rain dance was unique in that women also participated—an indication of the importance of rain to the entire community. The dance was more common to Native American tribes who lived in dry, Southwestern regions which received little rain. Indeed, the Pueblos, who have historically resided in a very arid region of New Mexico, have a particularly intricate rain dance. Movements, costumes, and instruments are chosen and designed for their symbolic qualities. For example, the beating of a drum might represent thunder; a white woven sash, flowing water; and turquoise appliques, rain droplets. 

Today I taught myself how to make dreamcatchers. I have always wanted to learn how but for some reason never tried!

After a bit of research of their origin and purpose I learnt that the feathers are an integral part of the design. Many of the native American tribes believed that dreams floated past a sleepers subconscious, some negative and some positive. The web of the dreamcatcher captures the negative thoughts while the positive ones pass through the web and travel down to the very tips of the feathers and into the sleepers subconscious resulting in peaceful sleep and in turn a peaceful waking life.

I liked the idea of the positive thoughts travelling through the feathers, and so thought it would be nice to use real feathers instead of those weird synthetic ones from two buck shops. I live close to a canal so today I went on a feather collecting walk and found all of these to put on my dreamcatcher. I think it’s nice to have local bird feathers too, so I reckon that if you are to make one you should go hunting for feathers in your local area, or else somewhere special to you.

Just thought I would share my latest hobby! I think the feathers that I found are very beautiful. Happy dreaming tumblrers!

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Healing Crystals 101 || 11 You Should Know

Mind Body Green writes:

The ancient Egyptians thought that wearing amulets of precious stones would protect them from evil spirits and also from poisoned wine; ancient Chinese civilizations have attributed cultural meaning to jade since the Neolithic period; Native American cultures have used stones and crystals as spiritual tools in ceremonies for centuries; and medieval shields and armor incorporated gemstones as a sign of wealth and adornment.

Today, we have quartz-movement watches that utilize crystal oscillators to regulate precise time, electronics-grade crystals used in cellphones, TVs, and computers. In the belief system of crystal healing, the same principles of focusing and transmitting energy are applied to the body or spirit.

Different cultures use crystals and gemstones differently — some complementary therapies encourage placing the stones on the body to connect to the body’s energy fields or chakras while others prefer the use of wands or pendulums. As nature lovers, we prefer to appreciate the stones for what they are: marvels of nature.

Keep Reading.

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Jeffrey Gibson’s paintings and sculptures are inspired by the traditional craft and modern arts of Native American cultures.

On view February 23rd – March 23rd, 2014

  • Marc Strauss Gallery
  • 299 Grand Street
    New York, NY 10002
  • (212) 510- 7646
  • Wednesday - Sunday: 11:00-6:00
    Monday and Tuesday by appointment
yakimaherald.com
Washington school districts add Native American culture to curriculum
By KERA WANIELISTA, Skagit Valley Herald

Though a channel divides the town of La Conner from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation, the two cultures are intertwined in Michael Carrigan’s shop class at La Conner High School.

His file cabinets are full of traditional Native American imagery — pictures of salmon, orcas and ravens. In a heartbeat, Carrigan can pull out examples of student-made tools and drums.

For their final projects, students carve totem poles that tell their own stories.

“It’s good for keeping some of the skills alive,” Carrigan said. “It generates an awareness, which creates a respect for other cultures.”

In La Conner schools, the cultural collaboration between the district and the tribe is a way of life.

“The Swinomish tribe and La Conner schools have worked together for a very long time,” said Peg Seeling, who is the district’s director of teaching and learning as well as its director of assessment. “It’s amazing how much history they have together.”

Thanks to a newly modified state law, school districts throughout the state are now figuring out how to be more like La Conner.

Passed during the 2015 legislative session, the law requires schools to incorporate a state-created curriculum, called Since Time Immemorial, to enhance what students learn about Washington’s 29 federally recognized tribes.

In Carrigan’s classroom, junior Nakesha Edwards is focused on a piece of cedar, carving it into what will soon become a bird.

“It relaxes me,” the 16-year-old said of woodworking.

Carving is a skill Edwards is refining in the classroom, but it’s an art she learned from her uncle, Swinomish Senator Kevin Paul, who has co-taught classes with Carrigan for more than a decade.

“I want to share the gift of the knowledge that was handed down to me,” Paul said.

Before coming to La Conner, Edwards said, lessons about her culture weren’t something she was taught.

“People should learn about our ways,” Edwards said. “But they should learn about different ways as well. Come in with an open mind.”

The curriculum is intended to create more opportunities for all kids throughout the state to learn about Native American history and how it has helped shape Washington.

“The intention of the curriculum is to benefit all kids in public education,” said Michael Vendiola, program supervisor for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office Of Native Education. “This is not about focusing only on one particular student group. It’s filling in some of the missing information about the tribal community to the Washington state story.”

Personal experience

Vendiola has personal experience with some of that missing information.

A member of the Swinomish tribe, Vendiola said he’s always had a strong connection to his culture through his tribe. He didn’t attend La Conner schools, and the schools he attended didn’t teach his culture at the same level as his tribe.

“It was a minimum,” he said. “And it was presented in a past tense, as if myself, as a person who identified as a Native American, didn’t really exist in the current society. It was about looking at the past and more of like an anthropological look at how our people lived a long time ago.”

That perspective does a disservice to all students, Vendiola said.

“It leaves a tremendous hole in the story of what makes us Washington state,” he said. “That’s what we feel is really important about implementing this curriculum is that it tells a broader story.”

The Since Time Immemorial curriculum addresses sovereignty, treaties and court rulings. They are topics tribes and neighboring communities deal with every day.

“The typical U.S. history book does not adequately or appropriately cover Native American culture,” Seeling said. “One-third of our kids are Native. We want to do it right.”

Paul agreed.

“Having this curriculum in place, (students) will have a different view of what an Indian is and where they come from,” he said. “According to the old textbook, we still live in tepees. We’re still ‘wild’ people.”

Mandatory curriculum

The move toward a more complete Native American curriculum at the state level began in 2005, Vendiola said. At that time, the Legislature passed a law saying the districts’ implementation of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum was “encouraged.”

Only two districts, Marysville and Fife, officially adopted the curriculum at that time, he said.

In its 2015 session, the Legislature made implementation of the curriculum mandatory.

“This shift to requiring it, I think recent history proves how necessary that is,” said K.C. Knudson, executive director of teaching and learning for the Burlington-Edison School District. “I don’t think we were doing our best prior to legislation change.”

The curriculum is free to school districts and available online. The districts are encouraged to adapt it to best fit their schools, Vendiola said.

“I would say folks are adopting it in innovative ways,” he said.

OSPI also offers free training sessions.

The curriculum is meant to enhance lessons already taught in fourth-, seventh- and 11th-grade social studies classes, but can be expanded to fit all grades.

Districts are also encouraged to adapt the curriculum to their local tribes, an idea Knudson said is important for deeper understanding.

“Some of the most egregious errors that I think we made were not valuing our local tribes as resources,” he said. “Here we are with kids in our classrooms that are living, breathing resources, with family members at home that are also living, breathing resources.”

The Burlington-Edison School District hopes to include the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and the Swinomish tribe in further development of the curriculum, Knudson said.

“Our kids, unlike La Conner, have less direct exposure (to tribal culture),” he said. “I feel like that almost makes the work more pressing here, so that we understand our neighbors and the richness of the whole Skagit Valley.”

Sedro-Woolley School District Assistant Superintendent Mike Olson said his district will look to the Upper Skagit tribe to guide its implementation as well.

“There are a number of tribes in Washington state, and it’s inappropriate to overgeneralize that every tribe is the same,” he said.

All tribes on board

All 29 federally-recognized tribes in the state have endorsed the state-created curriculum, Vendiola said.

“This is a collaboration between the state and the tribes,” he said. “Both financially support these free trainings. The tribes continue to support this effort to build stronger relationships.”

With the passage of the law, the La Conner district will expand on what it already does and incorporate Swinomish culture into more lessons, Seeling said.

“We’re not just doing it because it’s the law,” she said. “We’re doing it because it’s an important part of our school culture.”

With participation from the Swinomish tribe, the district is looking at incorporating the curriculum across all grades and subjects, especially when it comes to science and environmental studies, Seeling said.

The Swinomish tribe has formed a committee to work with the district to implement the best practices for teaching not just the Native American story, but the Swinomish story, said Tracy James, education director for the tribe.

“It would give us the ability to teach our children directly what our Swinomish tribe is about,” James said. “From our constitution, to our culture, to our history.”

While the district will focus on K-12 implementation, the tribe will go further, beginning with teaching Swinomish preschoolers the tribe’s Lushootseed language and working with Northwest Indian College to further train teachers in the language.

“Children who know about their culture and history do better in school,” James said. “If we can give them a sense of place and a sense of history, research shows that native kids will do better.”