native-american-culture

treacherousgodswrites  asked:

Seeing as you already received an ask about Until Dawn, I wanted to ask you what your general opinion about the game and its use of the Wendigo is? I understand if the question has little to do with writing but I'd like your opinion before buying it in case it is offensive.

Until Dawn Game and Use of the Wendigo

From what I’ve gathered about the game, they didn’t have Algonquian people giving input to the story. While Wendigo legends have spread much farther West in modern times because of how much ecological destruction is happening, it’s spreading amongst Natives and is still staying mostly within Algonquin territory (the Cree are an Algonquin speaking people, and their nation is absolutely gigantic). 

While the game pays lip service to the original locations of the Cree, and it is remotely possible the Cree owned mountains, the thing about the bordering Cree nation is they are called Plains Cree for a reason. If you look at a map highlighting the Rockies, and you look at a map highlighting the territory of the Cree, the two barely overlap if they overlap at all.

Disclaimer: I am not Plains Cree— I am Mohawk, Mi'kmaq, and Wyandot— so I could be wrong. Plains Cree are more than welcome to correct me about ancestral lands.

However, the concepts taken from the game make me uneasy.

The Wendigo is not a random horror creature, as I have said before. It has been stolen and repurposed (before anyone comes at me saying that it’s part of their local mythology so it’s free for white people to use, allow me to explain that Native people were not free to practice their religions in Canada from 1884 and the ban lasted about a century; there was no room for there to be equal sharing of religions, because Natives had no ownership over their own). As soon as I see any Native ‘scary creature’ used, I am extremely wary. It is possible to use them respectfully, but more often than not, it’s just appropriation.

Even though the game pays lip service to keeping the Wendigo within the Cree, I cannot find a single piece of information that says the Cree were actually consulted for the game. And that’s a huge problem. The thing about the proper use of Native American mythology is it stays within our control, like the aforementioned Skinwalkers usage. It seems to me that they simply used the Wendigo for the old school horror tropes, which are inherently racist.
I can’t seem to find any Native-written pieces about the game, either, which I would love to link to (followers, if you provide opinions, make sure they are either linking to Native-written works or you yourself are Native). 

But from my own glance at it, I don’t like their use of the Wendigo and I don’t like how I can’t seem to find any Native voices anywhere around the project.

~Mod Lesya 

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#mypubliclandsroadtrip travels the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway on the way to Dinosaur National Monument!

If you’re planning a trip to Dinosaur National Monument, take the scenic route and explore Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway. The byway winds through northern Colorado and a wealth of historic and prehistoric resources – fossils, Native American pictographs and early ranching territories.

In terms of fossils, drivers travel through several quarries, all with unique prehistoric resources. Stop and look for dinosaur remains at the Fruita Paleontological Area, where in 1998 82-year-old Wally Windscheffel found the remains of a dinosaur from the Jurassic Period. Or hike Dinosaur Hill, where a 1901 dig uncovered the remains of the Apatosaurus. The Mygatt-Moore Quarry and Trail through Time, also just off the byway, offer group digs and introductions to paleontology field work.  

North on the byway, drive through Canyon Pintado or Painted Canyon to symbols of hands, animals and more left behind by ancient Native American cultures.  After a nice hike, continue north to Rangely, first a Ute trading post and later a ranching outpost.

Finally, right along the Colorado-Utah border, the byway reaches its destination – Dinosaur National Monument managed by the National Park Service.  It showcases some of the best prehistoric resources in the world.

Support Native American LGBT+ people. Of various gender identities and orientations. Of various cultures.

Native American LGBT+ people are deserving of so much respect.

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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!

Turquoise, the SkyStone 

Legend has it that the Native American Indians danced and rejoiced when the rains came. Their tears of joy mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become SkyStone, Turquoise. This blue sky stone is said to be very powerful and full of positive energy. Also within the stone possess the energy of healing while also improving mental functions, communications and expression and a protector. It is said by the Native American Indians, that if you are wearing a turquoise stone and there is a crack in the stone, they say “the stone took it”, meaning the stone took the blow that you would have received. Turquoise is said to be Life to the Native American Indians, image what it can bring to your Life if you possessed your very own stone. 

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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