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please rethink using the term Blessingway to describe your baby shower*new info* - Page 6

post #101 of 274
That's interesting.

I wonder what the actual Navajo word is for "blessingway" (Hózhójí) is actually pronounced in Navajo.... because it certainly is different from the English word and pronunciation "b-l-e-s-s-i-n-g-w-a-y" that suburban soccer moms and MDCers are using, so it's pretty rich for Navajo feminists to get "offended" by it.

It's not as if non-Navajo people are using the actual word or pantomiming the actual ritual.... that could be problematic for sure, but, really, trying to police an English word because some academics trace its use back to the Navajo tradition??? Seriously??

The words "blessing" and "way" are very common English words... the term "blessing" is obvious: a spiritual sanctification and best wishes, and "way" is a word used for journey, travel, life chapters, path, etc.

People need to chill out. There are plenty of things to educate people about; we don't need to be erroneous.

Trin.
post #102 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post
That's interesting.

I wonder what the actual Navajo word is for "blessingway" (Hózhójí) is actually pronounced in Navajo.... because it certainly is different from the English word and pronounciation "b-l-e-s-s-i-n-g-w-a-y" that suburban soccer moms and MDCers are using, so it's pretty rich for Navajo feminists to get "offended" by it.

People need to chill out.

Trin.
I think it's pretty "rich" and extremely offensive that anyone who has read this thread, and should therefore know a little about the history of the Dine would even think to suggest that they need to "chill out". Their language, their traditions, and their land were destroyed--and you're going to tell them to chill out because they're using an English word? Knowing that English is the language they were forced to adopt?

It's about respect, and that is the very least we should be able to offer.
post #103 of 274
The entire point of my post is that "blessingway" is a loose TRANSLATION of the actual word used by the Navajo and that it is counter-productive to get upset about an English word as benign as "blessingway."

One of the worst things to ever happen to Native American people (and hundreds of other cultures throughout human history) is the loss of their LANGUAGE.

This is not a word in their language. This is not mimicking or demeaning their actual culture, (a bunch of WASP people covering themselves in Eagle feathers and waving tomahawks) or their actual language.....

This is an ENGLISH word used by lots of different people who have probably never heard about such a thing as a Hózhójí, therefore, making an issue about something so remote and harmless really ticks me off when actual languages and actual cultures are dying within our own generation.

I'm not going to trot-out my bloodlines or my background, because I think it's weird and inappropriate much of the time, but suffice to say that I know full well how important language is to culture in general (and how many we are losing globally) and how set-upon Native Americans are in North America specifically..... tilting at windmills such as this does nothing to help preserve these languages and cultures or to help groups live well with each other... all it does is make those "on the fence" frustrated and angry, feeling that they "can't say anything or do anything right" without "offending" someone.

The best we all can do is to judge each other by our own standards. Don't treat people as if they are lesser or greater than yourself just because they are of a certain race or class.

I see some suburban liberals doing this all of the time, thinking that they are being really friendly and inclusive.... but really, they are embarrassing the person they are speaking (down) to. Example: don't think that Native Americans are more "in touch" with nature or Mother Earth, or are more "spiritual" just because they are Native. I’ve seen this happen many times, and it’s painful to watch (wow, so, what do you feel like, when you see a whale/eagle/tree/rock/fire?? How fascinating!!! I have a dream-catcher in my minivan!) Just be rational and assume they wish to be treated like any other person, and, if you like, find out what makes them tick as an individual.... that's equitable and fair and the best compliment we can pay to one and other.

Playing-out the "I'm more tolerant than you are" or "I'm more offended than you are" routine gets us exactly nowhere.

Trin.
post #104 of 274
Wow. Lots of nasty little assumptions for a single post. Since I don't have a fluorescent pink dream catcher in my minivan and I've never had a conversation with a Native American about whales or fire, but have actually discussed the term "blessingway" and why it feels disrespectful for white women to use it, I think I'll go with that, thanks. Somehow it feels more respectful to honor someone's request than to tell them they need to chill out. Or to try to explaining that I'm disrespecting their request because I respect them so darn much.
post #105 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
Wow. Lots of nasty little assumptions for a single post. Since I don't have a fluorescent pink dream catcher in my minivan and I've never had a conversation with a Native American about whales or fire, but have actually discussed the term "blessingway" and why it feels disrespectful for white women to use it, I think I'll go with that, thanks. Somehow it feels more respectful to honor someone's request than to tell them they need to chill out. Or to try to explaining that I'm disrespecting their request because I respect them so darn much.
thanks missy.
the quote i bolded is awesome. this is exactly how to sum it up.
post #106 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty View Post

I see some suburban liberals doing this all of the time, thinking that they are being really friendly and inclusive.... but really, they are embarrassing the person they are speaking (down) to.
Trin.

this is exactly why i think they shouldn't be using the term blessingway. its as silly and embarrasing as seeing a dreamcatcher in the car or hearing them babble about their connection with mother earth. get your own traditions. if the ones your culture has aren't working for you, create your own new ones, but don't appropriate ones that already exist. it is exactly that: "embarrasing".
post #107 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
Wow. Lots of nasty little assumptions for a single post. Since I don't have a fluorescent pink dream catcher in my minivan and I've never had a conversation with a Native American about whales or fire, but have actually discussed the term "blessingway" and why it feels disrespectful for white women to use it, I think I'll go with that, thanks. Somehow it feels more respectful to honor someone's request than to tell them they need to chill out. Or to try to explaining that I'm disrespecting their request because I respect them so darn much.
:
post #108 of 274
I actually wasn't addressing you directly, Missy, so I made no assumptions about you as a person, or about your owning of a dreamcatcher or not.

I stand by what I said, when taken in its full context.

I'm sure there are plently of Native Americans and perhaps even some Navajo members who have no problem with the English term Blessingway being used by people of other colours and backgrounds, as long as the word Hózhójí is not being used and as long as it is being treated with respect.

I prefer to take people as individuals and I think that policing well-meaning people using terminology this innocent is counter-productive. It's a baby shower with a blessing.... what can be more wholesome?

There are terms (Washington Redskins comes to mind) and methods being used today (mono-lingual public schools in remote native communities) that are demeaning to American Indian cultures, or at least letting them slip away. Those are the bigger battles and they need attention.

Trin.
post #109 of 274
Thread Starter 
i have been researching this issue lately because so many of you say that you don't really take it seriously with out hearing from the Dine themselves. i am currently in the middle of a correspondence with some Dine women on a discussion board for natives, who have shared with me, and given me permission to share their opinions with you. and their opinion is that they would really rather the term Mother Blessing be used. they can't understand why it would be difficult to see where they are coming from... i have also written a letter to the Navajo Nation and several other people who would be knowledgable on this topic to find out how they feel about it. as soon as i hear from them, i will come and share with you, with their permission if they grant it, how they feel.
i am thinking of maybe writing an essay or an article on this topic, because it is so "word of mouth" and so many women on this thread and other blessingway threads like this, have said that because there is no "concrete" evidence saying that this is offensive and disrespectful, then it must not be.
if i can find enough Dine women to share with me, and if the Navajo Library and Nation will share with me, then i will.
post #110 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
Wow. Lots of nasty little assumptions for a single post. Since I don't have a fluorescent pink dream catcher in my minivan and I've never had a conversation with a Native American about whales or fire, but have actually discussed the term "blessingway" and why it feels disrespectful for white women to use it, I think I'll go with that, thanks. Somehow it feels more respectful to honor someone's request than to tell them they need to chill out. Or to try to explaining that I'm disrespecting their request because I respect them so darn much.
And would it feel disrespectful for black women to use it, or how about blue women, red women, yellow women, brown women. The first time this happened in this whole post I pm'd the person and hoped it wouldn't happen again but it has. Is it okay to use the term red women or yellow women? These are terms that have been used in the past. Is it okay to assume that it is WHITE women disrespecting you or that only WHITE women hold an opinion that doesn't align with yours? I mean come on. So may people who have replied to this post have said they prefer to err on the side of respect rather than "accidentally" disrespecting anyone. I find people's use of the word "white [women/people/etc]" as a means of stating an assumption with a negative connotation completely disrespectful. KWIM

BTW - I am not agreeing or disagreeing or commenting on anything at all about your last post. Only expressing my dismay at how one small piece of it was worded.
post #111 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by gingerbane View Post
And would it feel disrespectful for black women to use it, or how about blue women, red women, yellow women, brown women. The first time this happened in this whole post I pm'd the person and hoped it wouldn't happen again but it has. Is it okay to use the term red women or yellow women? These are terms that have been used in the past. Is it okay to assume that it is WHITE women disrespecting you or that only WHITE women hold an opinion that doesn't align with yours? I mean come on. So may people who have replied to this post have said they prefer to err on the side of respect rather than "accidentally" disrespecting anyone. I find people's use of the word "white [women/people/etc]" as a means of stating an assumption with a negative connotation completely disrespectful. KWIM

BTW - I am not agreeing or disagreeing or commenting on anything at all about your last post. Only expressing my dismay at how one small piece of it was worded.
: Sorry, but I am white. I can only speak for myself. It does make sense, though--given that it was whites who stole their land and destroyed their language and traditions--that that it would be most offensive when white women appropriate any sacred traditions that remain.

Blue women? Did you just toss "blue women" up in there? With red and yellow and then ask if it was okay to still use red and yellow? And then accused me of being disrespectful? Who, then, are blue women?
post #112 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
: Sorry, but I am white. I can only speak for myself. It does make sense, though--given that it was whites who stole their land and destroyed their language and traditions--that that it would be most offensive when white women appropriate any sacred traditions that remain.

Blue women? Did you just toss "blue women" up in there? With red and yellow and then ask if it was okay to still use red and yellow? And then accused me of being disrespectful? Who, then, are blue women?
i agree that Missy was simply speaking for herself...and i agree that it is somehow more offensive when white people take the cultures of the people's that they colonized (who are usually of darker skin color) and use them.
but...there are blue people
Quote:
The Tuareg are sometimes called the "Blue People" because the indigo pigment in the cloth of their traditional robes and turbans stained the wearer's skin dark blue. Today, the traditional indigo turban is still preferred for celebrations, and generally Tuaregs wear clothing and turbans in a variety of colors.
but i doubt that was what the pp meant

i believe that the main issue however is not necessarily white people doing it, just non-dine doing it. even another native from a different tribe doing that would be weird, unless invited to participate by the Dine.
post #113 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post

i believe that the main issue however is not necessarily white people doing it, just non-dine doing it. even another native from a different tribe doing that would be weird, unless invited to participate by the Dine.
Okay, yes, this is a great way of stating your main point.

I just get so sick of dividing people into colors. I don't know what it accomplishes. I've rarely seen a person who I've though of as being "white." They're just not that color.

I remember someone once tried to tell DH's sweet autistic brother - then 10 or 11 years old - something about his "blackness." DH's brother just didn't understand. He responded with a quizical look and said "I'm not black." He doesn't understand that in this world he is put into that box.

It just seems like if we keep putting people into boxes, if we keep separating ourselves from one another, things will never change.
post #114 of 274
When color has no impact on my children's rights and opportunities, then it will no longer matter. Until then, it is too simplistic to say that we just need to stop putting people in boxes.
post #115 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
When color has no impact on my children's rights and opportunities, then it will no longer matter. Until then, it is too simplistic to say that we just need to stop putting people in boxes.
i agree missy.
post #116 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy View Post
When color has no impact on my children's rights and opportunities, then it will no longer matter. Until then, it is too simplistic to say that we just need to stop putting people in boxes.
This is just circular thinking. If they/this change(s) then I'll change, but I'll be damned if I'm going to change first.

I mean I do understand your thinking because in American society color is used as such a powerful tool (especially by the media imo) to control people's thoughts, reactions, actions, etc. And by being the first one to take a step in the right direction you would be taking a step of faith that others would follow that eventually things would change. I can understand not wanting to do that because in a way it makes one feel powerless but you know, it makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel like I don't have to act, react, or think about something a certain way because my brain has been trained to "box" things in that way.

Color will have no impact on my child's rights and opportunities because I will not let it. I will not recognize it to have that power over our lives. I will not give society or the media or anyone thinking in "boxes" that power over me or my children's lives. It won't be because the whole world will have changed in the next few months into a place where things like this no longer matter. It will be because I have decided not to let the world have that power over me and I will not live like that. I will strive to make my world free of such stupid and petty judgements whether anyone else does or not and I will have faith that others will also follow in that direction and that eventually things will change.

But hey, if you want to live in a world where you, your kids, your grandkids are put in boxes, by all means patiently wait for everything else around you to change before you yourself do something as *simplistic* as not putting people in boxes.
post #117 of 274
1
post #118 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by gingerbane View Post
Color will have no impact on my child's rights and opportunities because I will not let it. I will not recognize it to have that power over our lives. I will not give society or the media or anyone thinking in "boxes" that power over me or my children's lives. It won't be because the whole world will have changed in the next few months into a place where things like this no longer matter. It will be because I have decided not to let the world have that power over me and I will not live like that. I will strive to make my world free of such stupid and petty judgements whether anyone else does or not and I will have faith that others will also follow in that direction and that eventually things will change.
I'm glad that works for you. Unfortunately, no one had explained to my husband when he graduated from college into the same career field that I did, supposedly an open field, especially for men with his transcripts and resume, that he should have just had the power to ignore those human resource directors that sent him on interview after interview only to lie and tell him he wasn't qualified after the people that interview him had called personnel and asked to hire him. I wish I had explained that to him after I watched the same damn thing happen for two very long years, to him, and to many of our friends. I wish he realized the power he held over the police officers who have pulled him over for DWB.

We're not "patiently waiting for change"; we work constantly to affect change. However, ignoring the role that race plays is dangerous and self-defeating.
post #119 of 274
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Missy;9694711]I'm glad that works for you. Unfortunately, no one had explained to my husband when he graduated from college into the same career field that I did, supposedly an open field, especially for men with his transcripts and resume, that he should have just had the power to ignore those human resource directors that sent him on interview after interview only to lie and tell him he wasn't qualified after the people that interview him had called personnel and asked to hire him. I wish I had explained that to him after I watched the same damn thing happen for two very long years, to him, and to many of our friends. I wish he realized the power he held over the police officers who have pulled him over for DWB.

We're not "patiently waiting for change"; we work constantly to affect change. However, ignoring the role that race plays is dangerous and self-defeating.[/QUOTE]


that is so crappy, Missy! i can't believe that...i mean, i can, but it's still so frusterating to hear that sort of thing.
i bolded the part that i want to scream RIGHT ON! to.

on a side note, yesterday i spent the day at the Northern California Intertribal Gathering and Elders Honoring Ceremony, and it was so awesome...but the part that tripped me out was that half way through the day i realized that i something felt....different....it took me a while to figure it out, but i realized that it was the first time in probably a year that i had been in a place that wasn't predominatly white (the area i live in is lacking in diversity). it felt really good to look around and see all those brown skinned people. usually there is like, one brown skinned person to every 50 white people up here.
i don't really know what my point is, but it was an interesting feeling, and i thought i would share.
post #120 of 274
Thread Starter 
okay, if anybody else tries to say that the blessingway that non-dine are doing isn't influenced by the Dine's sacred tradition, please look at these websites
http://www.mother-care.ca/blessing.htm

http://www.naturaltouchdoula.com/blessingway.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessingway

http://thebirthsource.homestead.com/blessingway.html

dude...it's not even arguable that people are ripping off the Dine. period. end of story. and that ain't right.
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