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please rethink using the term Blessingway to describe your baby shower*new info* - Page 2

post #21 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
That's fascinating. I had no idea that the Navajo used English words to refer to their sacred rituals.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Really. I tried.
post #22 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlin View Post


Sorry,

I totally agree that respect for our continent's first peoples is of utmost importance, and not a laughing matter...

but Ironica, that just cracked me up 'cause it's the first thing that crossed my mind too. You certainly chose an appropriate user name.

After a quick seach, it appears that Hózhójí is the correct word? Does anyone know if this is correct, and how it is pronounced?

The little bit of reading I've done on the subject is fascinating. It seems to be a much more far reaching ceremony than that which has been adapted as a mother blessing.
yes thatis the term in the Dineh language...but the Dineh themselves use the term blessingway and have asked people not to use that exact term. so we should respect that.
post #23 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gingerbane View Post
It is very important to respect this about the Navajo culture and community but why do Navajo people not just use the original word from the Navajo language? Or do they, and non-Navajo people use "blessingway" because we don't know/can't pronounce the original word? It just seems odd to me. I mean we all say Bar Mitzvah and not it's English translation, "son of the commandment" and we say cinco de mayo not "5th of May" and Hannukah not "dedication" and on and on.

I'm a huge advocate of cultural appropriateness. But why use the non-cultural term for something and then ask everyone to keep it only in the culture? It doesn't make sense to me.

i only asked people to reconsider using it. the choice is up to you. i am not telling you to do it or not do it.
as a native, i have respect for the concept of not using native traditions because they are now trendy. the natives of this country were not so trendy in the past, and many of their traditions were stomped out, or if kept alive, done in secret...some ceremonies are still "illegal"...anyway, if its just a word to you, why worry about it. a group of people who this word means a lot to (both in their native tongue and in the language they were FORCED to take whether they like it or not) have asked if we could simply refrain from using it...i can't imagine why one would have an issue with this.
mother blessing, baby blessing, these are all similar and get the point across...so why not use them? the Blessingway of the Navajo involves more than just the mother transformation, it is an integral part of their worldview and spiritual beliefs.
post #24 of 274
Considering NA's are victims of genocide and forced assimilation and were virtually wiped off the face of the planet, I'm not surprised many of their languages are dying and they'd be using English words. And I don't see what's humorous about that, either. Actually, I find white people LAUGHING about it pretty offensive and disgusting.

Thank you for your post, bellymama.
post #25 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_nomad View Post
actually i don't think most people use blessingway/motherblessing and baby showers interchangably--one is mother-focused and celebratory/support-building and the other is baby-centered and material-driven.

that being said, i have been aware of this before and have been trying to transition form blessingway to mother-blessing...but i am not busting a nut over it so to speak: this is only b/c i know (read somewhere) that navajos themselves have requested this and after how it went down for them, i AT LEAST owe them that, yes? i know some people think its not a huge deal...but i am not out to disrespect a group that gave us all a really great idea about how to honor a woman about to pass through into motherhood. ykwim? hope this thread doesn't get yucky like the last ones!
yeah, me too. i didn't know about the last one, but someone linked me too it and i was very sad that so many people were so blatantly disrespectful, almost on purpose, almost to be hurtful to people with native blood.
this might not seem important to you. it might seem funny. maybe you aren't up to date on the NA history. its not funny.
the navajo have been through some bad times they have suffered at the hands of people who didn't care what was important to them. they are asking us not to use this word. seems like the least people could do is just think about it rather than cracking jokes and scoffing at its importance.
just because you don't understand why it is important, doesn't mean it isn't important.
again, i merely asked people to reconsider...i wouldn't dream of telling anyone what to do. the choice is yours. if you are comfortable doing something that is hurting people, then that is your choice.
post #26 of 274
I don't understand why it would be so offensive to use the same wording when clearly it's not the same ritual. Lot's of things have the same words but mean different things.
post #27 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Considering NA's are victims of genocide and forced assimilation and were virtually wiped off the face of the planet, I'm not surprised many of their languages are dying and they'd be using English words. And I don't see what's humorous about that, either. Actually, I find white people LAUGHING about it pretty offensive and disgusting.

Thank you for your post, bellymama.
thank you. i am actually crying right now, because of the posts where people are cracking jokes, because of this exact reason. the lack of compassion, understanding or even WANTING to understand the feelings of natives on this subject just reminds me how our people are often forgotten and ignored in terms of their needs.
i really needed this post cherrybomb. thank you so much. i was really sitting here thinking that i couldn't believe that after all that has happened, people still can be so callous. i really appreciate your kindness.
post #28 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ackray View Post
I don't understand why it would be so offensive to use the same wording when clearly it's not the same ritual. Lot's of things have the same words but mean different things.
this is true. however the origin of the word blessingway to describe a baby shower IS from the navajo tradition. it just is that the people who use it simply picked what worked for them and discarded the rest. part of the blessingway of the DIneh is a "mother blessing". its just that it is so much more than this.
post #29 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Considering NA's are victims of genocide and forced assimilation and were virtually wiped off the face of the planet, I'm not surprised many of their languages are dying and they'd be using English words. And I don't see what's humorous about that, either. Actually, I find white people LAUGHING about it pretty offensive and disgusting.

Thank you for your post, bellymama.
: Excellent thread. There was one around here before and I tried to find it to refer someone to it, but I couldn't. I appreciate this new one, and the information is framed as gently as possible. Thank you.
post #30 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
: Excellent thread. There was one around here before and I tried to find it to refer someone to it, but I couldn't. I appreciate this new one, and the information is framed as gently as possible. Thank you.
thanks. i tried really hard to say it nicely. i never thought anyone used this word to be a jackass,yk? people just wanted a different word to describe the differences in their concept of a baby shower, which i think makes sense and i understand why they would want to.
i simply wanted to provide people with the facts so that they could choose a name that isn't already tied up with so much feeling and importance to a group of people who have already had so much taken from them.
i am not judging anyone. i just wanted to pass it on.
post #31 of 274


I'm sorry you've been hurt by this thread bellymama.
post #32 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Considering NA's are victims of genocide and forced assimilation and were virtually wiped off the face of the planet, I'm not surprised many of their languages are dying and they'd be using English words. And I don't see what's humorous about that, either. Actually, I find white people LAUGHING about it pretty offensive and disgusting.
post #33 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post


I'm sorry you've been hurt by this thread bellymama.
thanks. i think i am maybe about to get my moon for the first time in almost 2 years, because i am so used to this kind of cruelty and lack of campassion and understanding that usually this doesn't upset me so much...
post #34 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
That's fascinating. I had no idea that the Navajo used English words to refer to their sacred rituals.
It is really common for peoples subjected to colonialism to have their language supressed as well. I'd like to suggest you read two poems, one called "My Ledders" by Louise Halfe, and one called "I lost My talk" by Rita Joe. Both speak to this subject a thousand times better than I ever could.
~It's incredibly sad, but my bet is that many Navajo do not speak their mother-tongue, and have, for generations, been using english or creole at least.

Christians use the world "communion" for eucharist (although I don't beleieve that's the word Jesus used), I think they'd be pretty annoyed if muslims began to use that word for a similar ritual they decided to adopt. But actually, that example is not really appropriate because right now christians are not a tiny minority in danger of being completely enveloped by a giant group surrounding them. I do find it a bit...astounding that it would be difficult to understand that it's easy for us to just not use a term that's sacred to another, small group of people, for our new-found practices. And on the flipside, it's devastating for them to have it appropriated.

In a small cultural group, it is really difficult to hold on to traditions and pass them down. When the youngsters become teenagers, they begin to move away from the home. They are suddenly completely enveloped by outside influences. If those influences include rituals they are accustomed to from home, adapted to the prevailing outside culture, which do you think they are more likely to embrace?

Bellymama, I really appreciate you posting this and in the way that you have. I find your approach to be gentle, wise, and open. Thank you.
post #35 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Bellymama, I really appreciate you posting this and in the way that you have. I find your approach to be gentle, wise, and open. Thank you.
thank you.
post #36 of 274
I also appreciate the way that bellymama has handled this topic. In the past, it has brought up many difficult feelings and I hope that we continue to speak about this in a loving, respectful way.

Cultural appropriation is a difficult topic.
post #37 of 274
Thank you for posting this, bellymama. My daughter has Native American roots through her father and preventing cultural appropriation is important to me. I know this topic has been discussed here a lot but it's worth bringing up again because we have new members who may be unaware of the implications of calling their ceremony a "Blessingway".
post #38 of 274
I think it would be awsome if there could be a sticky about this. That way it would be easy to point people towards it when they unkowingly use the term.
post #39 of 274
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanley View Post
I also appreciate the way that bellymama has handled this topic. In the past, it has brought up many difficult feelings and I hope that we continue to speak about this in a loving, respectful way.

Cultural appropriation is a difficult topic.
thank you. i am glad people see that. i really didn't want to seem like i was criticizing anyone...this kind of thing is almost always just from lack of education and information, not malicious intent.
post #40 of 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
yes thatis the term in the Dineh language...but the Dineh themselves use the term blessingway and have asked people not to use that exact term. so we should respect that.
Ok, lemme tell you where I'm coming from on this...

See this book? http://www.malkimuseum.org/Temalpakh.htm The people who wrote it were close friends and colleagues of my dad's. Actually, my father and Dr. Bean also co-authored The Romero Expeditions together. Most years, we made the trek out to the reservation for Cathy Saubell's birthday celebration. I still have early memories of the giant barbecue pits where entire cows were cooked to perfection in the traditional way, and playing in irrigation ditches with native kids my age.

I have great-great-grandmothers on both sides of my family who were natives. It's unclear from family history what tribes they were from (and, as a historian, my dad tried REALLY hard to find out for sure), but that makes me about 1/8th native myself. Back in the days of Jim Crow laws, being that black would keep you out of college.

My father dedicated his life to documenting and teaching about the role of indios, mulatos, and mestizos in the founding of Los Angeles and much of California. He went to great effort to tear down eurocentric myths about how the Spanish Missionaries "built" California, and watched carefully to make sure my history classes in school were learning how the native people were enslaved by the missions.

So, yeah, I kinda get the whole concept of cultural sensitivity toward native peoples. What I *don't* get is why it's disrespectful to:

a) be inspired by a Native tradition in our own rituals
b) use a term which is a translation of the name of an original term.

Yes, I think it's good information to have. I would love to know more about the original ceremony/ies, too... that would be educational and interesting. But "blessing" is an English word, used primarily by Christians... and, heck, if I was Navajo (I probably am not; Cherokee and Chickasaw seem most likely, at least on one side), I think I'd be offended that people are dropping the real name in favor of a eurocentric translation. The reason Cathy and Lowell wrote Temalpakh was because the Cahuilla language was *dying*, and would be GONE in another generation if they hadn't documented it. There are concepts and philosophies and ideas that are incredibly difficult to translate from one language to another, so losing a language is a giant step toward losing a culture. It pains me to see that happen.

Frankly, I'm all for people dropping the term "blessingway," and it's not one I would EVER use, but that's because I don't believe in blessings ;-). So, selfishly, I hope that this thread makes people less likely to use it (though, since they'll probably still use something with "blessing" in it, won't help me much).

Now, would the Dineh people be as offended by it if someone attempted an authentic "blessingway" and used that term? What *exactly* is offensive... the term being used to describe a ritual that is significantly different than their own? Or the use of the term in total ignorance of its origin? Or is it just that non-Dineh dare use their (translated) word? It really feels like you're coming from the latter point, and I don't think that in any way forwards cultural tolerance or preservation of native cultures.
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