I'm moving my response to the Blessingway? thread over here.... i haven't read through all 11 pages, but I think I have a fairly good gist of what's going on.
Also - before I begin, i'll note that I am part Caddo and part Comanche. I grew up in the Southwest, surrounded by reservations & Native American culture. Many of my best friends were full blood Native American (Many Dine/Navajo), and my mother was inducted to the Yavapai Tribe there as an honorary member, so if you consider her "true Yavapai" you could add that to my bloodline as well. (not that I feel it gives me any "extra" weight here... it just seems to be an issue in this thread that "white people" are allowed no opinion.)
That said, this is probably not at all popular opinion, but I have to wonder if its so socially unacceptable to adopt any traditions from other cultures, or if its just this.
We aren't Jewish but we celebrate Passover and I teach my children about Hanukkah. We do celebrations for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. Not because we have a specific religious affiliation with any of them (except Christmas, but that's a longer story), but because I think its important for my family to appreciate and learn about different traditions and cultures. To me its not about "stealing" it from a culture that created it, but rather, its about further understanding and respecting it.
If you've ever been to a cookout on Memorial day, but dont have any loved ones that you're "remembering" who served in the military, is that so uncouth?
Where do we draw the line?
I do understand that it is important to respect other cultures, and it is horrifying that so many went through the incredible oppression & suffering that has been described. It wasn't right. it wasn't something I would do, and I dont think any of these mamas are either.
It *is* important to respect the origin of things, but learning from, respecting, and adapting certain things from various cultures does not mean that we are repeating the same horrifying behavior that occurred in years past.
Celebrating a woman's transition into motherhood does not equal stealing land, killing native americans, or anything else along those lines. It is important to respect the origin of the tradition, and to respect the people who created it. However, I fail to see how it is so horrifying to adapt it to modern culture in a respectful way.
It is important to be respectful when learning and adapting new traditions from other cultures, but I think its also a positive thing that now we are focusing on the incredible traditions and moving power that we should have learned from the first time as a society from this group of individuals. I think that is a sign of growth and respect, rather than one of disrespect or "stealing".
In the end it winds up being a matter of free speech and personal preference. Whether you call it a bar mitzvah or a "passage into manhood" the traditions would be the same, and what you wind up fighting over are semantics.
Wouldn't it be more culturally sound, and progressive for cultures to come *together* to share their knowledge and traditions in a respectful manner rather than to play the "mine! mine! mine!" game?
Having grown up in the Southwest, and so ingrained in Native American culture, I have definitely come across some activists who want Native American purity, and for no one to come in and have *anything* to do with them, want the country back, and want repercussions for the decendants of those who hurt their ancestors.
I can't blame them for feeling that way after all that their culture went through.
BUT (and I hope I dont step on toes here - I'm just trying to make a point) - it is no more socially acceptable for African Americans or Mexicans, or Irish (for example) to ban people from having any traditions that they adapted. If that were the case, we would all be crossing the line by singing or listening to gospel music, celebrating St. Patties day, or having a margarita on Cinco De Mayo (the latter two, I believe to be a heck of a lot more disrespectful to those cultures, than adopting a mama blessing ceremony, which actually winds up benefiting the mama & baby in a sacred way, and in many many cases also acting as sense of education, reverence and respect for the culture from which it was adapted).
Again I ask... where do we draw the line??