please rethink using the term Blessingway to describe your baby shower*new info* - Page 7 - Mothering Forums
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#181 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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thanks. i tried really hard to say it nicely.
I'm sorry you've been hurt by us non-natives (I clearly have gotten the impression from this thread that we're less worthy) who fail to see things the same way you do, but I personally found your OP to be very accusatory. Someone earlier posted an alternative way you could have said what you have since claimed to have meant - "hey, did you know that the term blessingway comes from this culture, here's some links to what it means, it's such a cool thing, etc."

You have been claiming to only want people to consider using a different term, but then you're all upset and offended that not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon with you.

I'm not really planning to have a blessingway, but I still fail to see why, if I were planning one, I'd change the name of it. I fail to see why the US Government screwing over the Native Americans generations ago means that I personally need to do whatever the Native Americans ask. Or why it would be so over-the-top offensive that some people have innocently used a 100% English word to describe something vaguely similar to a Native American ritual. It seems to me that cultures adapting the practices, habits, ceremonies, mores, etc of other cultures and making them their own is just a part of living on this planet, and is particularly a part of living in America.

In the late 1920s, black people living in America created something all their own - jazz. But they didn't try to hold on to it, keep it for themselves, start campaigns to stop anyone who wasn't black from playing jazz music or dancing to it. Instead, they willingly shared it with other musicians. By the 30s, black dancers and white dancers were dancing together at the Savoy ballroom to awesome jazz music played by white musicians and by black musicians. They all got along, they all shared this wonderful thing that the black musicians had created. Our culture (the American culture) would be so much poorer if, instead, black musicians had kept it to themselves, not shared their discovery of jazz, jealously tried to keep any other cultures from playing it, etc.

Now, I realize that jazz music is not a sacred ceremony, but has it occurred to Native people that maybe we could all be a bit more enriched if the approach used here was a bit different? A bit more "this is an important part of my culture I'd love to share with you" and a bit less "I'm infuriated that these women are stealing our blessingway ceremony"? That, through understanding of other people's cultures, we will naturally want to avoid doing things that might be offensive? And that, through accusation and assumptions, all we do is create defensiveness? We don't change minds by being mean.


And, sorry, I stopped reading this thread when I saw someone call someone else priveleged and then bring up white supremacy. And I probably won't be back for that very reason. name calling rarely advances any argument.
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#182 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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TFS!!! I'm calling mine a belly blessing party
that's really cute.
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#183 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry you've been hurt by us non-natives (I clearly have gotten the impression from this thread that we're less worthy) who fail to see things the same way you do, but I personally found your OP to be very accusatory. Someone earlier posted an alternative way you could have said what you have since claimed to have meant - "hey, did you know that the term blessingway comes from this culture, here's some links to what it means, it's such a cool thing, etc."

You have been claiming to only want people to consider using a different term, but then you're all upset and offended that not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon with you.

I'm not really planning to have a blessingway, but I still fail to see why, if I were planning one, I'd change the name of it. I fail to see why the US Government screwing over the Native Americans generations ago means that I personally need to do whatever the Native Americans ask. Or why it would be so over-the-top offensive that some people have innocently used a 100% English word to describe something vaguely similar to a Native American ritual. It seems to me that cultures adapting the practices, habits, ceremonies, mores, etc of other cultures and making them their own is just a part of living on this planet, and is particularly a part of living in America.

In the late 1920s, black people living in America created something all their own - jazz. But they didn't try to hold on to it, keep it for themselves, start campaigns to stop anyone who wasn't black from playing jazz music or dancing to it. Instead, they willingly shared it with other musicians. By the 30s, black dancers and white dancers were dancing together at the Savoy ballroom to awesome jazz music played by white musicians and by black musicians. They all got along, they all shared this wonderful thing that the black musicians had created. Our culture (the American culture) would be so much poorer if, instead, black musicians had kept it to themselves, not shared their discovery of jazz, jealously tried to keep any other cultures from playing it, etc.

Now, I realize that jazz music is not a sacred ceremony, but has it occurred to Native people that maybe we could all be a bit more enriched if the approach used here was a bit different? A bit more "this is an important part of my culture I'd love to share with you" and a bit less "I'm infuriated that these women are stealing our blessingway ceremony"? That, through understanding of other people's cultures, we will naturally want to avoid doing things that might be offensive? And that, through accusation and assumptions, all we do is create defensiveness? We don't change minds by being mean.


And, sorry, I stopped reading this thread when I saw someone call someone else priveleged and then bring up white supremacy. And I probably won't be back for that very reason. name calling rarely advances any argument.
jazz is secular music. your point is moot. and rolling your eyes rarely advances an argument either. see?
i think that you may not be fully informed on exactly what happened to the natives of this country. because if you were, i doubt you would say such callous things.
you seem defensive. again, i never said you have to not use the term, merely that you research it and look into what the people it belongs to think of it's use outside of the tribe. if you could care less about the wishes of the people that this tradition belongs to, then by all means, just do whatever the hell you want. native people are certainly used to that.
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#184 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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And, sorry, I stopped reading this thread when I saw someone call someone else priveleged and then bring up white supremacy. And I probably won't be back for that very reason. name calling rarely advances any argument.
well, didn't you know that the whites ain't got no culture or real traditions? Yep, I've seen it myself how it's apparently okey dokey to name call and put down whites...you know simply because they are white. If you're white then you can't possibly understand *true* culture and cultural values.
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#185 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, didn't you know that the whites ain't got no culture or real traditions? Yep, I've seen it myself how it's apparently okey dokey to name call and put down whites...you know simply because they are white. If you're white then you can't possibly understand *true* culture and cultural values.
i can't speak for the others on this thread, but i don't feel that way at all. my point is exactly what you are saying (sarcastically), white people have so many rich and beautiful cultures...there are so many that it seems silly to forsake them for someone elses, because the ones that are yours (general you, not anyone in particular) already have meaning and depth that your people have spent however long building up. i find it troubling that so many white people think that taking "non-european" traditions and rituals make it somehow more meaninful. this is so far from the truth. these rituals are ALL meaningful, to the people that they belong to. to just pick and choose pieces of others traditions and think that that somehow makes it more meaninful is silly.
i don't put down or namecall whites. i identify as caucasian. my grandmother was half native, but due to racism in her family, we didn't know this until she was 55. so although i have blood in me that is native, i don't practice any native rituals or traditions, because that's not the culture i was raised in. i was raised by portugese immigrants, so those are the rituals and traditions i participate in, and pass down to my children. it was be as silly for me to have a blessingway as any person who has no native blood, simply because i was not raised that way, so the traditions and rituals have no deep meaning to me. i appreciate them and think they are beautiful, i go to pow-wows, and intertribal gatherings, but i certainly don't jump into a dance or start banging on my drum simply because i happen to have 1/8 native blood in me.
it's more about actually understanding and having it have meaning. like abimommy pointed out in the other blessingway thread, it's like having a bat mitzvah for your thirteen year old daughter without being jewish. sure, you could read books and create an identical party, but without being raised jewish, learning the religious meaning, and practicing it, it would be totally ridiculous, and have no spiritual meaning to you.

i think ALL people understand culture and cultural values. i think each culture in this world is rich and full of deep and powerful truth, TO THE PEOPLE THAT IT PERTAINS TO. in no way do i mean to come across like i think white people don't have culture...i just wish we would embrace our own culture more, and try to seek the meaningfulness of our own. it's disrespectful to our elders to forsake their traditions for the traditions of someone else.
i apologize if i at anytime sounded like what you describe in your post. that was never my intention.
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#186 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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abimommy pointed out in the other blessingway thread, it's like having a bat mitzvah for your thirteen year old daughter without being jewish. sure, you could read books and create an identical party, but without being raised jewish, learning the religious meaning, and practicing it, it would be totally ridiculous, and have no spiritual meaning to you.
How do you or any one else know what has spiritual meaning to me?
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#187 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay, fine, if using the ritual of a religion that you aren't actually a member of, which means you don't have the background to fully understand the implications of what the ritual means, sounds okay to you, then go on girl.
this is just argument for the sake of argument. and i don't want to play. again and again i say, do what feels right to you.if having a bat mitzvah as a non jew or having a blessingway as a non Dine feels like a totally normal and respectable thing to do, then go on and do it. stop nitpicking. if it felt so right, you wouldn't have to be here defending yourself, you'd just do it.

do you like it when people who aren't parents act like parenting experts? i sure don't. you know why? they don't have the background, experience and emotional understanding of being parents...so what they say means jack shit to me. it's kind of like that. if you don't know what you are doing, then what you are doing means nothing. and it's annoying to the people who do know, who have the experience and the emotional understanding and investment in the process.
it seems like common sense to me.
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#188 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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Popping in to say this is how I would see it.

People using the term 'blessingway' who aren't Navajo aren't doing it to offend, they are doing it to honour. Why there needs to be a bruhaha about something that is intended to be goodhearted is just picking the wrong battle. Seriously, there are much worse things going on in this world that need the attention.
I totally agree.

Kristi wife to Mal , mom to Ziva (4/07) (3/08) Aliyah (1/09) and somebody new (edd 11/10). I
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#189 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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Popping in to say this is how I would see it.

People using the term 'blessingway' who aren't Navajo aren't doing it to offend, they are doing it to honour. Why there needs to be a bruhaha about something that is intended to be goodhearted is just picking the wrong battle. Seriously, there are much worse things going on in this world that need the attention.
I totally agree.
But if it does offend, that so-called "good" intent is lost. It doesn't honor anyone that way. Why is it so hard to simply respect that? There are worse things going on--but this kind of disrespect and dismissive approach perpetuates a climate that is one of those things that we do need to pay attention to. It's a small thing, but part of something much larger.
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#190 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But if it does offend, that so-called "good" intent is lost. It doesn't honor anyone that way. Why is it so hard to simply respect that? There are worse things going on--but this kind of disrespect and dismissive approach perpetuates a climate that is one of those things that we do need to pay attention to. It's a small thing, but part of something much larger.
thanks missy.
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#191 of 274 Old 05-13-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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Just to let you know - it was because of this thread that my circle of friends and I have begun using the term 'Mother's Blessing' for our celebration of a woman's passage into motherhood.

I also want to point out that I don't consider a Mother's Blessing a 'new age baby shower.' While baby showers focus on the baby coming into the world, the Mother's Blessing focuses on the mother coming into the world. It's trying to bring attention to something that our society has too long ignored. I guess I'm just trying to answer the idea that we don't think our mother's traditions are 'good enough' for us. It's not that I'm against baby showers - I just think that the change a mother goes through is too often pushed aside and although mother and baby are born together, they are different and deserve separate recognition. Am I making any sense?

, , , and
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#192 of 274 Old 05-14-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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hmm...i may be way out in left field here, but my "baby shower" was not commercial or materialistic. some women did make things for my baby but most of the items were donated to the local crisis pregnancy center as we had way more than we could ever use. it WAS as wonderful time of sharing from women i love, of all ages and stages of life and a very encouraging time for a new mama, who was understandably scared and uncertain about what lie ahead. i am so thankful for their love and support and felt very honored by the party.

i guess i'm just trying to say, make it what YOU want and who cares if it is or isn't just like everyone elses. you certainly don't have to adopt a word from another culture to make it different.

i am glad to know the background on the term blessingway, though, as it is used a ton in our community. and i plan to share the info with the mamas i know that use it. thanks op!

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#193 of 274 Old 05-14-2008, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to let you know - it was because of this thread that my circle of friends and I have begun using the term 'Mother's Blessing' for our celebration of a woman's passage into motherhood.

I also want to point out that I don't consider a Mother's Blessing a 'new age baby shower.' While baby showers focus on the baby coming into the world, the Mother's Blessing focuses on the mother coming into the world. It's trying to bring attention to something that our society has too long ignored. I guess I'm just trying to answer the idea that we don't think our mother's traditions are 'good enough' for us. It's not that I'm against baby showers - I just think that the change a mother goes through is too often pushed aside and although mother and baby are born together, they are different and deserve separate recognition. Am I making any sense?
yes, this makes sense.
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#194 of 274 Old 05-14-2008, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hmm...i may be way out in left field here, but my "baby shower" was not commercial or materialistic. some women did make things for my baby but most of the items were donated to the local crisis pregnancy center as we had way more than we could ever use. it WAS as wonderful time of sharing from women i love, of all ages and stages of life and a very encouraging time for a new mama, who was understandably scared and uncertain about what lie ahead. i am so thankful for their love and support and felt very honored by the party.

i guess i'm just trying to say, make it what YOU want and who cares if it is or isn't just like everyone elses. you certainly don't have to adopt a word from another culture to make it different.

i am glad to know the background on the term blessingway, though, as it is used a ton in our community. and i plan to share the info with the mamas i know that use it. thanks op!
i had a baby shower too, and it was awesome, and i felt special and honored, and i felt a great connection with the women who came with me.
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#195 of 274 Old 05-22-2008, 02:14 AM
 
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Bump
The new American tradition of honoring and supporting a woman who is about to transition into a relationship with a new person certainly deserves a word all it's own. It doesn't NEED to take blessingway.


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. i think each culture in this world is rich and full of deep and powerful truth, TO THE PEOPLE THAT IT PERTAINS TO. i..i just wish we would embrace our own culture more, and try to seek the meaningfulness of our own. it's disrespectful to our elders to forsake their traditions for the traditions of someone else.
American culture may be rich, but I feel that it is sadly absent of deep and powerful truth for the most part. Sure, there are elements of truth--like the ideology of freedom (even though the American reality isn't freedom exactly). There are local and regional traditions that are positive. I accept those.
I don't want to embrace my own culture more. I don't want to be told that I should. My own culture does a good job of making me want to puke on a daily basis. This is why I chose to study anthropology--to try to get to some universal truth--to try to find some way to live that is genuine to me.
I can't take on the actual traditions of other cultures; as you said it's just going thru the motions if I did. I remain heavily influenced by my own culture, that is certain.
All I know is that I am a nature worshiper. Everything else just stems from that. I have to create my own traditions. I believe that a tradition of honoring a woman in her transition from one to more than one is important. The traditional babyshower I had with my first still gives me the creepy-crawlies. I still feel *guilt* about it happening. I needed something different. I needed something with spirituality and I don't want whatever I call it to be called "pseudo-spiritual".

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#196 of 274 Old 05-22-2008, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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synchro, i think that making new traditions that are powerful to you sounds like a great idea!
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#197 of 274 Old 05-25-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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#198 of 274 Old 05-25-2008, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you aren't doing it with the purpose of offending someone, why is it so important that you keep doing it once you know it does hurt or offend people? I don't get why someone would think, "I'm going to do what I want and I don't care if it hurts or offends you." I don't think being asked to not use one simple little phrase is really asking for all that much. Showing a little respect and kindness is not that difficult.

That there are other things that need attention doesn't mean this shouldn't be given some attention. I don't think anyone is thinking, learning, or talking about this and in the process ignoring other issues.

exactly!
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#199 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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Thanks Bellymama for this thread.
We call our ritual/celebrations "Mother Blessing Ceremonies" in my circle of friends. I don't know at all what a Dine ceremony would be like, but ours are sacred in their own way and don't resemble a traditional baby shower at all.
Have you seen the book Mother Rising by Yana Courtland, Barb Lucke, and Donna ****** Watelet? The subtitle is "The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood" It draws from many cultures to guide one in leading a blessing ceremony for a pregnant mother. I personally love the book, but I wonder if the authors have been or should be contacted regarding their use of the word "blessingway". The book could also be part of the reason the word is used so freely by many people who don't understand or know about how it offends the Dine.
I apologize if this particular subject has already been addressed, I don't have time to read the whole thread.
Thanks again for posting. I believe it is important to respect the Dine and their wishes. They aren't asking much.
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#200 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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gentleearthmama, thanks for your post. i totally agree that no one is using the term to intentionally be rude, and most probably have never heard of the Dine's ritual.
i think your ideas sound really cool, and are a great way to create a new way of having a baby blessing.
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#201 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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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'm still on the first page, but this is what I was thinking as well.
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#202 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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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.

Whoa and double whoa Cherry Bomb. That you think that white people can't be native is very racist. My hubby is as white as drywall, but he's 50% Sto:lo First Nations, here in Canada and the Western US. His entire family lives on reserve.

I understand that there are sacred ceremonies and beliefs. I respect it if someone would prefer if I don't use a phrase inappropriately. But to offend while making a point is volatile. And tho your comment was useful and made good points, I've lost the gist of it in my anger about your racist comment.
There are PLENTY of white people who are also Native.
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#203 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i think by white she meant non-native blood.
i am white, but have native blood, so i agree completely with that fact. but i am not raised traditionally, so i don't run around talking about the great spirit and passing out dream catchers just because i am 1/8 ,yk?
but i am pretty sure that when she wrote that, she meant she found it not very respectful that non-native people would be laughing about it.
but that was a long time ago, that she wrote it, so maybe she will come back and explain for herself.
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#204 of 274 Old 05-27-2008, 09:50 PM
 
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Ok.. I get that.

I don't know when this thread started. But I really, really do hate it when people use the term "white people" with such distaste when referring to non natives.

Native blood has been so watered down over the last hundred years, its nearly impossible to tell who is and isn't native and the color of the skin is NO indicator at all.
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#205 of 274 Old 05-28-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Wow. What an emotionally charged thread. Thank you for bringing this up, bellymama.
I am "Indian". I will wait for those of you who object to my using that word to quiet down before continuing.
My mother was "Indian" when she was enrolled by the government and her reservation, as was my gran. I have been "Indian" my whole life. Because I *look* "white", I generally use the term "Native" when I'm speaking to others who don't know my background. However, when I'm on reserve and/or with others who *do* know my background and who call themselves "Indian" and are most comfortable with that term as opposed to the PC names which have come about in an attempt to disassociate the people from their past (IMO and the opinion of many of "my" people with whom I have spoken about the subject), I will say "Indian". That's what we were called. I'm tired of changing the terms I use to refer to myself just because "everyone else" (read: the dominant group) says "It's not right." If you want to get technical, I am Saulteaux and Cree by blood, and Ojibwa by "adoption". Of course, chances are, unless you are "Indian" or have extensively studied the background of "Indian" peoples, that means nothing to you. Basically, what I'm saying is this: Don't tell me what I am anymore. I am what I am and I am "Indian". I'm sorry if this offends those who have adopted the new term of "Native" or "Aboriginal" but that is how I was raised.
And that, basically, is what this is all about. When Europeans came to this country, we Indians had our own names for things. We had names for places, animals, trees, *ourselves*, our traditions, our rites of passage, our cultural practices... Everything that they had names for, we did also. In our own language.
Then all of that changed. We were told that the names for the places we had referred to a certain way for so long was now something else. The names for our trees were changed. Our words for them were outlawed, since our languages were not to be spoke on fear of death. When we said "I'm Ojibwa." or "I'm Navajo." or "I'm <whatever Indian tribe>.", we were told "No, you're Indian."
THAT, imo, is what this is about.
There are, now, Indian people who were raised using certain words for certain traditions/sacred rites/etc and why should we have to change our words *again* so that everyone else can have something they find uplifting? We *had* our own words. They were taken from us. We found new words... often more than once. Please don't take our words again.

ETA: I, by no means, speak for every "Indian". This is *my* experience, *my* opinion and the *general* consensus amongst those people of "Indian" descent with whom I have spoken on the subject.

Wife of Michael , SAHM to Aristotle 09/99 Raphael 06/07 and Marius 05/09 Known only in dreams but never forgotten: Euphrates Decluttering 290/2010
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#206 of 274 Old 05-28-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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I know my last post was very emotional. This is an emotional subject for me. I have fought my whole life (as have many others) to learn "what it is to be Indian". Many of our traditions have been lost. Most of the others have been "renamed" By using the term "Blessingway" to refer to something you could easily call something else, it can confuse the issue for the young "Natives" who are searching desperately for their cultural identity.

Wife of Michael , SAHM to Aristotle 09/99 Raphael 06/07 and Marius 05/09 Known only in dreams but never forgotten: Euphrates Decluttering 290/2010
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#207 of 274 Old 05-28-2008, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for sharing this!
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#208 of 274 Old 05-28-2008, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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if anybody feels like they need more information or reasons why they shouldn't use the term blessingway...these people would probably love to chat:

Center for Support & Protection of Indian Religions & Indigenous Traditions PHONE/FAX
510-535-0505 /
PO Box 17002
Oakland, CA 94601

Quote:
Description. Center for the SPIRIT (Support and Protection of Indian Religions and Indigenous Traditions) is a nonprofit organization of American Indian people dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of American Indian spiritual practices and religious traditions. Headquartered in Oakland we have begun to systematically address the momentous problem of "New Age" exploitation and expropriation of the sacred traditions of American Indian tribes--a problem which has proliferated alarmingly in the Bay Area and throughout California in recent years. The center monitors assaults against Native American religion that occur across the country.

Mission. Dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of American Indian spiritual practices and religious traditions. Headquartered in Oakland we have begun to systematically address the momentous problem of "New Age" exploitation and expropriation of the sacred traditions of American Indian tribes--a problem which has proliferated alarmingly in the Bay Area and throughout California in recent years.
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#209 of 274 Old 05-28-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Excellent information bellymama. It's so great that you keep this thread up to date for newly pg moms (and everyone else).

My brother and SIL are having a baby in your town later this summer!!

Megan Davidson, Labor & Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Anthropologist, Mom to August (9) and Clay (4), Partner to Shawn.

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#210 of 274 Old 05-29-2008, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thankyou
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