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Eagle_23

Odd Ceremonies

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OK I'm back. Again I want to stress that this is is NOT to criticize Wahissa 118, as they do have an excellent program.

 

Recap, there AIA program, singers and dancers, is OUTSTANDING.

 

It's the ceremony teams that some challenges come up.

 

Wahissa 118 has a very strong tradition among their ceremony teams going back a while. And Whitepine, please correct me on any of this if I am wrong as this is based upon conversations and my observations.

 

The good news is that by having a strong tradition, they do have high standards and expectations of their members, particularly in the basics of doing ceremonies: memorization and gestures.

 

Also they have a good sense of, for lack of a better word, theater in that the props they use, the regalia in use, sense of timing, etc really keeps folks attention. If you ever see one of their shows or ceremonies live, you will understand this. EDITED: the live shows I've seen in conjunction with conclave were very good.

 

Here is where tradition sometimes hurts. Sometimes it is a challenge to change tradition. Sometimes it's the members who are resistant to change. And sometimes it's the audience that doesn't want the change.

 

Yes I admit I cringed when the guy in a breechclout got in the water, swam, and little fires. But I'm willing to bet that is something that is expected form the audiences, and if it wasn't done audience members may be ticked. But I do not know as that is something Whitepine can tell us more about.

 

EDITED: this is probably a tradition, and hence hard to change.

 

I will say this in Wahissa's defense. When I went to the Qualla Reservation about 4 years ago, I watched UNTO THESE HILLS, the outdoor drama about the Cherokee, the Trail of Tears, and and the creation of the Qualla reservation, and I was surprised at the costuming for the show, especially after visiting the Oconaluftee Indian Village, EDITED: WHICH IS AWEOMSE ( caps for emphasis. I HIGHLY recommedn seeing the village if you go tot Qualla). The "Eagle Dance" of the show not only was different form the Eagle Dance I've seen, but also the costuming was just like the guy going into lake in the video BSA24 linked to. And there was a bit of "Hollywood Indian" costuming at times in the show. And again this show is put on by the Cherokee on their own reservation!

 

When I asked someone about it, I got an interesting look and smile, and was told, "that's for the tourists," or words to that affect.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

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I will concede that my lodge doesn't do everything accurately when it comes to ceremonies. For instance, the pipe totem and dance were invented by us because of the importance of tobacco in our area. We also tend to do the same thing every time we have a ceremony due to tradition. Part of that is fear of change. I am not involved in Indian Affairs or Ceremonies, but I am friends with many people that are and it would be interesting to see a more historically accurate induction ceremony.

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WP,

 

Like I said, no disrespect or criticism was intended. Traditions die hard, especially in Scouting. And most especially in the OA. :) If you search for backward OA sashes and protesting national's policy on honor borders of flaps, you can read how that tradition was handled by my lodge.

 

 

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I guess it really depends on the region your from and what local Nations or Tribes exist in your area as to what the "Native" reaction would be.

 

In my neck of the woods, Europeans have been interacting with the Native population since the late 1500's so there's been an awful lot of mixing of cultures and a lot of intermarrying so the "blond haired blue-eyed" Native is just as common as the dark, thick black-haired "Asian" sort of looking Natives elsewhere - depends on how much the locals have historically intereacted with one another.

 

The Abenaki community here in NH to me looks more French-Canadian than what one normally thinks of as "Native-looking". By the same token one does see the more stereo-typical appearing NA, but around here, it's really not the norm.

 

On another note, and perhaps should have a tread of its own....it strikes me kind of funny that you could have a group of young people of say German, Italian, French, and even Asian background who learn and perform Scottish Highland dancing, are all properly attired in traditional clothes, perhaps even have a few musicians amongst them who can also play the tunes correctly, and perform demonstrations, etc. and no one gives it a second thought, but if that same group were to learn NA dance and music and perform it, again, properly dressed and able to also play and sing the music, it's like it becomes an instant "problem/issue". Just kind of odd. Again, as long as it's properly researched and done correctly, I don't see any difference between the two examples above.

 

(This message has been edited by MikeS)

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