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OA and the aboriginal cultures

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My son is only in Cub Scouts so he's exposed to just a few of the concepts connected to the Native American experience.  But from my limited understanding of scouting, is it only the American scouts that do the Native American things or do other scouters around the world appropriate local legend and lore?

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How often do we get into discussions that boil down to what is going on inside someone's head when they do something? Cross sticks could be hazing or a way to have some innocent fun. Dancing for lost items can be taken as fun or really embarrassing. Is that what's going on here?

How about a different view of this. Suppose a NA tribe decides to use a likeness of Jesus at an event. This could easily go two ways, depending on intent. If it were respectful I'm not sure many Christians would mind. If it were to illustrate peace and love and respect of all people then my guess is most people would be fine with it. Certainly there will always be some that would be upset but for the most part people would be okay.

On the other hand, if it were to mock Christianity then that's a different scenario. It would be in all the newspapers and it would get ugly.

So the question is not should a tribe be allowed to use Jesus, it's how are they going to use Jesus and is it respectful.

Back to the original intent of the OA. There is a certain mystique in NA cultures, just like there is at the root of all cultures, that resonates in a way that words don't. Sometimes it takes more than just talking about an "honor society." Scouts do not respond to talking. They'd rather see it. As a scout I really enjoyed watching the OA ceremonies.

We keep throwing out bits of fun and motivation because someone can abuse it. I think it would be better to get all the people involved to sit down and talk about the good that could come from these things, figure out better ways to convey what's good and bad, and also accept that a few bad situations should not be used to paint an entire organization with a single brush.

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45 minutes ago, Pselb said:

My son is only in Cub Scouts so he's exposed to just a few of the concepts connected to the Native American experience.  But from my limited understanding of scouting, is it only the American scouts that do the Native American things or do other scouters around the world appropriate local legend and lore?

What say you, @Cambridgeskip and @ianwilkins?  Do British Scouts get dressed up as Saxon hordes or Norman conquerors or anything like that?  :)  You have more "legend and lore" to choose from than we do. 

(Added: I found a good illustration of some Saxon raiders doing their thing, but I did not post it because it was slightly gruesome.  What I noticed that is somewhat relevant to today is that the guys were carrying... sheath knives!  Very large ones, too.)

Edited by NJCubScouter
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3 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

What say you, @Cambridgeskip and @ianwilkins?  Do British Scouts get dressed up as Saxon hordes or Norman conquerors or anything like that?  :)  You have more "legend and lore" to choose from than we do. 

(Added: I found a good illustration of some Saxon raiders doing their thing, but I did not post it because it was slightly gruesome.  What I noticed that is somewhat relevant to today is that the guys were carrying... sheath knives!  Very large ones, too.)

Not really!

Younger sections, ie beavers and cubs, might sometimes have a themed camp which mind involve outfits of some sort but it's not something that would be done as a matter of course. We certainly don't have anything resembling OA at all.

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On 1/25/2018 at 12:59 PM, Col. Flagg said:

If OA is going to be forced to give up the native american aspects of OA then WB should have to give up their "regalia" and "props" as well.

And put out a call to the rest of the world to drop the campaign hats and neckers as well.

For that matter, probably a good many Scouting skills as well.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

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History of the Campaign Hat. The current drill sergeant hat evolved from the 1883 campaign hat. That headgear was a modified (flat brim versus upturned brim) Montana Peak, which was adopted for wear by the army in 1911, and abandoned in 1942.

Boy Scout of America are the only non-military organization in the US authorized to wear US military uniforms.  Sea Scouts is the last remnant of this.  Originally Boy Scouts wore the same uniform as the soldiers of WW I eventually replacing buttons so as to indicate BSA rather than the uniform.  Collar brass was also changed from US to BSA. 

The Scouting movement makes the neckerchief part of its uniform. ... The origin of the Scouting neckerchief seems to be in Robert Baden-Powell's participation in the Second Matabele War in 1896; where he worked with Frederick Russell Burnham, an American-born scout employed by the British Army.

It would appear that these items were not appropriated from any ethnic nor concerned sources.

If you look closely at pictures of the campaign hat, the BSA version is not the same as the British version.  :)

Edited by Pselb

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9 hours ago, Pselb said:

History of the Campaign Hat. The current drill sergeant hat evolved from the 1883 campaign hat. That headgear was a modified (flat brim versus upturned brim) Montana Peak, which was adopted for wear by the army in 1911, and abandoned in 1942.

Boy Scout of America are the only non-military organization in the US authorized to wear US military uniforms.  Sea Scouts is the last remnant of this.  Originally Boy Scouts wore the same uniform as the soldiers of WW I eventually replacing buttons so as to indicate BSA rather than the uniform.  Collar brass was also changed from US to BSA. 

The Scouting movement makes the neckerchief part of its uniform. ... The origin of the Scouting neckerchief seems to be in Robert Baden-Powell's participation in the Second Matabele War in 1896; where he worked with Frederick Russell Burnham, an American-born scout employed by the British Army.

It would appear that these items were not appropriated from any ethnic nor concerned sources.

If you look closely at pictures of the campaign hat, the BSA version is not the same as the British version.  :)

But the concept of the necker and the Stetson campaign hat both came from FRB. BP adopted them from Burnham, because of their utility, during their time together in South Africa.

Culture is not purely ethnic. The western (cowboy) culture is one that, I hear, is or was popular in Europe and Asia.

My point is the race to be the "more aggrieved" party is a fools folly. With thousands of years of human history where an how do draw lines of what is and isn't cultural appropriation. More importantly it appears generational in some cases. One generation of a particular group being offended by something a previous generation of the same group encouraged, or inturn "borrowed" in part or in total from other cultures. Arguments made over the cultural appropriation of rock and roll and BBQ a few years back comes to mind.

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I don’t like the term cultural appropriation because it implies merely using something from another culture requires permission or constitutes misuse. There are things (bbq or tattoos for example) which are somewhat universal. There are things which are specific to a culture. But does using any of these things mean misuse. People argue using feathers and war paint is misuse of Native American culture. What about a chef that misused a native dish and cooks it poorly. What about Hispanic or Asian women with blond hair. These are examples of appropriation but with no ill intent. They use these things because they like them not to make fun of anyone. As stated above it’s impossible to trace many things back to a single source. If the users of any item appear to be trying to treat it with respect then what’s the harm. 

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On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 9:21 AM, Back Pack said:

As stated above it’s impossible to trace many things back to a single source. 

I agree with that. I have no objection to OA using an arrow as its symbol. Almost all cultures have used arrows. Yes, some things are universal.

OA is not just using universal symbols, and it is not just using "something" from another culture. OA groups choose a specific tribe and mimic the dress, ceremonies, names, customs, and culture of that tribe. It is appropriating the culture. Cultural appropriation is an appropriate term for what the OA is doing.

 

 

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My understanding the OA (BSA) has NOT branded any images of Native Americans., just arrow images.

Meanwhile, the long goodbye of Cleveland Indian Chief Wahoo has begun. ... well at least from uniforms and billboards.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/sports/baseball/cleveland-indians-chief-wahoo-logo.html
 

 

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22 hours ago, David CO said:

I agree with that. I have no objection to OA using an arrow as its symbol. Almost all cultures have used arrows. Yes, some things are universal.

OA is not just using universal symbols, and it is not just using "something" from another culture. OA groups choose a specific tribe and mimic the dress, ceremonies, names, customs, and culture of that tribe. It is appropriating the culture. Cultural appropriation is an appropriate term for what the OA is doing.

 

 

Ok. So wood badge is doing the same thing with the horn they use. I’m not sure appropriation is always a bad thing. 

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1 hour ago, Back Pack said:

Ok. So wood badge is doing the same thing with the horn they use. I’m not sure appropriation is always a bad thing. 

Don't bother. You will never get folks to take down WB even if they are culturally appropriating something. 

Go to class and focus on your studies. ;)

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Without commenting on the overall issue, I would note that imitating a horn and imitating the behavior of other people are two very different things.

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1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

Without commenting on the overall issue, I would note that imitating a horn and imitating the behavior of other people are two very different things.

Wow, that's a split hair. I didn't realize there were degrees to which cultural appropriation was offensive. Is wearing a Mexican hat (but not imitating the behavior of Mexicans) okay?

You can't be a little bit pregnant here. Either one is culturally appropriating or you are not. It is either fine or it is not. 

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The fact an animal is indigenous to a particular continent doesn't make it uniquely associated to one particular culture. If that were the case, then we would have to infer that the Republican elephant is intended to indicate a strong identification between that party and persons of African descent.

Edited by David CO

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