Jump to content
Stosh

OA and the aboriginal cultures

Recommended Posts

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. 

  • Confused 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

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?

Sure, that's okay. 

Nobody is saying that you can't wear an item of clothing or jewelry as a fashion statement. That's not cultural appropriation. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

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. 

You have obviously mistaken me (for reasons that I suppose I can understand) for a person who believes that "cultural appropriation" is a "thing."  (Or as we would have said back in my day, a "real thing.")  But I am not.  If I was, I would be complaining that people who are not Jewish, but who use words like klutz, glitch, chutzpah, bagel and nudnik (from which we get beatnik, peace-nik, no-good-nik and all the other -nik's), and many other words (some of which I won't mention here because this is a family forum), "stole" them from "my culture," specifically from the Yiddish language spoken by my grandparents and their ancestors and all the other Jewish people who immigrated here from 1880-1920 (ish) from Eastern Europe.

But I don't.  I don't care.  Use all the Yiddish words you want.  Have a bagel. Have a blintz.  Have some kreplach (a dumpling by any other name would taste as good.)  And I don't think the Italians mind if you have some lasagna, or the Chinese if you have some wontons (see kreplach) or the Hungarians if you have any of those dishes that I can't pronounce or spell that my wife makes for us now and then.

That does not mean that I think it's a bad idea to move away from some of the uses of depictions of Native Americans.  I view it in terms of respect.  Does the usage respect the culture that it is depicting?  And I guess what goes into that is, Is it accurate?  Is it reasonably dignified?  And I suppose that the wishes of the group being depicted are part of the mix in determining whether it is respectful, as well.  Chief Wahoo is not respectful, and he's on his way out.  What about the OA?  Are all of the lodges in the country respectful of the culture they are depicting?  I don't really know enough to say.  The last time I was even peripherally involved with OA was 1976, although I could have re-upped my membership when I came back to Scouting.  But from what I have read in this forum over the years, it's probably a mixed bag.  That being the case, if I had a vote on the subject, it would probably to try to find some other symbology for the OA.

Edited by NJCubScouter
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/29/2018 at 12:01 PM, David CO said:

Cultural appropriation is an appropriate term for what the OA is doing.

Is it? What does it really mean? How many different definitions are there of cultural appropriation? To whose definition should we subscribe? What if a small number of a gorup are offended, but the broader group is neutral or even supportive? Is it still wrong? What if the people that are mostly offended are not even part of the group they they feel is agreived. I heard an African American minister refer to that as "appropriating my moral indignation."

I think we can all agree that being hateful and derogatory toward someone or degrading them is well out of bounds and wrong. But the "culture wars" have expanded the boundaries of what is inappropriate to the point of being weaponized.  Sporting dreadlocks or wearing your pants a certain way if you are not from the culture that is associated with, has become grounds for calling someone racist. Restaurateurs have been maligned for creating dishes from cultures other than their own. Calm and civil discussion has been quashed because of fear of being labeled a bigot because you have a different point of view.

 

Edited by HelpfulTracks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently attended a Pow-wow that was co-sponsored by an OA lodge and a Native American organization. While eating at a nearby restaurant I couldn't help but overhead a woman ranting about the "Indian costumes" the people were wearing. While she was going on about "that's not how Indians dress or how they dance," I was thinking she has no clue. Many of those in "costume", or regalia, where actually Native American, and the regalia was mostly very accurate to the nearly 200 year old inter-tribal tradition of Pow-wows. And while you will hear the terms tradition, honor and respect spoken often at Pow-wows, she still thought it was wrong and "those people" should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, that is not uncommon. I have even seen Native Americans protesting other Native Americans at Pow-wow, so who was right

The OA has definitely done some things that are less than respectful in it's history, but for the most part they are trying to get it right, and be respectful. Lodge are urged to work with local Tribal nations to be be respectful (no war paint, no dances, singing/drums or regalia with religious meaning.) in their dance teams. We are urged to use local Tribal regalia for ceremonies. (Pow-wow dances, singing/drums and regalia by nature is mostly from plains traditions). Obviooulsy the Native Americans that are involved with lodges are supportive and want to see things done with respect. But others don't want OA to have any references (including the arrow). Again, who is right?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OA promotes cultural appreciation, not appropriation.

There is a difference.

 

Edited by desertrat77
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have someone other than your religious faith, put on your religious regalia, and have them demonstrate your form of worship for others who are not of your faith and then they come and say, it is being done respectfully and with all sincerity.  Would you believe them?  I have never seen any Order of the Arrow "performances" (for lack of a better word), but I'm thinking that no matter how hard they try, there's going to be a big disconnect along the way and therein lies the rub.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Pselb said:

 I have never seen any Order of the Arrow "performances" (for lack of a better word)....

With respect, I think this represents a disconnect as well.

I've belonged to four different lodges, beginning as a new Arrowman in '76.  All of them did their best to celebrate and give due credit to Native American culture.  They prepared and performed in earnest.

If a Native American nation does not want an OA lodge to represent their culture, that's one thing.  Salute smartly and obey.

(Edited to add:) But a particular Native American nation may approve of an OA lodge representing their culture.   If so, should disapproving outsiders have the last say?

 

 

 

 

Edited by desertrat77
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

With respect, I think this represents a disconnect as well.

I've belonged to four different lodges, beginning as a new Arrowman in '76.  All of them did their best to celebrate and give due credit to Native American culture.  They prepared and performed in earnest.

If a Native American nation does not want an OA lodge to represent their culture, that's one thing.  Salute smartly and obey.

(Edited to add:) But a particular Native American nation may approve of an OA lodge representing their culture.   If so, should disapproving outsiders have the last say?

Exactly.

Our local nation not only approves of what our local units have done, they help to train them on aspects of their culture so that dances, regalia and even words used are appropriate. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Pselb said:

Have someone other than your religious faith, put on your religious regalia, and have them demonstrate your form of worship for others who are not of your faith and then they come and say, it is being done respectfully and with all sincerity.  Would you believe them?  I have never seen any Order of the Arrow "performances" (for lack of a better word), but I'm thinking that no matter how hard they try, there's going to be a big disconnect along the way and therein lies the rub.

You are under the false impression that all regalia, dances and songs are religious on nature. Some are and those should be avoided by the OA. The OA officially discourages the use of such items and urges lodges to work with local Native Americans to understand the differences and be respectful of the cultures. OA routinely host seminars that help Arrowmen understand the difference. Last summer there was a national seminar held at Philmont called Wachipi, many if not most, of the instructors on hand were Native Americans.

My son is in charge of a lodge Pow-wow this Spring and is working with other, including Native Americans, to present a respectful and accurate event as possible.

In fact, my sons involvement in OA is directly responsible for my wife deciding to research our family stories that both of our families have Native American ancestry. Some stories were likely wrong, but some appear to be valid, and she found connections to our family in Dawes Rolls. She is working to validate those (genealogy can be as complicated as it is fun.). That has sparked a greater interest in our children to learn out their family history, not just the Native American aspects.

The OA has the opportunity to be a benefit to our cultures, Native American on non-Native American, it is all in how it managed. Some activist will never embrace that, and some Arrowmen will never figure out how to be respectful. But it appears to me that both groups are working hard to create something of which we can all be proud.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

 If so, should disapproving outsiders have the last say?

Disapproving outsiders should have the last say on their own turf. If a unit asks OA to stay away, then OA should stay away from that unit. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, David CO said:

Disapproving outsiders should have the last say on their own turf. If a unit asks OA to stay away, then OA should stay away from that unit. 

 

If the Scouts do not want the OA to come, they will not.

But if Scout’s wish to join, they should have that option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, David CO said:

Disapproving outsiders should have the last say on their own turf. If a unit asks OA to stay away, then OA should stay away from that unit. 

 

I was speaking to the generalized "The OA is a horrible, disrespectful organization" argument, and specifically re any OA lodge's relationship to a particular Native American nation.  Not of OA-unit relationships.

Your unit is your unit.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

I was speaking to the generalized "The OA is a horrible, disrespectful organization" argument, and specifically re any OA lodge's relationship to a particular Native American nation.  Not of OA-unit relationships.

Your unit is your unit.

 

As to the generalized argument, everyone can have an opinion and nobody really has the last say. I wouldn't go so far as to say that OA is horrible, but it is disrespectful.

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×