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Re: Native American Art Questions


From: Joan Dark (joandark4art_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 01 2003 - 12:57:15 PDT

Thought I would post my decision in case anyone was
looking for answers. No need for replies unless you
know the answer to the second question.

The answer to my question on whether or not we can
teach our students to make a talking stick is "Yes
that is OK"...Even though we don't have authetic
materials...because....We are going to use our own
symbols...Not the symbols of the Native Americans.
I still can't find anything to suggest what I have in
mind would be offensive.

Here is the don't:
"Don't have them make Indian crafts unless you know
authentic methods and have authentic materials."
I know the authentic materials -- but I do not have
rabbit fur - or snake heads - or animal skulls -
animal horns - eagle feathers. I guess we will use the
materials that we have available to us in nature. We
will look around and find things from our environment.

Well.. I knew this one - that is what I stared with in
my original post:
Don't teach "Indians" only at Thanksgiving.
(we want to use our talking sticks year round - in
honor of the Native Americans)

Here are the do's (that I am covering):
Do present Native peoples as appropriate role models
with whom a Native child can identify.

Do make sure you know the history of Native peoples,
past and present, before you attempt to teach it.

Do present Native peoples as separate from each other,
with unique cultures, languages, spiritual beliefs,
and dress.

Do teach Native history as a regular part of American
history. Do use materials which put history in

Do use materials which show respect for, and
understanding of, the sophistication and complexities
of Native societies.

Do use materials which show the continuity of Native
societies, with traditional values and spiritual
beliefs connected to the present.

Do use respectful language in teaching about Native

Do portray Native societies as coexisting with nature
in a delicate balance.

Do use materials which show Native women, Elders, and
children as integral and important to Native

Do talk about the lives of Native peoples in the

I know I will NEVER remember this long list of do's
and don'ts - I better save it to file no win case it
goes off line.

If any one knows what cultures these specficially
relate to let me know ( I did
find that the Iroquois used them (the culture I am
teaching)-- as well as the Cherokee - Plains (by the
looks of the ones I found online) - Northwest coast.
But still haven't found where they originated (other
that one reference to South America).

Joan Darcy

--- Joan Dark <> wrote:

> My questions on making Talking Sticks:
> Does anyone know if the Native Americans would view
> this as disrespectful to their culture? I found
> references to Talking Sticks in other cultures too.
> Does anyone know what tribes began the use of
> Talking
> Sticks? I found some by the Cherokee...and Northwest
> coast. Anyone know where the practice originated?

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