The Elder Awaits His Time   
"Our elders play a very important place in our lives. They are the keepers of our traditions, values, language and history. We must show respect to them at all times. Elders are our guides to our future. They are leaders in our community, role models for our children, and play a very important part in their development. The elders are the storytellers of our history; it is through their stories that a lesson is to be learned. They speak with honor and with a great deal of pride. Elders are our teachers. They teach us to be proud and help us to preserve our language.
Their expertise is of vital importance to us. They take us on nature walks, show and tell us where people (our ancestors) started from, and the directions they have traveled. They teach us to respect Mother Earth, nature, and to be in harmony with both. They teach us of the herbs and teas that cure certain ills. We must also be aware of their upbringing and have respect for that. They teach us the survival skills. They shape our way of thinking, socializing, and to view our ever-changing world. That is why we must always show respect towards them.
Diversity needs to be addressed, maintained, and respected. The elders are needed to fulfill the role of teachers of the culture, language, and traditions, and must be included in teaching their culture to the next generation." Four Winds Curriculum                                                                         


   Native American Eastern Blanket Dancers

Life changes, it's the only thing that's constant. The way in which we express ourselves changes also. Whether in written word, art, music whatever your genre, I think we all can agree that our expressions change as we do.

This post is about the change in subject matter in my art.  I hope you enjoy the new direction my life and art has taken. I will post a piece and tell you about the piece. 

The Eastern blanket dance is one of the oldest and most traditional dances done by the women of the east coast, north and southeast. In pre-contact times, it was a ceremonial dance, and has only in the last century been a competition.

For females of different ages, the dance had different meanings and was performed differently. For instance, teens and young women start the dance usually with the blanket wrapped around their backs and their arms stretched out ahead of them; this does symbolize their coming of age and the courtship of a partner. Also, these young women were showing off their blankets to the onlookers; showing that they had learned the skills of a blanket maker, passing through a stage of life. Older women start off with the blanket semi-open, to show they are or have been courted and have passed through certain stages and experiences of life, such as marriage and childirth.

Golden agers should never start the dance with the blanket closed in front of them, and should also not spin the blanket around their heads, as they are revered and respected for their wisdom and knowledge of their accomplishments as elders, matriarchs and tenders of the home and family.

Some powwow regalia consists of either buckskin or cloth (representing different time periods), can be either a dress or a top and skirt, short traditional fringe, moccasins and leggings are optional. Bead work is now the contemporary and, I might add, popular way to adorn the outfit. When judging the category, I would say to look for grace and showmanship, showing off of the blanket, originality and, of course, graceful footwork.
For alot of people new to attending powwows on the east coast, you will see this dance done at a lot of events. It is not, however, by any definition, a "new" dance; perhaps "new" to those who are new to attending powwows on the east coast!! But, the women have always done this dance, and a lot of others that haven't made their way to "mainstream" celebrations yet.

Let me know your thoughts about this.







I called this post "Origins" because it will list origins of some sayings that we use, even today. The following was sent to me by a relative:

"They  used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a  pot,  then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.......if  you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor" But  worse than that were the really poor  folk  who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss  in"  were the lowest of the low.  

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. 

Here are some facts about the 1500s: 
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . .. . brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: "a thresh hold".(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.. Hence the rhyme: 'Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.'
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat..
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous..

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of "holding a wake"..

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins   and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus,someone could be, "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer"...."

And that's the truth...Now, whoever said History was boring ! ! !