Ceremony For Marriage

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May 212016
 

Native American ceremonies were not just for birth and for puberty. Native American ceremonies were also especially important for marriage. Marriage ceremonies different from tribe to tribe but often they were always the cause of a big feast as well as a celebration with much dancing. In this way it is very common to many other rituals and marriage ceremonies across cultures. To develop this point for their let’s take one tribe in particular and the talk about their wedding ceremony. The Cherokee Nation exist in the plains of the United States and has for many years.

The Cherokee had been embattled and and decimated for many years and this informs much of their wedding ceremony. But their wedding ceremony is also in defiance of this subjugation and is a celebration of joy. The Cherokee are divided in to clans and it is unlawful and forbidden for you to marry within your clan. This is a way of keeping the bloodline diverse and avoiding inbreeding. In the ancient times the two who are to be married would meet in the center of a townhouse and the groom would give the bride a ham of venison and he would give her corn or bread and then the party would dance and feast for hours on end. In a Cherokee Nation instead of exchanging rings the couple would exchange food. After this there would be many songs that would be some inside of the hut . There is a sacred fire which is very common to many of the Native American ceremonies and the priest or priestess would say blessings over them.

There is also a wedding vase that the Cherokee couple would drink from the drink with only have enough for one but it would have two openings in it and the couple would drink from it at the same time. As far as attire is concerned the the guests would wear ceremonial garments or a wedding gown if it was in the present day. Ribbon shirts are recommended for men or they can wear tuxedos. In this way the Native American ceremonies also Incorporated the subjugating culture as part of their own in the same way that any also include the other elements from neighboring cultures as well. It is important to remember that in all wedding ceremonies for Native Americans it is always about the joining of one man and one woman into a bond. But in modern days it is also not uncommon to have a same-sex couple participate in the ceremony. In this way the Native American peoples have come into the modern era with a different understanding of what it means to be gay or lesbian. Not only that but there are also two specific ceremonial dictates for a same-sex couple in the same way that there are for a different sex couple. There are many legends and stories that go along with the ceremony itself.

Oftentimes there’s also a purification and cleansing ceremony that happens first where the bride and groom will get themselves into some water as a sort of baptism analog that will prepare them for the ceremony and for their marriage to one another. The ceremonial fire that I mentioned earlier is also extremely important and it’s building is very prescribed and can only be done by the shaman himself. The fire is very important as it represents the connection of human beings to the divine as well as the smoke being a ceremonial elements combining the burning of the word with the ethereal spirits around it. You can learn more about this from Tree service Los Angeles. The next part of the wedding ceremony is the confirmation which is also part of the ceremony itself on certain tribes. There is a special hut or teepee where the couple goes to consummate their marriage and in this place they are surrounded by their loved ones who say prayers for them that they will be fertile and have children. The connection to the wedding unites the community and the tribe to the couple in a way that hopefully will last for the couple of entire life. These ceremonies and others like them in different tribes are vital to the health and unity of the tribe and community.

Women’s Ceremony and Circle

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Mar 232016
 

Let’s continue our discussion of the puberty ceremony. For the woman that would be a ceremony with much dancing and a feast and this would be also her presentation into the tribe as a woman who could be married and have sex and have children. Therefor the ceremony was very much about the abundance of nature and the miracle of life. The costumes would include feathers and pelts and other living things like plants, and the food would be abundant signifying the abundance of the woman herself and her ability to give birth. All of the elements of the ceremony would be reflecting fertility and also did about womanhood. By contrast the boys ceremony was all about the responsibilities and the seriousness of manhood. Men of these tribes were responsible not only going out and hunting and finding food but also protecting the women and children from raiders of other tribes who would come and try to attack them and take them away. Therefore the ceremony that recognized the boys’ entrance into manhood would be very different than the woman’s.

The boys’ was a somber and serious occasion where only the men will gather and the women would be excluded. The men would gather together with their knives and their war paint on and they would all cut the young boy in small places and make him drip blood. This was to signify and to acknowledge the blood that he would still in defense of the tribe and also the women and children. All the ceremonies are about manhood and toughness and also acknowledging to the great spirit that this person is ready and able to defend the tribe. Strength is a very strong virtue in Native American tribes as their lives were very physically strenuous and needed strong people to survive. Often times the ceremony would follow a journey by the young brave where he would go off into the wilderness and have to survive and go on a spirit journey for a certain amount of time. If you was able to survive and achieve all of the the things that he was supposed to then he would be rewarded by being allowed back into the fold and this is when the ceremony would occur.

This puberty ceremony for the boys would also include an introduction of hunting as not only a necessity for the group or with someone else but something that he would do alone. This means that the brave would be expected to go out hunting all alone. That means that part of the ceremony involves taking a animal that he had killed himself with only a spear and marking ham with the blood of this animal. This also as an acknowledgment of his marital age was a time when he could possibly be paired with a woman. However often times in the tribes the ceremony was not enough to actually have the man deserves or earn a wife. Oftentimes this was only reserved for the older men of the tribe who had mating rights with the women underneath and could choose which one they had.

This procedure was not common everywhere and changed from tribe to tribe. But the ceremonies were always a very important part of this process. It is important to consider also during the puberty ceremonies how much the ceremony itself was vital to it occurring. It was not enough that someone turned twelve or that they had their first menses or that they were capable hunters. The ceremony itself and acknowledgement of the shaman and the ritual that went along with it or the transformation itself. This is where the transformation actually took place. It is only important that the brave or young Native American girl was ready in the first place but it is the importance of the ritual itself and the ceremony that actually made the change from childhood to adulthood occur. This reliance on ceremony is not exclusive to Native Americans however it was very important to them and the importance of this cannot be understated.

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Native Tribes

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Mar 132016
 

Before making war on other native tribes they would do you these ceremonies that would usually involve fire and also sometimes a blood sacrifice where they would spill their blood either on the fire or mix it with certain powders and potions in order to develop an advantage against their enemies in war. Oftentimes the native peoples in the South would incorporate the palm trees as part of their ceremonies placing sacrifices of animals and also crops on the palm fronds that would serve as an altar for the gods. Another ceremony that they would do would be a fertility ceremony where the couple, man and wife who wish to become pregnant would come before the shaman presenting with them gifts for the shaman including food and crops.

The way that the shaman would be paid and whether he would survive would be collecting these tokens and payments from those who wanted to come see his services and have a ceremony in order to achieve whatever they were trying to get out of him whether it was a fertility ceremony if they wanted to give birth for a ceremony to the god of nature in order to have a bountiful harvest or whether they wanted to be successful in war. In any of these circumstances you would have to make a sacrifice to the shaman in order to make him happy and gain the favor of the gods to the ceremonies. As a Native American if you wanted to do you want to be ceremonies then you had to have the ability to pay.

Therefore there is always a connection between the ability to pay and religion. Just like in the Catholic church where people could buy indulgences where the priest would appease God on their behalf for a payment, so to the Native Americans would have to pay the shaman something in order to get his Services of intercession for their great spirits as well. When considering the different types of ceremonies it is also very important to just think about the various stages in life that every person in any culture can go through. The first is fertility when you want to have a child. There are many things that can go wrong in childbirth. You have to remember that this is an era before science and before any real understanding of how nature or the body work.

This means that anything that was not under your direct physical control that was governed by some unseen force that we now understand as biology or nature was actually in the realm of a spirit or God. That means that there had to be a ceremony or a intercession by a shaman in order to appease each God that had control over the elements of your life that you did not have control over. For instance the fertility ceremony was an all day offering of crops and blood and also a hunt as part of the ceremony. Then there would be a group gathering where the whole community would gather together and feast and dance and say prayers and blessings for the couple that they would be fertile and have a baby. Then they would go off together that night and consummate the relationship.

Then in the morning the shaman would come and bless the woman and put herbs all over her stomach and say a blessing to the great spirit on her behalf . Then moving on with the life cycle the next ceremony that would occur would be the manhood or Womanhood ceremony when the child reached the age of about 12. This is the most important part of a young Native Americans life as it was the acknowledgment of them as members of the community and also acknowledging their personhood and presence among the tribe as contributing members who received and had all the privileges of the tribe. The ceremonies that recognize a woman’s and a man’s entrance into adulthood we’re at different times for each. Usually the woman would experience this ceremony when she had her first period. For a boy it would be usually around the age of twelve.

Native American Cerimonies

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Mar 112016
 

Any discussion of Native American ceremonies or any discussion of Native Americans or any other indigenous peoples must begin with a dissection of the history of these people as well as the subsequent subjugation and extermination of the people and their culture at the hands of Western Colonial Powers. Just as the ceremonies themselves were not developed in a vacuum and instead reflect the culture and the people around them, so too does the expression of these dances and their meaning change over time to reflect the reality of the people who are performing them.

So for the purposes of this blog post I am going to dissect the Native American cultures throughout history as well as breakdown from each culture both their unique and individual styles of Ceremonies as well as the history that with them to evolve. These blog posts will provide a general overview of Native American ceremonies as they relate to the general history of the subjugation of the native people of the North American continent. Any discussion of Native Americans must begin first with the landing of Vikings in Canada . These were the first white people believed to come to the north what is no now is the North American continent and the first to experience and interact with the people who were already living there. According to the history found through the geology and the artifacts Vikings did not adapt well and were killed by the people who live there originally. This was the first interaction with Europeans and Native American and it did not go very well for the Europeans.

It would not be until hundreds of years later when the Spanish became conquistadors in the Americas and particularly Florida for this our purposes focusing only on American native tribes in the US . In Florida the Spanish word brutal towards the native Floridian people and subjugated them brutally with both violence and religion and disease. The Spanish believe that they were ordained by God to come and subjugate and pillage the lands that they found in his name. Thus they came and brutally killed and enslaved all of the native people speak in their native tongue and making them learn Spanish. In this regard the ceremonies of the Native American people became ones of defiance and also of war. Native American peoples in this part of the world were reacting to the subjugation of the Spanish and their ceremonies became ones of funerals for their dead as well as songs of war and sadness for the subjugation of their people. The ceremonies themselves evolved over time and involved songs and also war chants that they would sing in preparation for making attacks against the Spanish.

Unfortunately they were completely out gunned and had no access to things like steel and gunpowder that the Spanish brought along with them. These technologies were far beyond the war technology of the native peoples of this area and therefore their bows and arrows and Spears were no match when they came to battle. This means that the natives suffered  High casualties and were decimated by the Spanish very quickly. The native peoples in the Florida area developed ceremonies around this time that were also about funerals to mourn the dead that had been killed by the Spanish.

These ceremonies became more and more sad and sombre as the Spanish developed their conquest and moved in further from the coastline. However the Spanish did not move that far and really stayed in the Florida Gulf and did not move in too deeply. Before the Spanish were there the Indian ceremonies were very lively. It is true that they did fight with one another however and they were not just a peaceful people who were in touch with nature as is often depicted in movies and TV shows. The native peoples often warred with each other and were very warlike and very combative as all human beings have been all over the world. Therefore their ceremonies were often about strengthening themselves for war. They would put feathers and warlike paint on their faces in order to attract the gods of war to give them strength and to make them victorious over their enemies.

Native American Ceremonies

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Mar 032016
 

Native American Ceremonies — Native American ceremonies like all ceremonies for any culture signify moments in the passing of the life of an individual as well as moments of importance for the community . Native American ceremonies have existed since there were indigenous peoples on the continent of the United States. Ceremonies themselves differ from trap to tribe and from place to place and has evolved throughout the centuries.

The Hopi Indian tribe of the southwest region often use fire and incense and dancing during their ceremonies. The ceremonies often are to honor their spirits and gods and also to acknowledge weddings and births in the tribe. Fire and dance are common themes throughout most Native American ceremonies as his storytelling and costumes. The costumes can vary from tribe to tribe but often they include feathers from sacred birds. The feathers can be made into head dresses and sewn into capes and head dresses for the dancers and also for  the shaman who often presides over these types of ceremonies. Native American ceremonies can also involve the use of psychotropic substances like ayahuasca or peyote. These plant derived tees and smoke create a hallucinogenic property that the Native Americans used to commune with the spirit world and the dead. The effects of these psychotropic drugs are just now being understood and operates on the part of the brain that is responsible for dreaming and also associated with birth and death.

The chemical DMT which is naturally occurring in the human brain is released during the ayahuasca ceremony and the Native American participants will be communing with the spirit world through it. The dancing of the Native American ceremonies is a very important element. The dancing is often around a fire and is often associated with a song and sometimes with incense. The dance steps are passed on from generation to generation from the elders to the younger members of the tribe and the teaching is part of the ceremony itself. The songs of the ceremonies are very important as they communicate to the tribe and to the spirit world what the ceremony is all about. Often times there’s also food  associated with each ceremony that has a spiritual and ceremonial significance. Native Americans did not drink heavily alcoholic drinks throughout their history until white settlers came to their country. Because of this alcohol is often not a part of it of American ceremonies unless they are combined with more not native ceremonies. The fire is a very important centerpiece of many Native American ceremonies .

The fire signifies the communion with the spirit world and also the mystical nature of the humans and the environment when they combine. The most important element of the ceremony is the communion of the community bring together the different members of the tribe into one place to acknowledge their culture and to remember the dead of their tribe as well as make stronger connections with their community. As time goes on and their cultures are diluted through the internet and also the assimilation of Western cultures into their lives the importance of the Native American ceremonies becomes even greater. The Native American ceremonies are a very important part of the culture not only of the Native Americans themselves but America as a whole. Native American ceremonies should be honored and protected like any other historically significant and currently significant artistic and cultural institution .

Tust like an opera or like a Catholic Mass or some combination of them the Native American ceremonies combine art and community and celebration with a deep reverence for history and those who came before. Having survived years of systematic depression and extermination from European and government forces the ceremonies can be seen also as a form of protest and defiance. Maintaining the culture and ways of their ancestors instead of assimilating into the dominating culture of the West. Native American ceremonies were banned for a very long time and the penalty for being caught celebrating in the old way was often very severe and violent. The Native American ceremonies therefore perform an act of defiance for the people and a way to maintain their sense of pride in their heritage.  These ceremonies should be preserved for future generations.