1. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Native American question

    Discussion in 'Research' started by aikoaiko, Mar 30, 2014.

    Is there anyone on this forum who is Native American---specifically---a member of the Blackfeet nation in either Montana or Canada? There is a Blackfeet character in the MS I am working on, and I have some questions that cannot be answered by friends of mine off the reservation. It's a long shot (I know:(), but if there are any tribally enrolled members here who are also knowledgeable about the culture, I would greatly appreciate hearing from them!
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the blackfoot nation has its own website... that's where you should be seeking info: http://www.blackfoot.org/default.php
     
  3. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Hi Mamma,

    Yes, I've already been through that and other online sources, but the questions I had were a little more detailed. I'll be contacting someone via the website eventually, but I thought I'd check here first on the off-chance a Blackfeet writer was present.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Great Grams was a Blackfeet. But the closest I've come is reading "Tough Trip Through Paradise". Blackfeet were a dangerous group.

    You might find what you need if you have access to the following series online:

    Voices of the First Peoples is an excellent series I've been watching. The issues covered are many and the people in the videos are from many different tribes. But the insight into the lives of individual native Americans and current tribal life is priceless. There's a link to YouTube on the page so perhaps the episodes are there.

    Just what are you looking for? Someone here might know even if not directly connected.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  5. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Thanks a ton for the name of this series GingerCoffee! I will definitely give it a look:).

    Basically I need to know whether the Blackfeet had any custom whereby members of a tribe could be exiled or 'shunned' for certain offenses. I know that some of the Plains Tribes did, but I haven't found a reference to the Blackfeet in particular. Some people I know (who are not enrolled members, etc.) aren't sure, but in either case it seems to have only been a pre-European thing. There is a Blackfeet character in my MS, but the main character is actually Romani, and in her case the punishment of exile did exist for certain groups.

    I also had some questions about the storage of ritual objects, but I'll have to hunt someone major down for those answers, I think. lol. I need to know, for example, whether it would be considered disrespectful to hang the headdress of a deceased relative on the wall, or in certain rooms of the house.

    If the characters were Iroquois it would be easier (I live in the northeastern US and have some close Mohawk friends), but this story takes place in Montana. I will keep hunting around to see what I can find, but thanks a bunch for the info. regarding the series online!:)
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've read that important possessions were buried with the deceased, that would include a headdress.

    But here's your answer, just ask:

    Find links like the one on this page:

    http://www.blackfoot.org/default.php
    I may have t0 put this book on my reading list:
    The Ways of My Grandmothers
     
  7. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Yes, that's exactly what I'll end up doing. Most of the customs discussed online seem to pre-date white intervention too, which makes it a little more confusing. Since my story takes place in the present, I need to find out what (if anything) has changed:).
     
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  8. desert rat
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    desert rat Member

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    I suspect, if the Blackfeet are similar to many other groups, the behavior is very individual specific. Some people follow closely traditional ways, others not as much. I am writing about an Apache, and I have created the character to value and believe in his traditions, therefore his actions are those typical of the traditional Apache, not the current practices. Can your character "tell" you what is most appropriate? What are his views of traditional vs. modern practices?
     
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  9. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    Yes, absolutely. Adherence to tradition definitely varies among individuals, and tribal cultures as a rule have had to straddle both worlds. In some ways it's no different from any other ethnicity--- keeping elements of one culture intact while simultaneously adopting another. Native cultures were put upon in highly damaging ways, though, so that adoption was much more painful.:(

    The character in my MS mirrors most of the native people I've met. He lives 'normally' like everyone else:), but was also raised to be aware of tradition. He has a dual outlook often as a result of his upbringing.
     

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