This is a picture of Ethan two years ago after his Thanksgiving Feast program. He was a Native American Indian in the show along with the rest of his class. A couple weeks before, I had volunteered to take the paper bags home and transform them into suitable costumes for 3 year old Indians.
I had creatively represented Chief White Feather, Brave Running Bear and Brave Little Turtle. All of which were fitting Native American names. I have to admit that it was fun... I pulled out some creativity and mixed it with some family heritage (Husband's 1/4 Athabascan)... and Voila! We had some great costumes on the cheap!
Everyone liked the costumes so much, that last year they asked me to do them again. I was up for the challenge... the challenge being finding a simplistic way to paint the names symbolically onto the bag. Again, the kids gave me great names... Prancing Pony, Brave Climbing Bear, Chief Loud Thunder... you get the point. They were, in all sense of the term, realistic. They could have been or possibly were real Native American names given to wee baby Indians moments after birth. Oh, the history!
Again, the costumes were a hit! The crowd loved them! I was proud that I accurately represented the names that the children had chosen. Parents came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed my artistic (simplistic) talent... they were going to save them forever... Briefly, I thought that perhaps I should have autographed them... but, I'm realistic.
Anyway, for the third year in a row, I was asked to paint the costumes for this years Thanksgiving Feast. Of course I would do it... nevermind trying to fit the time in to our psychotic moving schedule. The name request came home for Sean. He picked a fine Native American name - Chief Thunder Heart. So proud. I sent it in the following day.
Over the couse of the next week and a half, the names started coming in... Quiet Thunder, Little Cloud... A good start! But then I kept reading... Sunny Boy, Cheerful Spirit, Helpful Hands, Singing Sister, Charming Grin, Sweet Kid, Loving Heart, Shiny Rainbow... What?!? Which Native American History book did these come out of?!? Was there a chapter in History that included Native American folk lore of the 70's?!? These were hippy Indian names! Where were my strong Indian names from the previous years?
These new names were 'Happy Ending' names... they were abstract 'Hippy Love Fest' names. These Indians would have been killed or at the very least banished for being 'too sensitive'. They would have died because they wouldn't have known a 'bow and arrow' from their head or their butt!
The Chief of the tribe would have said something like this, I'm sure, "You. Sweet Kid. You can not hunt. You can not tan hide. You sit around and chant about love saving the world. Go get that holey canoe and take it down river to the falls. Let the fish eat your spirit."
That would have been the 'happy ending' for many of this years class... except maybe Cheerful Spirit... that conversation may have gone something like this, "You. Cheerful Spirit. You are always so, err, cheerful. You smoke that magic plant. You go grow your garden. Bring it to me. We smoke it in my pipe."
So... I spent my weekend painting costumes and imagining the 'happy ending' to many of my little Indians. The only ones who survived my hours of story telling were Little Cloud, Chief Thunder Heart, Quiet Thunder... and of course, Cheerful Spirit!
The moral of this blog... we are too soft. We are too soft in the memory of our great Native American warriors. We need to get back to the basics... get back to the basics of the bloody history of hunting for your food and fighting for your land... yeah, it's not very Mary Poppins, but kids these days don't even know who Mary Poppins is...