💙Never a bad day to be Native! Be proud! ❤️
Traditionally, Motu women were elaborately tattooed, but the practice has now ceased. Their ceramics (cooking pots, water jars, and food platters) were elegant but plain, with little decoration. Motu achieved their most spectacular artistic expression in their dances in which, with elaborate feather headdresses, brightly painted faces, arm shells and plaited amulets, colorful grass skirts on the women, and elegant perineal bands on the men, they danced in various formations to the percussion rhythms of wooden hourglass drums. Early missionaries viewed Motu dancing as a prelude to sexual abandon, and they forbade it. For some generations, Motu were divided between Christians, who did not dance, and pagans, who did. Although the Christians eventually won, some of the dance forms still survive, but only as cultural relics performed occasionally for tourists or in historical pageants.Motu traditionally believed that their well-being depended on the continued support of their ancestral spirits, who were believed to go after death to a place of plenty over the sea, to the west, but who were thought also to maintain a concern for, and spiritual contact with, their living descendants in the village. Households and iduhu regularly performed mystical rites instituted by their ancestors to promote success in such enterprises as gardening, fishing, and the hiri. The ancestors of a household or iduhu were thought to monitor the behavior of members and to punish misbehavior by inflicting illness or misfortune. *******************************************************
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An Indigenous turtle rattle, the turtle rattle is used during dance and prayer to give thanks to the natural world as it both supports life and acts as a knowledge holder. Turtle rattles are used to embody the environment in these ceremonies as; in the creation story, the world sits upon the back of a giant turtle which had allowed humans, among other forms of life, to call it home (Swamp, 2018)
I work at HINU which historically began as a boarding school in 1884. An institution of cultural genocide with a curriculum of psychological warfare waged on the minds of Native children. Today, HINU is now a four year university and you can feel the echoes of the past when walking the campus. The cemetery (third pic) demonstrates the fact many Native children never returned home.
Many students do not even know what the boarding schools were. Of course they were denied this information, as we all have, being indoctrinated through public schools.
We get into discussion about religion and identity. I ask what their clans or bands are? Many don't know. Or if they were matriarchal vs patriarchal. Many don't know. Traditional spirituality and values? The same answers.
We do not know our languages nor many aspects of our culture because it was literally beaten from us. However, the diligence and will to keep some aspects alive were kept in secret. Ceremonies were done in secret. This is why some of us know where we come from.
Of course this did not happen with every Nation. And some ways practiced today have been slightly altered or adopted. As with the Osage, we have a warriors dance every year that was given to us by the Ponca when we were losing many of our original ways during the reservation era. We survive by helping each other. And the spirit prevails. And knowing you are connected to these lands, that this is the place where your ancestors are buried can help you move forward with the knowledge that you are walking the same lands your ancestors walked and that solidifies your connection. Take comfort in knowing that. Wey.na [pics: boarding schools and HINU cemetery]
Periodically, I receive messages from academia.edu regarding the number of times my name (perhaps my book: Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions) is mentioned. No idea what these "academics" are saying. For me to find out, however, would require a paid subscription. 😑 I'll just keep it a mystery. LoL! 🤓