Re: OA Ceremonies
Scott Begin (michaelb@MARS.CSE.FAU.EDU)
Sun, 20 Sep 1992 12:50:31 EDT
> I agree with Troy and the others that rather than eliminating indian
> ceremonies, the OA should work with local tribes to use authentic ceremonies
> and dress.
> However, the Political Correct movement seems to find this to be a poor
> solution and won't stop until they remove all "inappropriate references" to
> a minority.
> In a similar situation, the Central Michigan University nickname is the
> Chippewas. In early 1989, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission asked that
> all schools drop indian nicknames such as chippewas, warriers, redskins,
> etc... as they were discriminatory. Since we were a targeted school, this
> became an issue. At the time, it was mentioned that CMU no longer had an
> indian mascot dancing on the sidelines at sporting events, had modified
> their indianhead logo to more correctly reflect a chippewa indian. The
> chief of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe was interviewed and said that at that
> time, the use of the nickname was not a problem at that time. They were
> proud to have the school using the nickname. The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe has
> a Reservation just outside of Mt.Pleasant.
I thought I would add the experience of those of us in Florida. Florida State's
nickname is the Seminoles. In fact the infamous tomahawk chop apparently
started there. Some FSU alumni apparently started it at Braves games and
this started the controversy. Just as with CMU and the Chippewas, the chief
of the Seminole tribe stated that they had no problem with FSU nickname. I
should point out that the Seminoles (and the Miccosukee) have always been
somewhat 'conservative'. Many have been reluctent to adapt the mainstream
'white' culture. If anyone has a right to disprove of a school using them as
a mascot, its these people.
That said, I have always wished that FSU would change their logo. The current
one looks like a Plains Indians, not a Seminole. Also they have someone
dressed supposedly as a Seminole on the sidelines. They claim to have done
'exahustive' research to create an accurate outfit, but as someone who HAS
done research in this area with others, they have done a poor job. Their
mascot looks more like an Apache then a Seminole.
In our OA Lodge we got involved in doing reenactments of Seminole War battles.
We, along with people from other lodge, got involved in researching Seminole
clothing of that time period (1830s) to have accurate outfits. We also use
them for Lodge ceremonies. The Seminole don't bother getting involved with
these reenactments, but some bands of Creeks still living in Florida do.
They have never had problems with our outfits. Some Seminoles are aware of
us, and have invited us to some of the Pow Wows they have sponsored to come
and be in our outfits. At one of these events we were approached by an
old Seminole gentleman who, we found out, also had an old style outfit. We
was quite pleased at our stuff and showed us parts of his outfit. If you
do an accurate portrail, they'll respect you for that.
In addition, one of out Lodges (O-Shot-Caw) has a dance team that does
Seminoles dances (only social ones, no religios/ceremonial one). These
were taught to them by some of the Seminoles.
I have found that if you do some reseach (the amount differs from tribe to
tribe) you can have an accurate outfit. If you do things right, most
likely the local tribes will approve. Most of these "Politically Correct"
people are nothing more then busybodies. They act as tho they speak for
everyone. They are usually only a hightly-vocal minority.
Just my $.02
Michael Brown, Osceola Lodge #564 - Southwest Florida Council
Member- Florida Indian Re-Enactment Society (FIRES)
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