I was smart enough to know that everything I had learned about Indians via old-time Western movies was incorrect. However, that left a wide gap in my knowledge of that culture which I had no problem trying to close by asking her questions.
Thank goodness she was a patient woman.
One-on-one opportunities to learn about another culture is the best way to understand them. And when it comes to Native Americans, that one-on-one can help us better understand the slights we are inflicting with the naming of some sports teams.
Some of the Indians will be dressed in the native attire of their tribal roots and others will dress just like you and me.
"There will be examples of the different types of regalia," said
Not all Indians wore feathers, however, and not all chiefs wore war bonnets. In fact, war bonnets were not worn east of the Mississippi River.
Indians also don't greet folks with "how." They aren't all alcoholic. They don't all live on reservations out west.
There will be morning discussions both days about the myths and stereotypes that we still have about Native Americans, and about the different tribes represented in
The Ridgetop Shawnee tribe and the Southern Cherokee Nation of
But many Indians found it safer just to blend in with the general population instead of announcing their culture.
That's changing. More and more Indians are standing proud of their culture and seeking state acknowledgment of it, she said.
During the afternoons of the conference there will be demonstrations of flintknapping, the art of fashioning spearheads and arrowheads and a teepee exhibit, with discussions about the difference between a teepee and wigwam.
Vendors will be on-site throughout the day, selling Indian crafts, including beadwork and silver jewelry. Food concessions will also be available.
There will be a special program for children on Saturday that features traditional games and discussions about tomahawks and blow guns.
"The children will learn how to use blow guns," Danser said. "By age 5 or 6, young Indian boys could use that as a weapon to bring down birds, rabbits, and squirrels for dinner."
The children's activities will be outside. All others will be indoors.
"We're hoping to get a good many people to come at
That will be your chance to learn and ask questions of people who are coming out of the shadows wanting to teach and to be heard.
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