Indian Lore Theory

These are the requirements for one of the badges I’m supposed to be teaching at Scout Camp: Indian Lore

1. Give the history of one American Indian tribe, group, or nation that lives or has lived near you. Visit it, if possible. Tell about traditional dwellings, way of life, tribal government, religious beliefs, family and clan relationships, language, clothing styles, arts and crafts, food preparation, means of getting around, games, customs in warfare, where members of the group now live, and how they live.
2. Do TWO of the following. Focus on a specific group or tribe.
a. Make an item of clothing worn by members of the tribe.
b. Make and decorate three items approved by your counselor used by the tribe.
c. Make an authentic model of a dwelling used by any Indian tribe, group, or nation.
d. Visit a museum to see Indian artifacts. Discuss them with your counselor. Identify at least ten artifacts by tribe or nation, their shape, size, and use.
3. Do ONE of the following:
a. Learn three games played by a group or tribe. Teach and lead one game with a Scout group.
b. Learn and show how a tribe traditionally cooked or prepared food. Make three food items.
c. Give a demonstration showing how a specific Indian group traditionally hunted, fished, or trapped.
4. Do ONE of the following:
a. Write or briefly describe how life would have been different for the European settlers if there had been no Indians to meet them when they came to this continent.
b. Sing two songs in an Indian language. Explain their meaning.
c. Learn in an Indian language at least twenty-five common terms and their meanings.
d. Show twenty-five signs in Indian sign language. Include those that will help you ask for water, food, and where the path or road leads.
e. Learn in English (or in the language you commonly speak at home or in the troop) an Indian story of at least three hundred words, or any number off shorter ones adding up to three hundred words. Tell the story or stories at a Scout meeting or campfire.
f. Write or tell about eight things adopted by others from American Indians.
g. Learn twenty-five Indian place-names. Tell their origins and meanings.
h. Name five well-known American Indian leaders, either from the past or people of today. Give their tribes or nations. Describe what they did or do now that makes them notable.
i. Learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, including how and why it was formed. Tell about its governing system, and its importance to the framers of our Constitution of the United States.

I’m trying to concentrate on the Nipmuc/Algonquin/Pequot/Naragansett who lived in the area where the scouts who come to our camp, live. It’s hard. Most of the games of NA origin that we know are prairie games (though some of them are pretty good games…). I’d like to learn some language, but again, resources are a little short.

4a is right out. I’m not going to let kids imagine a world without native tribes. It didn’t happen, and it’s bad form to let anyone pretend that it did. If there hadn’t been any First Nations people here, the white men would have starved.

Numbers 4 and 1 are the ones that are hardest for me right now. In theory, I know how native houses were constructed, and we’ve actually built a frame now. In theory, I know how cordage was made, and I think we have enough grasses and other plants around the lake to make some. I’m also comfortable, in theory, with having the kids make their own bow drills for fire-starting. I’ve seen one, I looked up the kinds of wood they/I need, and I’m confident we’re on the right track.

Today begins the actual test of my theoretical knowledge, though. Hmmm, and I say again, hmmmm. Anyone wants to point me at some northeastern First Nations games, that would be appreciated.

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10 comments

  1. Re: Ah, but…

    I’m willing to grant the absence of the population bubble, though I suspect there’d have been a perhaps more sustainable pulse as New World undeveloped plant tech started winding its way in. Odds are good the US’d still be a colonial power rather than an independent nation, though.

    I’m not arguing it’d be worth pursuing the idea, I’m just tired of White Americans/Europeans being an easy target that no one cares overmuch if you shoot at. I’m grumpy on the subject.

    (Frankly, if there’s a desire for an alt-hist badge, doing extrapolation of the “If Europeans Never Arrived” plot might be more fun. Aztec Empire vs Walker Confederation would be gold.)

  2. Re: Ah, but…

    There was an interview once… were some boyscouts who were 13 asked some Iroquios men what they should take into the wood… because they wanted to do this camp out just like Iroqouis boys would do… the men’s answer was “take your mothers”.

    Because a 13 year old would still be in his mother’s real and not in the wood alone for a week without her…

    The boyscouts decied to go with another tribe… one less matrachal.

    SMILE…

    Check out the great swamp fight, if you can refrances,… other than setting the huge brillo pad a flame, it’s kinda like soccor

  3. Ah, but…

    but my friend, you’re forgetting…

    approximately 60% of the world’s domesticated food sources right now were produced in the New World, beginning 9,000 years ago. If natives hadn’t done that technological research, there wouldn’t be corn, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, chocolate, wild rice, potatoes or a host of other things.

    So, yes, they would have starved… or more specifically, not had the population explosion which makes our present civilization possible. You can’t do 9,000 years of domestication in 500 years (or even 1000 years, given that Leif Erikson’s voyage would have been lots more prosperous), even assuming you’re bothering to look for useful and edible plants in a new society.

    But that wasn’t really the point I was getting at, in any case.

    Asking a bunch of kids to write lengthy, cogent essays at summer camp about Europeans arriving on a foreign shore stripped of all human inhabitants… well, that’s alternate history, and they don’t learn anything about First Nations peoples that way. Indeed, if anything it becomes a testimony to European ingenuity and skill, not a recognition of Indian Lore. And the name of the badge is not Courageous European Lore but Indian Lore. So no, it’s not about white discrimination — and there are badges in history, geneaology, archaeology, and local-state-and-national citizenship. It is about giving Scouts a brief exposure to paleolithic tech and an alternate way of looking at the world.

    And I get them for maybe six hours total, eight if you count out-of-class homework time. Compared with sixty-plus hours for the ‘white’ merit badges, to say nothing of camping, bicycling, climbing, shooting sports, or other similar activities.

  4. 4a is right out. I’m not going to let kids imagine a world without native tribes. It didn’t happen, and it’s bad form to let anyone pretend that it did. If there hadn’t been any First Nations people here, the white men would have starved.

    This is not only untrue, its vaguely insultingly racist. Unless, of course, you mean to imply, “Dem stoopid white folk can’t larn nothin’,” or some equally insightful expression of jejune anti-Western tripe.

    More accurately, a lot of the first-wave colonization would have slowed down after the unprepared ships starved out, and that would have followed with a far more supportable set of supplies and colonists with focus on more the Southern states/Gulf region than the chilly and unpleasant northeast. Remember, these were business ventures, and nothing creates an optimum like loss; follow-up ventures would have had to be floated to make up the financial burn. With it becoming rapidly apparent that there were no natives, the land could be pretty quickly turned to profit.

    The peoples of the Northern European persuasion weren’t exactly foreign to the concept of colonization, nor on discovering things for themselves. It gets tiresome realizing how free and easy it is today to engage in racist expectations of them.

  5. 4a is right out. I’m not going to let kids imagine a world without native tribes. It didn’t happen, and it’s bad form to let anyone pretend that it did. If there hadn’t been any First Nations people here, the white men would have starved.

    This is not only untrue, its vaguely insultingly racist. Unless, of course, you mean to imply, “Dem stoopid white folk can’t larn nothin’,” or some equally insightful expression of jejune anti-Western tripe.

    More accurately, a lot of the first-wave colonization would have slowed down after the unprepared ships starved out, and that would have followed with a far more supportable set of supplies and colonists with focus on more the Southern states/Gulf region than the chilly and unpleasant northeast. Remember, these were business ventures, and nothing creates an optimum like loss; follow-up ventures would have had to be floated to make up the financial burn. With it becoming rapidly apparent that there were no natives, the land could be pretty quickly turned to profit.

    The peoples of the Northern European persuasion weren’t exactly foreign to the concept of colonization, nor on discovering things for themselves. It gets tiresome realizing how free and easy it is today to engage in racist expectations of them.

    • Ah, but…

      but my friend, you’re forgetting…

      approximately 60% of the world’s domesticated food sources right now were produced in the New World, beginning 9,000 years ago. If natives hadn’t done that technological research, there wouldn’t be corn, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes, chocolate, wild rice, potatoes or a host of other things.

      So, yes, they would have starved… or more specifically, not had the population explosion which makes our present civilization possible. You can’t do 9,000 years of domestication in 500 years (or even 1000 years, given that Leif Erikson’s voyage would have been lots more prosperous), even assuming you’re bothering to look for useful and edible plants in a new society.

      But that wasn’t really the point I was getting at, in any case.

      Asking a bunch of kids to write lengthy, cogent essays at summer camp about Europeans arriving on a foreign shore stripped of all human inhabitants… well, that’s alternate history, and they don’t learn anything about First Nations peoples that way. Indeed, if anything it becomes a testimony to European ingenuity and skill, not a recognition of Indian Lore. And the name of the badge is not Courageous European Lore but Indian Lore. So no, it’s not about white discrimination — and there are badges in history, geneaology, archaeology, and local-state-and-national citizenship. It is about giving Scouts a brief exposure to paleolithic tech and an alternate way of looking at the world.

      And I get them for maybe six hours total, eight if you count out-of-class homework time. Compared with sixty-plus hours for the ‘white’ merit badges, to say nothing of camping, bicycling, climbing, shooting sports, or other similar activities.

      • Re: Ah, but…

        There was an interview once… were some boyscouts who were 13 asked some Iroquios men what they should take into the wood… because they wanted to do this camp out just like Iroqouis boys would do… the men’s answer was “take your mothers”.

        Because a 13 year old would still be in his mother’s real and not in the wood alone for a week without her…

        The boyscouts decied to go with another tribe… one less matrachal.

        SMILE…

        Check out the great swamp fight, if you can refrances,… other than setting the huge brillo pad a flame, it’s kinda like soccor

      • Re: Ah, but…

        I’m willing to grant the absence of the population bubble, though I suspect there’d have been a perhaps more sustainable pulse as New World undeveloped plant tech started winding its way in. Odds are good the US’d still be a colonial power rather than an independent nation, though.

        I’m not arguing it’d be worth pursuing the idea, I’m just tired of White Americans/Europeans being an easy target that no one cares overmuch if you shoot at. I’m grumpy on the subject.

        (Frankly, if there’s a desire for an alt-hist badge, doing extrapolation of the “If Europeans Never Arrived” plot might be more fun. Aztec Empire vs Walker Confederation would be gold.)

  6. Well, atcually letting them think of this place with out NA would point out how inapt the settlers were.. they would starve as you pointed out… amung a lot of things…

    But lacross, the great swamp fight << wampanoag>>. And bark was used for the wikum. And everyone gambled…. hee hee.

    Anyway… I believe on tuedays at Quinsig community center the bead class is still being held… you can go there to get some more info…

    On line as well.

    The languge here was algonquin. As most of the east cost with slight diffrenced in the tribes.

    Local powwows … are a nice place to start,.. BTW the one at foxwoods is too commercial and almost western…

    The East had a lot of things… it’s just that people thing the people don;t exsist here anymore….

    Unlike the west, the Eastern people have escaped the missionary hold when it was dememed we were assimlated. So there is a big diffrance in attadude.

    But lacross might be fun for the boys it was done instead of war. but the original was far more volent than the sanitised version played at colleges.

    Smile… pardon my spelling errors.

  7. Well, atcually letting them think of this place with out NA would point out how inapt the settlers were.. they would starve as you pointed out… amung a lot of things…

    But lacross, the great swamp fight << wampanoag>>. And bark was used for the wikum. And everyone gambled…. hee hee.

    Anyway… I believe on tuedays at Quinsig community center the bead class is still being held… you can go there to get some more info…

    On line as well.

    The languge here was algonquin. As most of the east cost with slight diffrenced in the tribes.

    Local powwows … are a nice place to start,.. BTW the one at foxwoods is too commercial and almost western…

    The East had a lot of things… it’s just that people thing the people don;t exsist here anymore….

    Unlike the west, the Eastern people have escaped the missionary hold when it was dememed we were assimlated. So there is a big diffrance in attadude.

    But lacross might be fun for the boys it was done instead of war. but the original was far more volent than the sanitised version played at colleges.

    Smile… pardon my spelling errors.

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