Thursday, February 5, 2015

Finding a middle path - the story of the jingle dress

I wish there were more Elders I could access, but geography and circumstances sometimes limit me.  I really appreciate those Elders and others who are sharing their voices through books and blogs and youtube.  The past few nights we have been watching Making Regalia by Juaquin Lonelodge on youtube.  
After going to powwow last year Runa wanted a jingle dress and I wanted to learn more about how to do this.  Some sources were very stern on the proper way of doing this and making sure that this was something done with great reverance and ceremony.  I was surprised watching the videos by Mr Lonelodge how casual he was.  I also really like that he is making things for someone specific and not just as examples for the show.  It struck me that this is really the perfect moment of tension between "traditional" indiginaity and the modern lives of indians and metis.
I was waiting to learn the "right way" to do this.  I wanted some kind of unchanging indian 10 commandments brought back from on high.  I am an economist and I love to find the right way, the most efficient way.  That is very pleasing to me.  In practice this experience of thinking about the dress helped me forge a sort of middle path that keeps the mindfulness in our activities - if they are indigneous activities or not, but also balances that with the everyday realities.  Before we started S's moon time dress we did a smudge and spent some time together quietly to think about what we were going to do and why, but as we sew I am watching tv.
I like this youtube series and reccomend it if you are looking to take up beading or regalia making.  While the presenter is a little slow in parts to my taste,  he is very thourough about each step and he clearly explain why.  I like how he constrasts traditional techniques with modern ones (with appologies to his grandma - R loved that) and I appreciate his perspective on taking your time and remembering that these items can be passed on so that it is worth putting in good work now.  The youtube channel this show is on also has some other things that look interesting in particular one around drum making.  Don't be afraid to make stuff and make mistakes.

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