Posted by: Aandeiyeen | April 12, 2011

Acknowledgment of clans and clan leaders protocol; evolving versus adopting

I was at the Native Issues forum last week- an annual series of guest speakers that talk about political issues of interest to the Native community hosted by Tlingit & Haida Central Council.  I won’t talk about the content of the presentation, there wasn’t anything too ground-breaking or worth repeating.  What bothered me was the format of the forum.

I had been to a few Native Issues forums before and the master of ceremonies (depending on who it was) rarely acknowledged the Auk Kwaan people for allowing the gathering to take place on their land.  Rarely were clan leaders acknowledged, yet various people from Sealaska or Central Council- even interns- got acknowledged.  I was disappointed that the last guest speaker, Governor Parnell, did a better job than the master of ceremonies of acknowledging the prominent elders and clan leaders in the crowd.  This is only an example; there are other instances where we fail to acknowledge those that are important.  How many dance groups thank Sealaska for hosting Celebration but don’t thank the Auk Kwaan for being on their land?  etc.

Corporate folks aren’t elected officials that represent the people; corporate affairs (Native owned or not) are economic.  IRA governments, while more democratic, don’t necessarily reflect the true leadership in traditional communities either.  I don’t mean to discredit either institution for the work they do.  But acknowledge them for what they are and how they contribute- they are business leaders and political officials- not to be mistaken with clan/traditional leaders.  I grew up knowing that family, clan, and community come first and that I must be respectful of and acknowledge those around me, particularly when I am in someone else’s community.  Is it too much to ask that those who so vocally try to represent “all Native people” to do the same?

Are we at a point where being traditional is be considered irrelevant by our own people? Have we gotten that far removed from our cultural roots that we feel as though it is no longer important to follow certain protocols?  Cultures do need to evolve to survive, but there is a difference between evolving and adopting a totally different (Western) mindset and approach.

There is no singular villain to blame for the history of wrong doing to our people.  We are under attack from practically every quarter to preserve what we have and what is important to us as Native people.  But following protocols and acknowledging traditional leaders is not something we need permission to do.  We’re losing another component of who we are and how we relate to each other as Tlingit when we don’t do this.  And we can’t blame outside influences for making our traditions and traditional protocol illegal anymore for this is due to our own negligence.


Responses

  1. […] between our traditional leadership structures and our anglo inspired and sponsored leadership:Acknowledgment of clans and clan leaders protocol; evolving versus adopting I had been to a few Native Issues forums before and the master of ceremonies (depending on who it […]

  2. […] leadership structures among the Tlingit, and their anglo inspired and sponsored leadership:Acknowledgment of clans and clan leaders protocol; evolving versus adopting I had been to a few Native Issues forums before and the master of ceremonies (depending on who it […]

  3. Internal colonialism! Let’s start rebuilding our clans!

  4. […] on the undermining of our clan system and traditional leadership structure here: Acknowledgement of Clans and Clan Leaders by Aandeiyeen from […]

  5. […] on the undermining of our clan system and traditional leadership structure among the Tlingit here: Acknowledgement of Clans and Clan Leaders by Aandeiyeen from Yakutat, […]


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: