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Native Indian Lore
Crafts - Children


As for speaking of children and crafts these comments are strictly about the memories involving my own family, and at this point, not speaking for the tribe as a whole and how each family deals with teaching their own child.

My father having a strong cultural background worked with our Mother in seeing to our learning and working with crafts on a daily basis. Mother and Daddy both were inventive and intuitive as to the point of being possibly called opportunists. How? One might ask.

There was never a time we were denied the use of tools available. Tools were collected and passed down from father to a son and they became treasured and respected. If there was a leather punch which had belonged to Dad's father, we were advised of the value of the tool. Along with respect for the tool we were taught how to use it properly. I sincerely believe this also is a cultural thing. From an early age Native American children are given responsibility in this way. They learn how to care for tools and it is rare to see a Native American person who is not disciplined as to caring for his tools, in fact, I have never seen this.

For the next observation, there is the matter of members in the family who have a gift or a talent. They, in our case, were always there to pass on these skills.

Memories of family teachings:

Aunt: At the age of five teaching how to cut a pattern for my doll and how to baste the cut out the dress.

Grandmother: Teaching crochet at the age of six by using a large needle and Christmas string which had been used for wrapping she saved for this purpose.

Grandmother: The hemming of tea towels using a basting stitch.

Mother: Allowing me to use the only sewing machine to stitch simple skirts and blouses when I was in junior high school.

Father: Use of the leather punch for repair of belts, punching hole for lacing vests, making small tom-toms, and other leather crafts.

Uncle: Storing and care for tools in a respectful habitual way.

Cousin: Social skills as to behavior involving faithfulness and how to be a good friend or neighbor.

Cousin: Child care.

Cousin: Maintaining a functioning pleasant home.

Father, Mother, Uncle, Grandmother: Religious instructions of a detailed instruction as to a memorizing and learning history etc.

Grandmother: Oral traditions of the Ponca tribe.

Mother: Simply beadwork, daisy chains and simple beaded belts with and without the use of looms.

Aunt: Cooking of traditional foods.

Aunt: Cooking of American foods.

Aunt: Collecting books, recipes, recording and filing these in great numbers for a library of such.

Mother: Cooking and planning well-balanced meal, nutritional and attractively served with an eye to variety. Teaching the children to learn about foods from many different sources, such as the sea, the tropics, or distant states. Variety in foods at one time was not as plentiful in Oklahoma as they are now. Avocado from California, Coconuts and fresh pineapple from Hawaii, Sea foods such as lobsters and oysters were all foods our mother introduced and taught us to enjoy. Maybe we did not have them in large quantities but we were given the opportunity to sample them.

Grandfather: Management and care of tools. Organization and saving of materials in order to have a variety with which to work whether it was saved buttons, leather, bits of ribbon, safety pins, or any other minuscule object or larger things he had found and saved. Great numbers of paint cans with small amounts someone had tossed he saved and there was always the color one happened to need.

Aunt: Practice of care giving in time of family member severe illness.

Aunt: Teaching children to tell time at an early age with her simple, easy to learn method.

Cousin: Teaching of driving a motor vehicle, Jeep.

Uncle: Teaching of driving, Buick, automatic shift.

Mother: Teaching of driving, Pick up truck, stick shift.

Father: Teaching of driving Ford tractor.

Grandfather: Teaching of driving, motor scooter.

Of course, these are just a few things recalled off the top of my head but, I think this serves to demonstrate the unity of the family, Native American, in working to teach the children. This also was another time. Today, these practices are not even in our family. Grandmother worked in Public Relations and had little time off when my children were growing up. Aunts were working as Administrators, Uncles running their businesses with heavy responsibilities there, Father was working in electronics in large corporations and although Mother would never work out, there was just no way all the slack can be taken up by one person. It isn't possible, or practical. Extra learning has to be met in the way of paid lessons, etc. with continuous driving, driving here and there, which only takes up more time. Not to say that these things are not done and met successfully, they, of course, are. However, then comes the place where stress enters into the picture causing great illnesses as well, cancer included. This does not make for the great memories I had as a child when the whole family was working toward benefitting our growth.


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