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Native Indian Lore
Crafts -
Regalia & Clans


Regalia according to Clans

I leave a space for this since it was at one time true, regalia's were marked with the individual's clan. Today, at 2001, mostly, it is not practiced to a great extent, in fact, sometimes it is difficult to identify tribes.

Probably, because of intermarriage most have more than one tribe, and more than one clan. In my own case, or rather Mother's, her father was Shawnee, so she would go to his clan. Her mother was divorced from him when she was only two, so we know nothing of the Shawnee culture; therefore, she follows her mother's rain clan. In actuality, my mother's, father's, mother was full Cherokee. She, Mary Ross, was put on the Shawnee roll for some reason, who knows what. Maybe because this was a time of warfare between factions in the Cherokee tribe. She could have been put there to hide her away, which was a practice, I'm told. This grandmother was Mary Kell, Canoles, Ross, Cherokee. What clan was she? Her husband was Yaqui, Joseph Canoles. What clan was he? The Yaqui people are gone, so who would know? Her last marriage was to Eck Ross, Cherokee, but he is not my blood grandfather. As far as Joseph Canoles, her husband, a cousin doing research found his records as having been adopted by the man who was responsible for the Chisholm trail, one John Chisholm. Joseph Canoles was an orphan, so there you are, and this is true in my case, as I'm sure is in many others.

Not to say there aren't folks who know their clan. Certainly there are. These, if one looks closely, can see the symbols on their regalia of family clan.

At this point I wish to mention the book, "The Ponca Tribe," by James H. Howard. Dr. Howard was an educator who studied the Ponca's. His book has many, many facts. However, one has to be careful in reading literature written by a White man about Indian people. He does mention the above about the clans, and other points make one believe he knew a great number of customs. Still, African people (slaves) came into contact with the Poncas and this must be taken into account, especially when it comes to the mention of black magic in Howard's book. The African people had a strong culture too, and it was not all lost. I know nothing dealing with "black magic." As far as for being true Ponca. I do know the Ponca was known and had the reputation for being peaceful people, only going to war to protect their grounds and farming. Those who practice peace know it is a difficult, well disciplined, culture which does not succumb to vengeance as to casting vindictive spells. This is another point where I would disagree with Dr. Howard. If there was, and as I said, my grandmother never spoke of it to me. If there was black magic it had to come from another source rather than Ponca, possibly the African influence.

The only thing my grandmother ever spoke of was the great necessity for prayer. In Howard's book he speaks of Wah Khan Dah, Piza. Which is, more than likely, an attempt to pronounce the word B-Ah-Zhee (simply meaning, "bad"). I have never heard this word used in connection with Wah Kahn Dah. There were "bad, evil, spirits," but no bad God. The reference here being to Satan. Howard himself recognizes this as a possible inaccuracy. These are the times I think of the book of the Osage, when the people are said laugh and exclaim, "Ho! Ho! Ho!" Referring to laughter at the attempt made to understand the Indian culture. What does this have to do with regalia and clans? This is simply to show how writings can be inaccurate. To understand about clans one would have to find someone who has the most Ponca blood, and someone said there was only one full Ponca left, and ask them, individually, about their own clan.


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