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.