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Romantic Ideals? Perhaps.

February 18, 2011

I was thinking about my last post and realize, that to the readers of TKL, the Native American theme probably seems out of the blue for me.  But in fact, it feels like an old hat (pun intended). I grew up in Arizona and we often took weekend trips into Navajo territory to visit places such as Flagstaff, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Montezuma’s Castle… 

The Navajo women would sit at roadside tables where they would sell the most amazing turquoise jewelry, baskets and woven goods.  The women always wore the same, stoic expressions on their faces and projected a regal presence in their stately stature.  Interactions were limited to a mere few words and I suppose that built on their mystery for me.  Of course, I couldn’t have described them that way as a child, but that is certainly how I remember them.

We moved to the Midwest in my early teens and I found myself driven to movies such as Dances with Wolves.  I won’t even admit how many times I’ve watched that movie!  Looking back, I think that I was feeling the absence of the once constant presence of Native American culture. 

I still gravitate toward Native American movies such as Skins, Thunderheart and Imprint, as well as movies like Into the West and Shadowheart.  To go totally pop culture; I knew as soon as previews of Twilight: New Moon came out that I would be “Team Wolf”.  (Not to mention the fact that vampires always come across as “Woe-Is-Me” and a little too “emo” for my taste…)

There’s something about the Native cultures that lends a sense of serenity.  I know.  I know.  I’m romanticizing.  I’m picturing Wind In His Hair (Rodney Grant) screaming from the mountain top “DO YOU SEE THAT I AM YOUR FRIEND?!  Yes, they fought.  Yes they did become brutal in their wars (but not until European influence became prevalent…).  Yes they took multiple wives on occasion.  But they lived a simple, though hard and difficult, life.  Their societal structures were heavily dependent upon extended families and the bonds formed within their small tribe and their beliefs, traditions and skills were passed down from generation to generation. 

These days, parents plop their kid in front of the T.V. and go get drunk in the den.  Extended families are practically non-existent.  Shoot, single families have given way to single parenthood or foster care.  So yeah.  There’s some romance in the ideal of a family oriented culture that lives together, loves together, suffers together and endures together.

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