Hope that you are all doing very, very well on this beautiful day of 9 October 2007! Today I thought I’d open up the discussion to talk about a part of our books that is quite a natural offshoot of that gorgeous hunk that we see on the covers of our books, and that gorgeous, wonderful man that we married.
Often today when we think of family, we might consider it in terms of our immediate family, that is, our husband/wife, children, mother, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents. Many of us might even think of family only in terms of husband/wife, children, since that is where we live and where our attention is directed so much of the time. Here’s some of my direct family:
My wonderful husband in an oh, so romantic pose and my son-in-law, Patrick; daugher, Alyssa; and daughter, Trina
But today, I thought I’d share with you the Native American concept of family…and sometimes, you might even say clan. In Native America, the immediate family consisted not only of one’s children, husband/wife, sisters or brothers, etc., it also composed of anyone related no matter how distantly. That is to say: uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins (no matter how distant). In fact, anything that could be traced to a shared ancestor was considered one’s immediate family. It also included special relationships — adoption, god-children, etc.
Here’s some of my more of my immediate family:
From left to right — niece and her husband, Mike, me, mother-in-law, Joyce; grand-niece, Rosena and of course, my husband. Then next picture is my brother, Jim and his wife; my nephew Kurt and his wife; brother-in-law, Bob and last picture is my nephew Greg and his wife.
Then we have my extended family:
From left to right Samantha (sitting) and Patricia combing her nieces hair; next picture Grandfather George & me; next picture Pat, Patricia and me; next picture my god-grandchildren, Tiara and Chase.
As a matter of fact, most tribes were really clans of a sort, almost all were related and hunted and camped together. In those tribes where there were distinct clans, one was never permitted to marry inside his or her own clan, no matter how distantly related.
It was the break up of the extended family that probably, more than any other factor, percepitated the downfall of the Native American culture in the latter part of the 19th Century and early 20th Century. The Dawes Act in the late 19th Century contributed greatly to this, by redefining the definition of “family” to mean only husband/wife and children, and then granting land to only one’s “immediate” family. It struck at the root of Native American culture.
Which brings me to the topic that I thought we might discuss today. First, I’d love to hear about your family and how your family is doing in this, our modern world. And second (and this might be slightly controversial) do you, in your opinion, believe that we, like the Native American of the late 19th Century, have our very roots under attack today? By roots, I mean the traditional family unit. Some say yes, some say no. What is your opinion?
So come on in and join our discussion.