Native American Culture/birds

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Question
The individuals I respect (mostly native) have high reverence for feathers, we recognize them as living personifications of birds. I notice different tribes do not feel that.'Sometimes non natives use feathers in the wrong ways which really bothers me.

Answer
Few groups of indigenous people, even within a linguistic group feel the same about anything, entirely. A perfect example is the feeling among many traditional Navajo people, that an owl is a bringer of death or bad luck, while the Zuni people, who may live only a few miles away, see owls as the embodiment of departed tribal and religious leaders and teachers, to be revered, not avoided. Hopi people capture eagles to use their feathers in ceremony, hardly, in my own mind, a show of reverence. Lakota may do the same.

The "right way" is the way that satisfies your connection to the Creator and to the living animal. The "right way" is the way that brings the spirit into your dreams and answers your own needs. No one else can share that way exactly with you. They will need their own "right way". Don't be too annoyed at someone else's beliefs or lack of beliefs, though. They have their own path to walk. Keep your feet on the right road for you, and once in a while, gather and speak to other travelers, share your journey, or give them a hand when they need one.  

Native American Culture

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Richard Sutton

Expertise

As a direct reservation trader in all aspects of American Indian arts since 1985, I've answered questions regarding cultural property issues, origins of traditional crafts, materials and techniques, collecting, authenticity, symbols and, of course, repairs! We have operated a retail gallery since that time, bricks and mortar until 2007 and online since 1996. Our online operation closed in 2/2015, to allow me to finally write full-time. My writing site can be found at www.sailletales.com I'll be adding a book or two from our trader experiences under the pen name of W.T. Durand and the rest of my fiction is under my own name. We are not "New Age" practitioners of adopted American Indian religious ceremonies or combined philosophies. If you are seeking such knowledge for spiritual reasons, we will only provide answers that address factual information on these subjects. Unless one is raised in a traditional, American Indian family with language, culture and religious belief intact, we don't believe that simply applying the trappings or cultural property of a given traditional group will give a non-Indian (Native if you prefer)any insight other than the academic.

Experience

My primary focus is on Southwester American Indian Nations and their people, but I also have experience in Plains and Northeastern traditions, having engaged in active trade and retail since 1985 and study for most of my life. I am not claiming any expertise at all in the work, techniques, lifeways or crafts that are made by the Native People of Mexico. They are not the same, either linguistically or culturally but certainly their crafts deserve discussion and appraisal by those who are able to provide real information.

Publications
I was a guest on Fox Network "Lifestyles" program, during the 1990s, to discuss how to tell forgeries, and authenticating jewelry as Native American work. I have also written extensively for our website, www.kivatrading.com and our Ebay Store.

Education/Credentials
UofO, 1970 active in the Authentic American Indian Arts business and direct Trader since 1985. Graphic Designer and published novelist.

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