[ExI] Loss - was order of the arrow

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Jul 13 16:16:30 UTC 2020

.>... On Behalf Of Henry Rivera via extropy-chat

Subject: Re: [ExI] Loss - was order of the arrow

>...As a Brotherhood Arrowman, I am too am very disappointed to hear this. OA is also described as Scouting’s Honor Society, so to lose that is significant. Could OA continue without the Native American references? It’s hard to image. My take is this sub-organization has only increased knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for Native Americans. Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui. -Henry

Henry!  Far too humble you are, brave warrior!

I will offer an explanation for how scouting is in a way incompatible with our modern culture.  Much of our Indian stuff comes from Rudyard Kipling (and other Anglo writers.)  They were wildly poplar in the formative years of scouting (1900-1910 for instance) and influenced Seton and the others.  Kipling was a British guy who was born and grew up in India part time and Britain part time.  The stuff he wrote about such as Jungle Book was inspired by India (which is why they have tigers there (we don't have tigers in North America (it would be cool in a way if we did.)))  Anyway... Kipling is cool.  He wrote about India and the Indians.  Well Native Americans were called Indians, sooo... OK then.  (By the way... how do we really know that Native Americans were not actually from India originally?)

Here is a very condensed version of scout folklore told around the campfire by the revered scoutmaster, which you may recognize as classic Kipling:

The young brave labored under the hot sun, chipping flint to make into arrows so that he could be mighty in battle and bring home food to his family.  The Great Spirit came to him as he labored, since he was humble and good, offered to make him the greatest and most powerful thing.  The young brave asked to be the sun, for the sun came down on the entire world, burning the skin but also giving life.  The Great Spirit made him the sun, and he shone down on the world.  But the cloud came over and blocked the sun.  There was nothing the sun could do, demonstrating that the cloud was more powerful than the sun. So the sun requested that the Great Spirit make him the cloud.  The cloud drifted around, shaded who he would.  But the mountain stabbed thru the cloud and there was nothing the cloud could do.  The mountain was more powerful than the cloud.  The cloud implored the Great Spirit to make him the mountain.  So the mountain was the greatest thing, the most powerful, until... the mountain felt something chipping away.  There was nothing the mountain could do to stop the humble young brave from chipping flint to make his spearpoints and arrows.  So the mountain implored the Great Spirit to make him the Indian brave.  The Indian boy grew to a man, then to a great warrior, hunter and eventually a chief, with the understanding that with humility comes understanding and happiness.

OK cool.  The guys love it (and the dads do too (to fully understand this whole culture, one must really get the whole father/son dynamic (tragically lacking in far too much of modern society (which downplays the role of fathers (when it should be promoting the role of fathers.)))))  

The story is an example of what we often are criticized for, which is filled with irony in a way.  We are borrowing "Indian" culture and symbols in a way to teach what amounts to European values.  None of that stuff in that story comes from Native American culture, or if so, they got it from Kipling too.  Kipling was in the colonies for a few years in the 1890s, living in New York and DC, but few would argue he was an expert on Native American culture.  Eh, we love his stuff anyway.  We like SciFi written by people who are not experts on space travel.  We appropriate a culture that doesn't really exist as a way to teach about our own culture.


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