The Native American Artist Harnessing ‘Old Indian Tricks’
For some people, a journey into the past may be akin to a quest to find an “ancient buried treasure.” They’re not alone. The world is full of people who believe they’re capable of rediscovering treasures of ancient wisdom and forgotten ancient practices.
But there’s a catch. The truth behind many of these purported old practices is often as elusive as the treasure itself. And that kind of mystery has led some Native people to pursue a new tradition: the “old Indian trick.”
It’s not uncommon for young Native people to take up this practice, particularly since it may help them feel like they belong to their tribes. Often, these young people will teach themselves the “trick” during Native culture classes or summer camps. They teach the students they are teaching that old ways are still alive and well among some of the oldest and most respected elders of their tribes. This new found belief and tradition can lead young people to question why they even want to go back to “the old days” at all.
If you’re thinking that’s pretty silly, well, don’t be. It’s time to understand how these old Indian trick tales really are.
Tales of the Trick
Tales of the Trick
‘Rough’ is a term commonly used by tribes to refer to the process of hunting, hunting a wild animal. But for the young people of the NPS, “rough” is a term for a young person who is “tricked” into learning the old ways of the tribe.
This “tricking” of young people into learning the “trick” can happen in two ways: one is by teaching them to hunt game as the NPS does; and the other is through the process of storytelling.
Some Native people, such as the Ojibwe, take the act of collecting “trick” stories as far as it makes them feel comfortable. They will be told stories that take place on specific hunting trips. The stories will sometimes be retold by those who have been present along with them on the hunt.
But some tribes are more comfortable telling the “trick�