Changing Ceremonials

~Nicholas Noble Wolf

I was always taught that one did not change ceremonials, that they were to be conducted as given by Creator, and that changing them might not create the desired results. The way I had it explained to me was through the use of an alegory that was similar to this:

For generations, we had a recipe for fry bread that had been passed down. When we followed that recipe, the bread was always good and we knew ahead of time what it would taste like. Then, one of the young ones thought they would make it better, so they crushed up some jalapeños and put them in there. When it was done, they took some of the bread and gave it to Grandfather. After a big bite and a lot of water, Grandfather said, "Grandson, you may call this fry bread, but it's not the same. If creator had wanted jalapeños in there, he would have called for them when he first gave the recipe."

All ceremonies belonging to traditional people were given by Creator--maybe through an intermediary like Buffalo Calf Woman or Seven Arrows, for example. And, they are not all ancient, thinking of the Shoshone/Crow Sun Dance for one. However, they all were given by Creator in the way that he wanted them to be and in the way to best help the people and the earth. Then, the person who received them showed them to their elders to see if what they thought they had received was true--if it worked.

So, what I say here is that we don't change things just because we think it will be better. If we think we have received Creator's message to modify or add, we show that thing to those who are qualified to determine if we have truly received something of value. They will tell a person if they just had a dream or if Creator did come and speak to them.

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Posted 11/12/2006

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