Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Let Me 'Splain

I suppose I should explain how we recognize family in my culture (Lakota).
Family and relations are generational. Knowing who is in your family is very important. Particularly, because marrying within the family, no matter how distant the relationship is TABOO!
If someone is related to you and is in your own generation, then they are your cousin. We don't do first or second, or anything. A cousin is a cousin, you are related. Very easy. In my own little family right here, these three?

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While the Euro definition would have Little Man be uncle and the girls nieces, in our world they are cousins, and that is what they know themselves to be with each other. The Pea loves that she has a boy cousin, because Dora has a boy cousin too!
If someone happens to be one generation ahead of you, they are your aunt or uncle.
So my first cousin, we call each other cousin, but my kids call her Auntie Deer. Her children call me Auntie Jo and my kids and her kids call each other cousin.
Two generations removed? Easy, two above means they are your grand parents and two below, they are your grand children.
So with Little Bear, he will call me Grandma or Unci (Lakota for grand mother) and when someone else asks how I am related, I say I am Little Bear's father's auntie and Little Bear's grand mother.
So when I mentioned gramma got to hold him? That would be me! And I have been bequeathed with the magical gramma touch and I was able to get him to stop crying!
Now that I have 'splained it, I hope this is enlightening and expands your cultural horizons!
P.S. If this explanation is confusing, please say so and I will do my best to 'splain it better!

8 Kids Who Want To Play:

elizasmom said...

Thanks for the explainer. I love this — it makes total sense to me, since it's based on how people relate to each other. I am so glad that your Little Bear is doing better and that you had the Grandma touch.

bon said...

I'm pretty sure that this is close to how it's done a la the Navajo people, so there was no act-shull confusion on my end.

Eos said...

Interesting. Hispanics follow the anglo way of defining family (from what I can see) but my family has always been a bit quirky and tracking so many darn cousins, 2nd-cousins, great-newphews, etc. gets exhausting so I call just about everyone who is a sort of cousin cousin and so does my kid so I really like your way...makes more sense to me.

Maggie said...

I didn't know that. What a beautiful way to look at things. It brings you all closer in a way.

Jenny said...

This makes alot more sense than the other way.

K J and the kids said...

WOW ! Potentially you could have a LOT of grandma's and grandpa's.

Did little bear have an accident or did he just get really sick ?
Did I miss that ? If not, and you aren't talking about it...no big deal !

Sheri said...

that is BEAUTIFUL!

Mongoose said...

Same here. If someone grew up in the same household as you, you're siblings, if they didn't but they're your age group, you're cousins, if they're your parents' age they're your uncles and aunties (even if the family ties are at best misty), and if they're your parents' parents' age they're your grandparents. And you probably call them grandpa and grandma even if they're no relation to you at all. It keeps things simple.

I'm glad I've found your blog again!