Native American Xmas 2012
By Roy Cook
Winter is a fine time for storytelling. In the winter, the land rests. Winter social events hold the tribe together. People can meet and talk, with no distractions of the next daily work needing to be done. Their hearts would he warmed by all the social activity and hard attitudes would soften. Feasts are also a good time for young people to see and meet each other.

The oral tradition story of the tribe is often experienced in the songs and dances. Their custom and tradition are very special to us. Likewise the Tribal customs give us a moral framework for our lives. Customs surrounding birth, death and initiation into adulthood and so on all played an important part in the definition of the tribe and its members.

Many Native American people found that the story of the European Christmas and Christ's birth fulfilled aspects of oral tradition and found the message to be consistent with the truth that was handed down by their ancestors. Over time other social customs, that were introduced to them by the European missionaries have become part of the native cultures and are an integral part of Tribal Christmas traditions today. Tribal traditions are mostly inclusive and bring into the ongoing, living tradition, that which is good or desired. Much as new influences are in most non-Indian homes.

Santa Claus, St. Nicolas

The American-European version of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus originally came from
the Dutch version called Sinter Klaas. This tradition was brought with the Dutch people who settled Eastern Indian America at Amsterdam, New York.

Countless legends are told about the Patron Saint of Giving known as St. Nicholas. He has been the patron saint of Russia, Moscow, Greece, children, sailors, prisoners, bakers, pawnbrokers, shopkeepers and wolves.

His gift-giving role in Christmas rites probably comes from his fame as the friend of children. This Christmas legend tells us that he also used to give anonymous donations of gold coins to persons in need. His cult spread in Europe and Christmas presents were distributed on December 6th when the celebration of St. Nicholas took place.

Christmas Dances

Many Tribes, whom accepted Christianity some 400 years ago, have the custom of a dance on Christmas Eve or Christmas, where gifts are offered at the Manger. Other gift bringers come at different times of the year, often in the summertime, but the gifts are always a part of American Indian culture, whenever the occasion is, for a tribal gathering.

In many other tribes there are many representations of gifts brought to the people. All life is a gift from the Creator. Our time on this earth is but a dance. Listen to the wind and the sounds of the earth, there is a song being sung each day.

Celebrate life and share the gifts of the Creator. In this way it will be complete.

This Holiday and at all times, for all our relations and Indian children, Aho, Thank you, Mehan.