By Oscar T. Branson
Conventional silversmithing tools are proven in full-color photos and illustrations with directions within the paintings of creating jewelry, chains, bracelets, and extra. Spiral certain for simple viewing whereas operating.
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In performance, texts were stylized through repetition, vocable, and accompanying percussion to invoke the power associated with the song. Repetition did not indicate that a song was simplistic but, rather, that it reflected the possibility of accentuating the presence and power of words through redundancy. Because sung words could generate transformative power, repetition could intensify that power. Densmore recorded the following traveling song by Maingans at White Earth. The text of this song, associated with the journey of the soul after death, was largely a repetition of a single line: A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja I am going, ha ha 30 • history A o da na win e he he Hin di no se he he A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha ha A ni ma dja ha ha A ni ma dja36 To the village, he he I am walking, he he The second half of the song was repeated another four times.
10 Collective attention was paid more to ways of accessing spiritual power than to the precise nature of the power itself. For Ojibwes, dreams represented privileged experiences of spiritual messages, conveying gifts of spiritual power as well as instruc- 26 • history tions for how to continue accessing that power. 11 Indeed, the “fast for a vision” associated with passage into adulthood was a central practice of Ojibwe religiousness in the nineteenth century. The ordeal leading to such visions was carefully scripted and governed by custom, as a young person’s vision was viewed as critical to his or her success and health throughout life.
The Ojibwe tradition is not unique in its practice orientation. Neither is it a novel claim here that practice is at the heart of Native American religiousness. 34 That is, when properly performed under the right conditions, ceremonies, songs, sounds, gestures, and dance steps do not merely give expression to the inner matters of feeling and meaning but are believed capable of transforming the self, the community, and the cosmos. Here, the outer is not derivative of the inner but is potentially generative in its own right.
Indian Jewelry Making by Oscar T. Branson