Robert Chanate: Valentines Day confusing for Indian Country

"Of all the holidays we Natives have to contend with in the U.S, Valentine’s Day can be the most confusing for those of us looking to tradition for guidance in the ways of the heart. Native stories are big on themes like bravery, sacrifice, compassion and leadership, but when it comes to romance—not so much.

Native Nations have traditional stories of courtship and specific songs of love. I’ve come across some in books but the more interesting ones come by way of explanation by a storyteller or singer. I once met a Plains Native guy out in the Bay area and in the course of our conversation, he mentioned he was a singer. I asked him if he knew any Warrior songs and he busted one out. It was just us two and I gave him the bro handshake for sharing it.

A short while later, some women came up and the singer said he wanted to share a love song from his people and went into a long reflection on the uniqueness of women and their strength in keeping our nations together. Finally, he started his song and it was the same one he had earlier described as a warrior song. The exact same one."

Get the Story:
Robert Chanate: Native Americans and Valentines: Hearts, Tales and Verse (Indian Country Today 2/14)

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