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#673455 - 03/28/11 08:18 PM Trading Blanket  
Joined: Feb 2008
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Jane - Native American  Offline
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Koala

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Southeast Georgia
On Friday night at the Pow-Wow there is a Trading Blanket session. I have two boxes full of items I'm hoping someone can use and will trade with me. I've never participated in this before. I've traded quite a bit at gatherings, but always one-on-one.

Has anyone ever participated in a Trade Blanket? I've searched for information, decorum, traditions, etc. and can't find a thing. I'd rather not be totally clueless.


Jane Winkler, Editor
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Avatar: Feather Dance Bustle - Men's Regalia
#673456 - 03/28/11 08:20 PM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Beetlemess Offline
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I'm not too familiar with Trading Blanket Sessions, but would like to see what does surface about the topic.


-B-
"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children."
#673577 - 03/29/11 01:44 AM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Beetlemess]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Southeast Georgia
After joining in the Creek Stomp Dance on Friday night at the October Pow-Wow, we were walking back to our lodge and passed by those settling in for the Trade Blanket. Squirrel was apparently the "moderator" and was going over the rules.

I wished I had stopped to listen for at least a few minutes. But it was midnight, I didn't have anything to trade, and was bone tired. So even if I'm clueless at the start, there will be someone to guide me. Squirrel is a great teacher and I'm confident my first Trade Blanket event will be a good one, if I don't doze off!

I'm not certain if the practical joking tradition extends to the Trade Blanket. One certainly doesn't leave the auction for a bathroom or coffee break, or you'll return to find you've bought something smile



Jane Winkler, Editor
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#674703 - 04/02/11 02:19 AM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
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Reno, NV
Blankets are an integral part of Native American culture and survival.

In his surrender speech of 1897, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce said: "It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they areļæ½perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

I am curious what a Trade Blanket event will be like. Blankets in the old days were used for trade for foods and other necessities -- blankets are part of the Native American's life from birth to death.

There is some interesting information on this at Indian Trade Blankets


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#677424 - 04/12/11 02:09 AM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

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Southeast Georgia
Friday night's Trade Blanket was definitely a learning experience. There were quite a few vendors, friends, guests, and children who had their first Trade Blanket and each trade made by a "first timer" was celebrated.

My first was with another first timer and as usual, it had to be in threes, as I was also the first person to make a mistake. There is so much information on the blankets, but I couldn't find anything on-line about this traditional form of commerce. But it's actually so much more than just that.

Each Trade Blanket has a moderator called the Blanket Master and Grey Squirrel is not only a traditional Blanket Master, but a very patient teacher. He also had an apprentice helping out and learning the old ways. A blanket is placed in the middle of a circle and the traders gather round.

When American Indians began trading with the Europeans, one of the most desired items was cast iron for cooking. It's much sturdier than turtle shells or animal bladders. So it became a tradition to begin the Trade Blanket with cast iron. Ours started with a pot. Those who wanted the pot placed their items near it on the blanket and then someone is chosen for the trade. The trade is concluded with a handshake or a hug.

One important point is that equal monetary value is irrelevant here. A fair trade is based on need and desire. My first trade was with a young man for small wooden plaque with 2 eagles burned in the wood. NO, I didn't really need that, but I had something I thought he would like and could use. My heart proved correct and he chose me for his first trade.

My mistake - I stepped on the blanket when placing my item down. This can be taken as offering oneself for trade and very inappropriate, considering I'm married and this was a teenage boy. However, Grey Squirrel graciously took my faux pas and turned it into a teaching moment for everyone. He is a wonderfully considerate teacher, and did not allow my mistake to be hurtful or embarrassing.

The Blanket Master calls on the next person in the circle who has something to trade and it can take a while to go around the circle a few times until all items are traded. We started around 10pm and finished up after 1am. My husband had security duty. He finally got back to the camper around 4am and I had some explaining to do. There was an elk antler in the camper!

NO, I didn't need that either and have absolutely NO idea what I am going to do with it. But there are also "Medicine" Trades, when there is a connection with an item, or a strong need revealed. One of the guest drum members saw my sheep skin. It was needed to wrap their beaters to minimize the vibrations and prevent their fingers going numb while drumming. This might not be the best example of a "Medicine" Trade, but knowing my item will be used to help a drum group is "Medicine" for me.

That elk antler would make a very nice stand for a pipe or flute and one might come to me at the next Trade Blanket.

Last edited by lcp012586; 04/12/11 02:14 AM.

Jane Winkler, Editor
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#677429 - 04/12/11 02:21 AM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
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Reno, NV
This is really interesting, lcp. I have never heard of this type of trading. Can more than one person place an item down on the blanket then the owner choose the one he wants?


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#677526 - 04/12/11 02:31 PM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Jane - Native American  Offline
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Koala

Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,100
Southeast Georgia
Yes, anyone in the Circle who desires the item on the blanket can add their item(s). A recipient is selected from all those offering to trade. You can also add things to your initial offer to make it more enticing.

Another very important thing is no "hard" feelings are allowed. Everyone must respect the trader's choice for a recipient, or if no trade is accepted and the item is withdrawn. That can be done as well.

One lady offered a very unique buffalo hide bag. The flap was covered with thick buffalo hair and reminded me of Cousin It on The Addams Family. A lovely leather vest was placed on the blanket, and I offered my vintage fringed vest, not as nice. I just knew my offer was "trumped" when the leather bolero jacket went down on the blanket. For whatever reason I was chosen and honored. That trade was finalized with a hug!

Now this caught me by surprise, but I was there to learn. Later in the Trade Blanket, the lady offered up the fringed vest she had traded with me. One might think that a bit rude. Why would you trade for something and then try to get rid of it? I remembered the eagle plaque. I had followed my heart in that trade, as I really didn't need the item received.

The lovely lady had followed her heart in our trade as well. Perhaps it was to make my first Trade Blanket experience a success. Or maybe that very unique, crazy-looking bag needed to be with someone equally unique and crazy smile

Last edited by lcp012586; 04/12/11 02:40 PM.

Jane Winkler, Editor
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#677802 - 04/13/11 05:27 PM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: lcp012586

The lovely lady had followed her heart in our trade as well. Perhaps it was to make my first Trade Blanket experience a success. Or maybe that very unique, crazy-looking bag needed to be with someone equally unique and crazy smile


That is a precious experience to share. If she did choose your vest to make your first experience with the Trade Blanket memorable, that was very loving of her.


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
#677835 - 04/13/11 06:40 PM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Phyllis Doyle Burns]  
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Jane - Native American Offline
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Koala

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Southeast Georgia
I think my husband will make arrangements to stay for the entire Trade Blanket next time. Saturday morning during coffee, he was going through my boxes to see what I had gotten rid of and what I had received.

He was both amused and confused, especially by the ARMY ribbon shirt (He's retired Navy and already has one). He just shook his head at the "Cousin It" buffalo bag. He was there for the eagle plaque trade. When he got down to the broken, knock-off army knife, he just had to ask, "What did you trade for THIS?" Nothin' smile The elk antler guy threw it in for the sheepskin trade.

I have been trying to pare things down in our house and we took a bunch of stuff to gift, trade, etc. The intention was to return home with much less. I've been unpacking the camper all day. Well, we almost succeeded.


Jane Winkler, Editor
Native American Site
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Avatar: Feather Dance Bustle - Men's Regalia
#677856 - 04/13/11 06:45 PM Re: Trading Blanket [Re: Jane - Native American]  
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Phyllis Doyle Burns Offline
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Phyllis Doyle Burns  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2007
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Reno, NV
That's funny -- that you came back with more things to store away. What will you do with them? The antlers would make a nice stand for a pipe or flute. What about "Cousin It"?


Walk in Peace and Harmony.
Phyllis Doyle Burns
Avatar: Fair Helena by Rackham, Public Domain
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