Marc Leon

Musician and Artist

My Art: Native American Themes

The Give-away

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The Give-away
According to Native American tradition, the ritual of the Give-away or 'Potlach' ceremony involved donating useful or loved possessions in order to share with others less fortunate. It was also a sign that the giver was willing to make a sacrifice by surrendering a gift with no regrets, or "strings attached" . The understanding among Native People is that when one shares all that one has so that the people may live, honour and abundance is brought to the giver. Those who are blessed with possessions and food always share with those who are lacking. The Potlach ceremony was never used to get rid of things that were no longer functional or badly in need of repair. To give away cast-off items meant disgrace to the giver and lack of respect to the receiver. Among the tribes of Native America, there was never any justification for some to live in luxury while others of the same tribe starved. If everyone was not taken care of, the people lost face. Likewise, the concept of envy or coveting someone else's possessions was alien to them before the white man's invasion. In Native tradition, a gift is never thought of as an obligation or a means of controlling the receiver. When a gift is made by human hands, the medicine of the maker is a part of the object created. The Give-away teaches us to release anything in our lives that no longer applies to our present state of growth. This may be the release of attachments to material objects, old habits, acquaintances who drain us, friends who no longer see life the way we do, the need for recognition, old goals that no longer apply, or any aspect of our lives that no longer serves us. Releasing the old will make way for new experiences, new people and new abundance.
Posted on June 22, 2010 Slideshow

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