RE: The 12 Days of Christmas, Turtle Island Style


Vincent Schilling
And a bald eagle in a pine tree!

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The 12 Days of Christmas, Turtle Island Style

Vincent Schilling

We know you’ve been getting the house ready, wrapping presents, calling family members, finishing up that last bit of shopping or putting some finishing touches on a cherished handmade present!

Maybe you’ve even been humming along to any number of Christmas carols that are so ubiquitous this time of year.

RELATED: Christmas Playlist: 5 Classic Carols in Native Languages

Christmas Playlist Part 2: More Native-Language Classic Carols

Here we have the Twelve Days of Christmas, Native Style! Forget those maids-a-milking, lords-a-leaping, golden rings, and a partridge in a pear tree. These images pay tribute to the veterans, dancers, emcees and other standouts who make Indian country vibrant and keep it connected.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
12 drum group members


On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
11 tribal leaders


On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
10 Women Warriors


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Nine little dancers


On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Eight Meherrin tribal members


On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Seven veterans saluting


On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Six Golden Eagles


On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me….
Five turquoise rings


Four Miss Lumbees


Three smiling men


Two Pow Wow Emcees….


…. And a bald eagle in a pine tree




A Native American Humor Primer / 2009

Blog Entry A Native American Humor Primer Aug 9, ’09 10:11 PM
by Ann for everyone
American Indian Humor


Native American humor can be divided into two categories- mixed and Native audiences. Mixed company Native American humor usually involves historical references to displacement of land. Also, such humors show to differing world perspectives between dominant Western and Native cultures. Native humor among themselves (ourselves) revolves with among tribal differences. Additionally, humorous anecdotes are told that often placed in uniquely Native scenarios/locations- BIA schools, tribal offices, dances, 49’s.

Powwow MC’s

Powwow Master of Ceremonies are your host when you visit powwows. They keep everyone abreast of what is happening at the dance- dancers, singers, visitors, staff, everyone. Among their duties is to keep everyone entertained. Between songs, they often tell jokes or funny stories to keep a good feeling going at the dance. This gives the drum time to relax, staff to get ready for specials, dancers to rest, and the hosts to sell raffle tickets. Remember at the powwow you are on Indian Time, so don’t expect precision but you can expect humor. Powwow MC’s are uniquely Native humorist, and new material is a must for them. However, over time they can dig into the archives, which can be fun.

Ay (pronounced as a long “A”)

An expression noting a joke has been recognized. Either the receiver of a joke or prank can call Ay, noting they recognize that a joke or con has been played on them. Or the deliverer of a joke or prank can use the term to note that what they said was in jest. I believe Ay is a uniquely Oklahoman expression, which probably proliferated back in the days of BIA boarding schools. In Oklahoma, boarding schools like Riverside, Sequoyah, Chilocco, and Ft. Sill, brought people from different tribes not only from Oklahoma but nationwide. Surely other pan-Indian BIA efforts such as relocation (with urban centers), higher education (Haskell University, IAIA, SIPI). All together helping to drive this expression to across the nation.


A Navajo/English fusion word predominately, obviously, where Navajos and non-Navajos mix (see previous mention of BIA’s pan-Indian efforts). Sh is a prefix in Navajo denoting the possessive my. English word of buddy, again obviously, meaning friend . Hence, sh-buddy means my friend. The comedic value of its usage typically is used not as a term of endearment, but one of casualness to evoke a response. Such as, “Hey sh-buddy, can I borrow $5.00 dollars.”

Indian (as an modifier- adjective or adverb)

Indian time, Indian car, Indian home, Indian love, etc. Usually used (sadly) in a derogatory manner. Indian time meaning to be late and laissez faire about schedules. Indian cars describing old cars with multiple “issues.” As the term is a negative, should be only used by Natives, who use it to lighten despair. Have heard similarities among African-American usage of ghetto as an adjective; however, unlike ghetto, not ever used as a singular noun- “that’s so ghetto,” could not substitute “that’s so Indian”.

Our Humor is mainly Life Moments

Blog Entry Our Humor is mainly Life Moments Dec 14, ’08 2:11 PM
by Ann for everyone
Not many made up Joke Collections you know, just life moment
An Australian travel writer touring Canada was checking out
of the Vancouver Hilton, and as he paid his bill said to the
manager, “By the way, what’s with the Indian chief sitting in
the lobby? He’s been there ever since I arrived.”


“Oh that’s ‘Big Chief Forget-me Not’,” said the manager.
“The hotel is built on an Indian reservation, and part of the
agreement is to allow the chief free use of the premises for
the rest of his life. He is known as ‘Big Chief Forget-me Not’
because of his phenomenal memory. He is 92 and can remember
the slightest details of his life.”



The travel writer took this in, and as he was waiting for
his cab decided to put the chief’s memory to the test.
“G’dye, myte!” said the Aussie, receiving only a slight
nod in return. “What did you have for breakfast on your
21st birthday?”
“Eggs,” was the chief’s instant reply, without even looking
up, and indeed the Aussie was impressed.



He went off on his travel writing itinerary, right across
to the east coast and back, telling others of Big Chief
Forget-Me-Not’s great memory. (One local noted to him that
‘How’ was a more appropriate greeting for an Indian chief than
‘G’dye myte.’)


On his return to the Vancouver Hilton six months later, he
was surprised to see ‘Big Chief Forget-me Not’ still sitting
in the lobby, fully occupied with whittling away on a stick.


“How,” said the Aussie.
“Scrambled,” said the Chief.




From WILD WEST JOKES Dec 14, ’08 2:13 PM
by Ann for everyone


Various Submissions





When NASA was preparing for the Apollo project, they did some astronaut training on a Navajo Indian reservation.

One day, a Navajo elder and his son were herding sheep and came across the space crew. The old man, who spoke only Navajo, asked a question which his son translated. “What are these guys in the big suits doing?”

A member of the crew said they were practicing for their trip to the moon. The old man got all excited and asked if he could send a message to the moon with the astronauts.

Recognizing a promotional opportunity for the spin-doctors, the NASA folks found a tape recorder. After the old man recorded his message, they asked the son to translate it. He refused.

So the NASA reps brought the tape to the reservation where the rest of the tribe listened and laughed but refused to translate the elder’s message to the moon.

Finally, the NASA crew called in an official government translator. He reported that the moon message said, “Watch out for these guys; they have come to steal your land.”



A country preacher decided to skip services one Sunday and head to the hills to do some bear hunting. As he rounded the corner on a perilous twist in the trail, he and a bear collided, sending him and his rifle tumbling down the mountainside.

Before he knew it, his rifle went one way and he went the other, landing on a rock and breaking both legs. That was the good news. The bad news was the ferocious bear charging at him from a distance, and he couldn’t move.

“Oh, Lord,” the preacher prayed, “I’m so sorry for skipping services today to come out here and hunt. Please forgive me and grant me just one wish . . . please make a Christian out of that bear that’s coming at me. Please, Lord!”

That very instant, the bear skidded to a halt, fell to its knees, clasped its paws together and began to pray aloud right at the preacher’s feet. “Dear God, bless this food I am about to receive . . .”


The old Cherokee chief sat in his reservation hut, smoking the ceremonial pipe, eyeing the two US government officials sent to interview him.

“Chief Two Eagles,” one official began, “you have observed the white man for many generations, you have seen his wars, his products, all his progress, and all his problems.”

The chief nodded.

The official continued, “Considering recent events, in your opinion, where has the white man gone wrong?

The chief stared at the government officials for over a minute, and then calmly replied. “When white man found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes. No debt. Plenty buffalo, Plenty beaver. Medicine man was free. The women did most of the work. Indian men hunted and fished all the time”

The chief smiled, and added quietly, “White man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that.”


A guy travelling through the prairies of the USA stopped at a small town and went to a bar.

He stood at the end of the bar, ordered a drink, and lit up a cigar. As he sipped his drink, he stood there quietly blowing smoke rings.

After he blew nine or ten smoke rings into the air, an angry American Indian stomped up to him and said, “One more remark like that, and I’ll smash your face in!”

Red Lake Tribal Humor

Blog Entry Red Lake Tribal Humor Dec 14, ’08 2:14 PM
by Ann for everyone

Tribal Humor
Tribal Fortune Cookies
Q: Do you know what a tribal fortune cookie is?
A: A piece of frybread with a food stamp stuck in it! (Ayee)

Man-Eating Fry Bread
Q: How are tribal men and fry bread alike?
A: They’re both round, brown and greasy!!!

Academic Buffalo
Q: What does a mother buffalo say to a boy buffalo when sends him off to college?
A: Bye-son!

Ice Fishing
Q: How do tribal people know when it’s safe to go ice fishing?
A: When all the white guys quit falling through

Rich Tribal people
Q: How can you tell a rich tribal person from a poor tribal person?
A: The rich tribal person has two cars up on bricks

Q: Why is it so hard to take a group picture of a bunch of tribal people?
A: Cause when ya say cheese, they all line up

Tribal Women’s Creation Story
The creator made woman first. She was lonely, didn’t have anyone to boss around or to take her to bingo, so she asked the Creator for a companion.

The Creator obliged her. He cut off part of her butt and made man. That is why tribal woman have flat butts and tribal men are butt heads.

Good Kissers
Q: Why are guys from Chippewa tribes such good kissers?
A: Because they get so much exercise with their lips pointing at stuff.




Lost Dec 14, ’08 2:15 PM
by Ann for everyone

Lost (Wednesday Groaner)

Long, long ago an old Indian chief was about to die, so he called for Geronimo and Falling Rocks, the two bravest warriors in his tribe. The chief instructed each to go out and seek buffalo skins. Whoever returned with the most skins would be chief.
About a month later Geronimo came back with one hundred pelts; sadly, Falling Rocks never returned.
Today as you drive through the West you can see the evidence of love and devotion the tribe had for this brave. At nearly every mile marker there are signs saying, “Watch for Falling Rocks.”