Drusilla Gould leads the Deniwappe presentation at Early Childhood.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — Drusilla Gould talked about Deniwappe and the Traditional Roles of a Woman/Mother at the Early Intervention presentation on Friday, May 10.
Gould defined deniwappe as a set of unwritten rules that our tribe as well as many other tribes live by. Deniwappe is an old way of life and said it starts with language. She said deniwappe is what keeps one healthy and keeps your mind strong. It is passed down knowledge through oral history and is unwritten law. The presentation she gave was in Shoshoni.
She said part of deniwappe is taking care of young children.
“Having an understanding of how to mold and prepare these young people for what’s ahead in their lives is really important,” she said.
She began with talking about how young women and men should learn how to take care of themselves, their body should be fed good things, their mind, as well should be filled with knowledge, groom yourself and have good hygiene, keep clothes clean, she said even if you go out to check the mail, one should always look nice because a first impression makes a difference. She said it was taught kids are a reflection of who the parents are.
She explained Nagotooh (gahni) was the maternal nurturing of babies in the Shoshone tradition.
She said it was important to honor, respect and continue to preserve the ancestral teachings into the future.
After a young woman becomes pregnant she spoke about the process of becoming a mother and how one should take a 30 to 60 day period of seclusion with the child outside the family home, in that time the child’s personality begins to take shape, it’s also a time of protection from negative.
Some of the Deniwappe participants.
She spoke a little about the process of the mother taking care of herself and ritually cleansing herself after the delivery process. Also taking in certain dietary restrictions until they slowly get back to normal.
She talked about newborn babies and how they are considered to be in a state of purity and closest to Creator. She said the newborn baby possesses all types of spiritual power. This is the time deniwappe begins, is as a baby.
She said when they are young mothers can sing to their babies to teach them. The mother can also train the baby to sleep through the night.
She said a mother should have good positive thoughts when caring for the child because they pass down to baby. She said when the mother is feeling bad the baby can feel that too. She said it goes for the fathers too. She reminded people that the babies were on loan to parents from the Creator, which is why it’s important they are taken care of, because they can also just as easily be taken away.
She was told to introduce babies to color slowly and to dress them first in white because they are so pure. She said things should not be bought for baby before it’s born, just in case something happens.
When babies are in the exploring stage as toddlers is when parents have to be on their toes. She said they can knock something on themselves, they can get into chemicals, and so on. She said it’s not only important for parents to be on the lookout but to remind those that come into the home to watch out too.
The learning stage of their development is when they start to speak, dress themselves and learn by watching the adult’s actions.
The next step when child learns by memorizing through listening. This is the time they can learn to read. Everything people say they can remember. She said this is a time we have to be role models when approaching them, as well as how we act with other people.
The next stage is when the child starts to understand things.
When they get older they will have the ability to acquire knowledge through dreams.
She said children should be taught to have strong thoughts as well as strong hands, which they will later use to take care of themselves, by feeding themselves, dressing themselves, hunting and gathering, as well as to help others.
Gould had more to present, but due to time she said maybe they could continue to pick up the discussing at another time. A PowerPoint of her presentation was left with Early Childhood to be utilized if any parents would need it.