07 March 2007

here's the story of a lovely lady ...

"... until the one day when this lady met this fellow, and they knew that it was much more than a hunch that this group would somehow form a family. that's the way they became the brady ... [braves?]"

this blog's name is inspired by the 1971 brady bunch episode "the brady braves", in which the white brady family, including carol and mike and their six children and housekeeper alice, become the first situation comedy, or sitcom, family to be “adopted” into a Native “tribe.”

escaping from their regular suburban America confines, the brady bunch open its third season with a three-episode adventure to the grand canyon. there, they attend an exhibition of supposedly hopi dancers doing what mr. brady says is a “rain dance.” concerned with authentic "indianness," cindy, the youngest brady, asks if they are “real Indians.” later, when she and her brother bobby wander from their campsite and become lost, they encounter young native jimmy pakaya, who eventually serves as their guide back to camp.

“Gee! An Indian boy!” cindy exclaims. he runs; they chase. (a reversal of circling the wagons?) later, cindy is concerned again with ethnic authenticity. “Are you a real Indian?” she asks. the Bradys soon learn that Jimmy has runaway from home because he is “tired of being an Indian.” he wishes to “be an astronaut” instead. how does a profession replace an ethnic identity? (reminds me of vine deloria, jr., saying that many natives are putting their work title before their tribal affiliation. reminds me of jeff corntassel saying, "I am a Tsalagi [oklahoma cherokees' own name for each other] first and a trained political scientist second.") “Jimmy,” mr. brady says in his fatherly manner, “You can be both of those things. You can be proud of your heritage and be what you want to be.” yeah, jimmy ... an astrondian! or better yet, an indonaut!

after mr. brady reunites jimmy with his grandfather chief eagle cloud (portrayed by jay silverheels of tonto fame), the “chief” says to the bradys, “I ask you to journey to our village tonight. In a ceremony, I will ask you to become members of my family and tribe.” He assures them that they will have a “groovy time.” (first "indian" to say "groovy" on primetime tv?) to set the stage, Native flute music plays and a few “Indians” sit in the distance. Chief Eagle Cloud stands and declares, “All these people [the Bradys] sitting around this fire shall belong to my [unnamed] tribe from now until forever.” he then gives “Indian” names to each of them.
and here we go ...
Mike: Big Eagle of Large Nest
Carol: Yellow Flower with Many Petals
Greg: Stalking Wolf
Marcia: Willow Dancing in Wind
Peter: Middle Buffalo, then Leaping Lizard (Peter rejects both)
Jan: Dove of the Morning Light
Bobby: Little Bear Who Loses Way
Cindy: Wandering Blossom
Alice: Sq--- in Waiting

and to return to a slightly modified theme song etched into americana consciousness, "that's the way they became the brady [braves]."

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