And yet a cuisine can move to a new land and use new ingredients and still be recognizably the old cuisine. (One Korean restaurant served thinly sliced hot-dogs in sauce--not quite traditional but it fit anyway.) So what makes changing foods hard? Is there a difference between a traditional set of recipes and a cuisine?
Robin at the counter said an interesting upcoming event was a women's drum circle. Up until quite recently they'd not been allowed to do that. I thought it a little odd that they should be working so hard to retain the old culture, complaining about Pere Marquette et al for "denouncing native spirituality and traditions" and trying to replace the old religious practices--and yet be willing to introduce innovations that flatly contradicted the old ways. No skin off my nose--I'm not Ojibwa and have no dog in this hunt.
But on consideration I think the only thing they're guilty of is hypocrisy, not of being unfaithful to their culture.
A culture comes from the religion a people share, the technologies and roles they share, the language they use to define their shared values, and a family history--and maybe something more.
The Jesuits tried to change the Ojibwa religion. That would have inevitably changed the culture. The shared values would also differ, and the language defining them would include new concepts. They would not change into Europeans, but many practices would change or vanish, and new ones take their place. The same thing is happening in this case--they have absorbed (from Christianity or the bastardized Christianity that is post-Enlightenment liberalism) a new value, and their culture changed accordingly.
I have no sense for what role drumming played in their culture, and so can't guess what "other things" will come along with the change or already happened behind the scenes. Presumably there's been some change in what it means to be an Ojibwa man or Ojibwa woman: a change in their place in the universe. Just as Christianity would do.
I remember reading an Indian legend in Twain. It was tightly compressed and obviously assumed a lot of cultural knowledge (a woman doing X is odd and means Y is likely). The same story was retold recently at 20 times the length with more explanation and using tropes from the Anglo understanding of Indian culture. I wonder how common it is for Indian story tellers to take the Anglo interpretation and use that in their own descriptions and self-understanding.
OK, an example: living in harmony with the world. Praying to the spirit of the deer for "forgiveness." The oldest stories I've read seem less like the Disney Pocahontas ("I know every rock and tree and creature") and more of a nervous animism. You never know what spirit you have disturbed; best to be on the safe side and placate them. Maybe I just read the wrong stories. I've been wrong before. But I notice that many of the descriptions of Indian spiritual life are recent and are not isolated from cultural interplay. It is much nicer to think that your ancestors lived in harmony with nature than to think that they were afraid of malign spirits and living on the hairy edge of disaster. The language to frame it is available, you'd be tempted to use the new narrative. (I do not question that philosophies of harmony existed, especially of harmony between people.)
We seem to try to characterize Indian culture by their technologies. They are the weavers of baskets, bakers of pots, chippers of arrowheads, silent stalkers of deer: whatever. At camp Runamucka you got an Indian name, learned to weave beads, and learned somewhat garbled traditional greetings: "ozhaawashkonaagozi vai!" "miskonaagozi vai!"
Of course the real tribes adopted new technologies when they could. Some mastered the horse and proceeded to master and terrorize the other tribes. (Even horseless groups were perfectly capable of organizing empires and mounting 500-mile campaigns to chase down and annihilate their enemies.) That technology radically changed their culture. I don't know of any tribes that mastered the manufacture of guns or iron (maybe the Cherokee?) and were dependent on Europeans for powder and iron stock. That doesn't seem intrinsically different from trading to distant tribes for flint or copper, but it changed the relative values of different jobs in a very short time. No more autarky--bit by bit you get integrated into a wide-flung market economy. When blankets from the trader are warmer, more durable, and easier to sew and repair than your old hide garments, how can you keep valuing the hide seamstress? Nice to be able to know how to do it in a pinch, but I'd rather use an iron axe than make my own stone axe. Now the fur trapper, he's important.
It seems to be received wisdom in some circles that when women's work was devalued, women's worth was devalued. I'm not acquainted with any examples of this theory, and in any event "mother" is an irreducibly valuable office, but the general idea has some plausibility. We do often have utilitarian attitudes towards each other. I'd expect the social order to change with new technologies.
I wonder what is going to emerge from our chaos. Even setting the idol of multiculturalism to one side, we sling new technologies in the mix as fast as our wallets will stand (despite the complaints of our betters who want to be tribal elders able to forbid sweet sodas and other corrupting influences). Our elite have largely abandoned the traditional religion and acquired some new ones. The legal machinery seems designed to mangle families--not much way to convey tradition that way. The stories are shared, sometimes even between groups, but there have to be new stories every season. Even the shared values I'm not sure are shared that broadly anymore.