Thread: Apache Style
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
OLChemist
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(In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an artist who makes regalia and silver jewelry. I don't dance. So, I am no expert. Nor am I Apache.)


The right way to do this is to take some tobacco to an experienced dancer. Humbly ask her for help. She'll know the right things to do. Listen to her -- even if she says no. If you are intended to do this, the right person will come into your life. You can get information about outfits from watching, books, and websites, but learning the respectful way to enter the circle and how to behave so you reflect well on your ancestors can only come from those who dance. Be humble.

Be aware that when you dance in a woman's cloth category in an Apache dress, you're wearing clothes from outside the cultural areas in which these styles of dancing evolved. So, you will be conforming to non-Apache conventions and aesthetics. To met the standards of proper participation and some competitions you'll need to add items to your outfit.


Shawl: A must. Yours looks very nice.

Purse: Not just part of cloth outfits, useful for keeping those female necessities at hand, like lipstick, your boyfriend's car keys, LOL. When I was in grad school in Houston, there was a lady who ran a gallery. She danced in a camp dress. She had made a modified Apache "burden" basket. She had flattened the cone, bringing it to a oval at the top. Then she had a buckskin cover with a draw string over the top. It was a striking piece.

Fan: This is tricky if you don't have permits. Your wig fan is perfectly serviceable. If you want something lighter, you might try a flat fan. Currently, the trend in women's flat fans is toward huge. But, you can make a very elegant, compact fan in macaw feathers. Blue and golds, can coordinate nicely with turquoise. And they were traditional items of trade in the Southwest.

Mocs: As I said, Apache mocs are distinctive. Having the right mocs will make a big difference. Plus these beauties are a real tribute to the creativity and skill of your ancestors. They are the steel toed boots of the moccasin world. They have a flap on the toe that both adds to the visual appeal and protects toes from thorns and rocks. The pairs I've examined have the upper attached to the sole in such a way that a ridge is raised, that help keep sand and dirt from migrating in between the stitches. Then there is the folded legging -- brush and thorn protection and emergency shoe repair kit in one.

Jewelry and hair ornaments. Like I said, lose the feather unless you earned it. Get a nice hair barrette. Something beaded. Something that will stay securely in your hair. You can attach your plume, if you choose to wear one. You might want to wear a beaded rosette necklace. The Apache make a t-shaped necklace. I have only seen these in the context of certain ceremonies, or on women who have participated in certain activities. I would avoid these.

When you make your outfit, don't copy. Designs belong to families, clans and tribes. The right and responsibility of using certain items is earned. Be very respectful.
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