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Old 09-22-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
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Corpses in the Circle

Now that I have your attention, let me try and tell this experience as objectively as possible. I want some feeback before I tell you how I felt about this:
I was at a pow-wow this past weekend. It was a small pow-wow. There were a hand full of quality dancers and a hand full of hobbiest dancers......you know the kind :0)
First session on Saturday went as usual. Grand Entry, Tiny Tots, Juniors, Golden Age, then Teen contests. There weren't any glitches.....typical pow-wow protocal/agenda.
We get there Saturday evening for second session. The Grand Entry song had started and a couple of dancers approach me. They said, "Somebody told them that while we were on dinner break, somebody sprinkled the ashes of a deceased person, in the arena." At that point, the A.D. pulls me aside and tells me the same thing.
The A.D. wasn't informed, asked, or consulted about any of this. He said, to inform all of the people that I knew because it would effect young children and women the most. He also put cedar around the ashes since they were contained in one area. He gave G.E. points to the mothers that would normally carry their small children into the arena if they chose to sit it out to care for their children.
I don't know who did it. I don't know anything about the deceased. I don't even know if they were Native.
Sunday comes along......And in the middle of the arena there is a hole. I don't know who or when, but they dug up the ground where the ashes were.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:07 AM   #2
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I guess I can sort of understand why they would do it as people sprinkle the ashes of love ones all over the place

But to do it without asking, makes me believe they did it because they felt they would be told "no" otherwise why would they not at least inform the AD that they were doing it...
Without knowing who did it and asking them why is difficult to pass judgement on them

Different tribal beliefs are at play here also, what is acceptable for some tribes is totally taboo for others
Within that context and not asking or making people aware I would say that it had no business there...
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:04 PM   #3
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Coming from a tribe that has strong taboos on being around the dead (and I would assume their ashes), I'm sure this would definitely bother the people attending a powwow if it happen in this area....

It was very rude and disrespectful to the host, for the person who did this to not make this request before taking action!!! And I feel that would be the constant response no matter where this happen.

Powwow is not a tradition of our tribe, although many of our people have adopted it's ways.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndneyez View Post
Now that I have your attention, let me try and tell this experience as objectively as possible. I want some feeback before I tell you how I felt about this:
I was at a pow-wow this past weekend. It was a small pow-wow. There were a hand full of quality dancers and a hand full of hobbiest dancers......you know the kind :0)
First session on Saturday went as usual. Grand Entry, Tiny Tots, Juniors, Golden Age, then Teen contests. There weren't any glitches.....typical pow-wow protocal/agenda.
We get there Saturday evening for second session. The Grand Entry song had started and a couple of dancers approach me. They said, "Somebody told them that while we were on dinner break, somebody sprinkled the ashes of a deceased person, in the arena." At that point, the A.D. pulls me aside and tells me the same thing.
The A.D. wasn't informed, asked, or consulted about any of this. He said, to inform all of the people that I knew because it would effect young children and women the most. He also put cedar around the ashes since they were contained in one area. He gave G.E. points to the mothers that would normally carry their small children into the arena if they chose to sit it out to care for their children.
I don't know who did it. I don't know anything about the deceased. I don't even know if they were Native.
Sunday comes along......And in the middle of the arena there is a hole. I don't know who or when, but they dug up the ground where the ashes were.

What are your thoughts?
I was there and the person who dug it up was one of the grounds people who worked for the camp grounds. No one told him what they were, just that there were ashes in the circle and to get them out of there.

I was under the impression that it was before the first grande entry.

I talked to the guy who prayed over them, he's family and then I called my Uncle in NC and both of them told me NOT to dance at all on Sunday. I had no clue about it sat, but since I don't compete, there really weren't many intertribals after the second grand entry. But I won't go in if that's there, it's not for me either.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:23 PM   #5
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No one asked permission and no one was notified until after the fact. Apparently the person who did this, did it and then went to the MC and told him and he went to the Arena director and and he went and got someone. There was alot of ceramony going on over it on Sat and Sunday.

No one knows for sure who the person was really who even did it in the first place. I talked to the man who took care of it and he told the AD to keep all the women and Children out of the center of the circle.

The AD did everything right to protect the people there and make sure that everything went okay.

Last edited by timmy tiger; 09-22-2008 at 01:43 PM..
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:27 PM   #6
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Timmy, was that at our powwow, this weekend?
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:37 PM   #7
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Timmy, was that at our powwow, this weekend?
Yeah, I was gonna contact you and let you know about it. I wasn't sure how to, but that was the one.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:38 PM   #8
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Which powwow was this at? Remind me to not go to that powwow anytime soon.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:39 PM   #9
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Hmmmmmmmmmm yee yah.... **shivers**. But you could go along the lines that there are also powwows that are held where many people passed or were long time burial grounds. I agree with K-mom that taboo is very strong in our peoples, etc. However, those who have strong traditional values do know how to take care of themselves and their families. Besides, I have been to powwows that elders have passed away while in the arena but the powwow still went on. The AD took care of it and so did the committee, we just still have to move on.

Yes, we can sit here and say, it should have been done this way or that way, why didn't the committee know about it, etc. But this wasn't our choosing. Although I think they should have been notified but it may have been the wishes of the person who had gone, we don't know that.

But you kind of have to look at the world today, its a huge land mass full of thousands of years of bones and burials. All of us walk on this, its just a part of life. Plus I believe that all living things are souls that live among the earth, human or not, then when we're gone, our physical being become part of the earth.

So people please, when I am gone....don't step on my head...might muss up my hair....ayeeeeeee LOL.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:45 PM   #10
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Which powwow was this at? Remind me to not go to that powwow anytime soon.
Actually this is a good and fun pow wow. Nothing like that has ever happened there before and now that it has, they will keep a closer eye on things.

It's not the pow wow or the committee or the staffs fault that someone acted stupid and did what they wanted to do without first asking or getting permission. The pow wow shouldn't be blamed for this. I've gone there for many years and the staff are really good people.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:56 PM   #11
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Hmmmmmmmmmm yee yah.... **shivers**. But you could go along the lines that there are also powwows that are held where many people passed or were long time burial grounds. I agree with K-mom that taboo is very strong in our peoples, etc. However, those who have strong traditional values do know how to take care of themselves and their families. Besides, I have been to powwows that elders have passed away while in the arena but the powwow still went on. The AD took care of it and so did the committee, we just still have to move on.

Yes, we can sit here and say, it should have been done this way or that way, why didn't the committee know about it, etc. But this wasn't our choosing. Although I think they should have been notified but it may have been the wishes of the person who had gone, we don't know that.

But you kind of have to look at the world today, its a huge land mass full of thousands of years of bones and burials. All of us walk on this, its just a part of life. Plus I believe that all living things are souls that live among the earth, human or not, then when we're gone, our physical being become part of the earth.

So people please, when I am gone....don't step on my head...might muss up my hair....ayeeeeeee LOL.
Thank you Nezbah, some of that was my point as well. I am from an old traditional family as well and I do what I am told and taught. I did mention to the man that it might have been someone's last request. The thing is is that "Shoulda , coulda , woulda--but didn't".LOL But still, they didn't and now the Staff and Committee know to look out for anything like that.

That's exactly what a friend of mine had said "It's not just an Indian thing--You don't dance on the dead". And that's the way that many of us felt at the time. If the person had gone to the AD or the MC and asked, they most likely would have been told "No", but they might have been referred to someone to talk to about it, so that they understood why many would be against such a thing.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:56 PM   #12
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But where was the powwow?

I can tell you one thing, nothing like that would ever happen at one of our powwows on my rez. It's one thing for a person to pass away into the next world in the arbor but another very different thing to have a persons ashes purposefully placed into the arbor, who would want those ashes to blow onto them if a gust of wind came up? I don't care if someone wants that done, it shouldn't have been done unless all that are participating at the powwow have agreed to it, but I doubt that permiission would have been given.

Sounds new agey to me
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:04 PM   #13
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But where was the powwow?

I can tell you one thing, nothing like that would ever happen at one of our powwows on my rez. It's one thing for a person to pass away into the next world in the arbor but another very different thing to have a persons ashes purposefully placed into the arbor, who would want those ashes to blow onto them if a gust of wind came up? I don't care if someone wants that done, it shouldn't have been done unless all that are participating at the powwow have agreed to it, but I doubt that permiission would have been given.

Sounds new agey to me
I guarantee you that he would not have been given permission for this from any of the staff. I know the staff very well and have known them for many years.

I will not put the name out there as I have been told many times by my Elders not to put names on the internet and along with that I will not give this pow wow a bad name 'cause they really don't deserve it, they did all that they could have done.

That's what I was thinking too and so was many of the other's that I talked to about it, we all thought the same thing. Why bring down a good event with alot of good people who are involved due to ONE person and ONE action.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:10 PM   #14
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My thoughts....

I think I felt like everybody has posted at some point throughout the weekend and today. When I was first told, I was shocked. I could see the fear and sadness in people's faces. The truth is, nobody knew what to do. My first thought was my baby. I'm Ojibwe and we don't carry our babies into the arena in the first place but he was near the circle. I jumped on the horn (my cell....lol) and talked to other Ojibwe people that were there. I took care of my baby the way he needed to be.
The A.D. did all he could to watch out for us. I have to admit, I was really proud of him for managing it the way he did. I'm sure he, nor the rest of us knew what to do really.
Then I was "spooked" by it. I just felt like there was probably a soul "in limbo" in the middle of the arena. Those things need time to go somewhere (my beliefs). It was spooky and sad at the same time.
I also thought about the family of the person that passed. Maybe that person LOVED to dance the way most of us do. Maybe that person had a LOVE for pow-wows and they "THOUGHT" it was the best way to honor them. Perhaps they acted before thinking. It still doesn't convice me they should have done this but just some thoughts.
Then I was PISSED.....lol Who is disprespectful enough to do something like that without asking first?? Why did they do it when everybody was gone?......... I had many thoughts and feelings.
Since then, I've taken care of myself the way I needed to be so I also agree that every tribe will deal with this sort of situation the way they need to.

I have never encountered this, in my life. I don't think anybody had, prior to this weekend. We did the best we could, not knowing really what to do.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:13 PM   #15
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I think you are right TT to not give this pw a bad name, because of some inconsiderate person who did not even ask permission.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:16 PM   #16
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I think you are right TT to not give this pw a bad name, because of some inconsiderate person who did not even ask permission.
In the original post, I didn't name the pow-wow either. Unfortunately, word will get out about this. There were enough dancers there to "spread the word". We all know how the "Indian Grapevine" works and how fast.....lol
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndneyez View Post
I think I felt like everybody has posted at some point throughout the weekend and today. When I was first told, I was shocked. I could see the fear and sadness in people's faces. The truth is, nobody knew what to do. My first thought was my baby. I'm Ojibwe and we don't carry our babies into the arena in the first place but he was near the circle. I jumped on the horn (my cell....lol) and talked to other Ojibwe people that were there. I took care of my baby the way he needed to be.
The A.D. did all he could to watch out for us. I have to admit, I was really proud of him for managing it the way he did. I'm sure he, nor the rest of us knew what to do really.
Then I was "spooked" by it. I just felt like there was probably a soul "in limbo" in the middle of the arena. Those things need time to go somewhere (my beliefs). It was spooky and sad at the same time.
I also thought about the family of the person that passed. Maybe that person LOVED to dance the way most of us do. Maybe that person had a LOVE for pow-wows and they "THOUGHT" it was the best way to honor them. Perhaps they acted before thinking. It still doesn't convice me they should have done this but just some thoughts.
Then I was PISSED.....lol Who is disprespectful enough to do something like that without asking first?? Why did they do it when everybody was gone?......... I had many thoughts and feelings.
Since then, I've taken care of myself the way I needed to be so I also agree that every tribe will deal with this sort of situation the way they need to.

I have never encountered this, in my life. I don't think anybody had, prior to this weekend. We did the best we could, not knowing really what to do.


Exactly:

Shock
Confusion
Angry
An attempt to honor?
disrespectful

We all went through alot of those same feelings through out the night and the next day.

The commitee and everyone involved did everything that they could and it was up to us to live out what we have been taught and protect ourselves and children.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiyaanii mom View Post
I think you are right TT to not give this pw a bad name, because of some inconsiderate person who did not even ask permission.
Thank you K-mom, I really do feel that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndneyez View Post
In the original post, I didn't name the pow-wow either. Unfortunately, word will get out about this. There were enough dancers there to "spread the word". We all know how the "Indian Grapevine" works and how fast.....lol
Yes you are right there, however I was talking to someone and like we both have said, think about it this way--by the time the story gets back around to those of us who were actually there, what will it be?LOL

But, again, there were alot of people there and it will get out, I've even told friends and family about it and they know where I was, but it's not on the net for the whole world to see. And then many of the people who were there have been coming there for many years and will (probably) continue to come there. That's the point.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:26 PM   #19
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ok .... so would ya'll be up in an uproar if this person went on a day .... when no one was there .... and spread the ashes around .... and you never ever ever knew about it?
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:29 PM   #20
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I think as a precaution for the future, people should be aware of where this powwow is, just so it can be avoided, I mean thats like dancing in a cemetery to me. Being secretive (to protect the committee and powwow) is not helping the traditional people that might have very strict rules concerning the dead. To fix it, the powwow grounds should be moved or they should take care if it with a traditional medicine person etc. I work daily with repatriation and NAGPRA, so this topic does have my interest.
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