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Old 03-30-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
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Let's Talk GRAND ENTRYS

Grand Entrys are a normal part of most powwows today. Yet, most powwows did not have grand entrys 40 years ago. They were adapted by most powwows in North America and have since become the norm.

Where did they begin? Why was it readily accepted?

Some say they were adapted from the late 1800's Wild West Shows. So did the early Sioux (Lakota/Dakota), Pawnee and Ponca powwows (whose tribal members made up the bulk of Indians in the wild west shows) have grand entrys at their powwows at the turn of the 20th century?

Another explanation is that the grand entry was first seen and utilized at the Gallup Intertribal Indian Ceremonials. This was a pageant that started in the 1930's and included many plains tribes who grand entryed one tribe at a time.

Even in Oklahoma, which allegedly was the birthplace of the grand entry, most powwows in the 1950's - 1960's did not have a grand entry.

When did they start having grand entrys where you're from?

What have you heard about grand entrys?

Would today's powwows be complete WITHOUT a grand entry?
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:23 AM   #2
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I don't go back far enough to remember when there were no grand entries.

In my humble opinion todays powwows would not be the same without grand entries. The grand entry has become an intregal part.

Perhaps family powwows or smaller gatherings do not find the grand entry necessary? Seems that Flag Songs and Prayers are much more indispensible in that setting.
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallman
I don't go back far enough to remember when there were no grand entries.

In my humble opinion todays powwows would not be the same without grand entries. The grand entry has become an intregal part.

Perhaps family powwows or smaller gatherings do not find the grand entry necessary? Seems that Flag Songs and Prayers are much more indispensible in that setting.
Like tallman, I don't go that far back either, but I have spoken with many who've related that grand entries in South Dakota started in the early 1960s.

Flag songs and prayers can and are frequently rendered at dances where there are no grand entries. Personally, I don't care for the grand entry; waste of time. Just get out there and start.

I know many think the grand entry is some sort of sacred event, and I've heard of and seen a lot of people getting really upset and actually angry if the order of the grand entry wasn't what they thought it should be. I said on another thread, and I'll repeat here...if grand entry was about showcasing true values, shouldn't the elders be followed by the children? Then us adults bringing up the rear...

All of the old guys I've spoken with about this have told me that the grand entry idea came from rodeos. With committees taking grand entry points sometimes twice a day, it just seems like a way to further complicate contests.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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Great topic WHOME! This has inspired me to look into our tribal powwow history to find out when the Grand Entry was incorporated into our powwows. I think Grand Entry is a very important part of the powwow, I see it as a way to honor our veterans, those who may not be able to dance, those we dance for, our nations, our leaders, elders, etc. I dont think it's a waste of time at all. Thats like saying singing the national anthem before any event is a waste of time.

One thing i always wanted to know is where did the "Head Staff" originate from? (As far as having a head male & female dancer) This is something that is fairly new to me.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:53 AM   #5
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I can remember Oklahoma Powwows when they didn't have grand entry, just the calling song and started round dancing.
I always thought the idea was adapted from the rodeo format.
I remember traveling up north, Rocky Boy, New Town, Rosebud, Crow Fair when I was just 8 or 9 and don't remember these pow wow ALWAYS having grand entry. It seemed to come about in the early to mid 80's in Oklahoma. Especially with Red Earth's beginning in 1987, but I think when point system contesting came about then there had to a grand entry for accountability for participating for points.
I can't really say when I say or participated in my first grand entry, it just seemed to slowing come about and then became the norm around here.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:01 PM   #6
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Hmmmmmmmmmmm, interesting question.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:17 PM   #7
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Grand Entries???

A very interesting question. I think Grand Entries are more set up for contest dancing points. When the Eagle Staff, the Flags, and the veterans all go in, they only make one round and then take their place at the center and wait for the rest of the dancers to file in. Regarding the amount of the dancers, those in the center may stand there for up to 40 minutes if it is a large powwow. So in my mind, powwows can probably do without grand entries. The Veterans and the Eagle Staff can be honored with a special ceremony that would mark the begining of the powwow. That's my take on grand entries.
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Old 03-30-2005, 02:37 PM   #8
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i always remember there being grand entries. i too think they can be a waste of time especially on sunday evening when the committee is behind schedule and there's still four more specials to do and the finals of the hand drum.

i always thought that was messed up with the MEN coming in first the babies coming in last. stands to reason that the men should be "protecting" the youth and woman (if we indeed need protecting..lol) and be on the outside. we should start a revolution...change it up. why do the men come in "first"?

maybe having one a day should be enough.
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Old 03-30-2005, 03:09 PM   #9
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Question

Now I really am wondering about the order of grand entry. It is different from place to place, but basically it's close to the same everywhere. Why do the kids and women come in last? Like most of us have been told, the grand entry came from rodeos so maybe they just sort of kept the order because in most rodeo grand entries the barrell racers and the kids come in last. ?????
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:26 PM   #10
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Smile

Like a lot of people, I also don't go back far enough to know powwows without GE. But I asked my parents about it. Here in central and southern Alberta, they also didn't have GE, they called the dancers and started to sing and dance. I've been told that the GE came from the rodeo way of doing things. I guess rodeos had GE's first and eventually became a part of powwows. But I plan on asking around some more to find out exactly when GE came about around here....cool topic.
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Old 03-30-2005, 05:41 PM   #11
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It's all for show, isn't that sad...
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Old 03-31-2005, 08:20 AM   #12
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Why is it sad?

I would be curious to see how many people would get bend out of shape if the order of grand entry was changed to better reflect the values held by most tribal people.
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:30 AM   #13
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I understand where you guys are coming from regarding the order....but i think if we really think about the order we do things, the warriors...those who put themselves on the line are the ones who have always gone first. Where i come from the men have always gone first in ceremony, sweat, even at feeds, etc.

I dont think the order should change
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:37 AM   #14
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At the majority of Mega big, contest powwows, the normal order of the grand entry goes something like this:

1. Eagle Staffs
2. Flags (and veterans)
3. Chiefs and/or dignitaries
4. Head Dancers
5. Princesses
6. Golden Age Categories
7. Adult Categories
8. Teen Categories
9. Jr. Categories
10.Tiny Tots
11. Late, half-dressed, stragglers who try and get their numbers taken anyway! *L

What would you suggest to improve this Grand Entry order?
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Last edited by WhoMe; 03-31-2005 at 11:14 AM..
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Old 03-31-2005, 12:49 PM   #15
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Cool Grand Order?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
At the majority of Mega big, contest powwows, the normal order of the grand entry goes something like this:

1. Eagle Staffs
2. Flags (and veterans)
3. Chiefs and/or dignitaries
4. Head Dancers
5. Princesses
6. Golden Age Categories
7. Adult Categories
8. Teen Categories
9. Jr. Categories
10.Tiny Tots
11. Late, half-dressed, stragglers who try and get their numbers taken anyway! *L

What would you suggest to improve this Grand Entry order?
To really think about it, most dancers are just there for points to be taken, they are either half dressed or simply a number hastely pinned on to a breach cloth. The they don't dance either, they just walk in and hardly dance. That's when I think the grand entries are just for points.
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Old 03-31-2005, 01:43 PM   #16
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I, for one, don't have a problem with the men coming in first because I was raised to respect the fact that the arena was for men originally, women and children came into the arena later in the mid 1900's. The arena has always been for men because of how they fought and died for the people.
So, I still respect that fact. I think the men and the veterans(which now include women) should come in first because they are the ones who paved the way for the rest of the tribe to maintain the right to dance and sing.
Plus, on the contest side...it gives me more time to get ready. LOL Just kidding.
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Old 03-31-2005, 11:12 PM   #17
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what I have seen + some facts

Boozhoo niji,

OK I am only 33, and I have only been dancing for around 8 years so I am not old enough to know anything about the origins of grand entry and I am not even going to pretend to know anything about it, but... I have seen a lot in that time.

Down here in Florida, the process goes, Grand Entry, prayer, Flag song, Memorial song, Veterans song, then a set of round dances kicks in before the dancers can leave the circle. (I hate round dancing)

Up north in White Earth, there is the Grand Entry and a prayer, then it goes directly into intertribals.

From what I have seen, down here, it serves two purposes, in the case of a contest, it adds points. In any case, the MC is usually announcing who or what is comming in next, and if the white people are listening, then they become educated so they dont have to go around asking what kind of dancer everyone is later.

Finally, if they want to do grand entries I have no problem with that. I dont bust a gut to try to make it on time to the grand entry anymore. The reason being is cause down here in florida, (which isa bad example of pow wows) average number of dancers is around 50, the grand entry song ususally lasts 5-10 minutes. I fancy dance, which as far as exercise is concerned, is the same as running or jogging. An average man can run a mile in less than five minutes, so you might as well say that in that 10 minute song I have run at least two miles.

Ok after that we have to stand in place for 10 minutes while someone says a prayer, then another 5 minutes for a flag song and yet another 5 minutes for a memorial song? Sorry, after running 2 miles I feel like sitting down. And then they want us to do that side step round dance, argh!

Up north things are simpler. I have seen 500 dancers, and the grand entry last 30 minutes, ok so thats a mini boston marathon from my perspective. But after that is done, they say a short prayer, maybe 2 minutes tops, and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and do whatever they want. Best part is... Whats a round dance? :)

Derek
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Old 04-01-2005, 02:51 AM   #18
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Hi
My experience with grand entries male dancers come chugging out and woman and children at the end. the vets dance next. the prayer, intertribals next.
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Old 04-02-2005, 04:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tallman
I don't go back far enough to remember when there were no grand entries..
:)
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Old 04-04-2005, 01:22 PM   #20
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Oljato
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It's nice to see the Gourd Dancers come in at the GE. And I pretty sure they're not doing it for points but for representation. I've seen alot of people go through GE or have been invited to "lead" the dancers in and have kind of a privilaged or yet an honoured expression and attitude throughout the powwow. With Gourd we simply start singing and start the dancing, after the first few songs of course, no special GE's, or at least I haven't witnessed one yet.
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