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Old 08-17-2004, 12:04 PM   #1
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Powwow dancing for Non-Indians

Many dancers have put on their powwow outfits and danced for the enjoyment of Non-Indian audiences.

This has taken place by dance troupes taking groups of dancers on the road and performing in auditoriums and festivals, family members performing at schools or Indians dancing side-by-side with Non-Indian dancers at Non-Indian sponsored powwows.

Some do it in the name of education, sharing, performing arts, cultural exchange, promoting goodwill etc., etc. Others do it to make a living. Still others do it to make a fast buck.

Some will not dance for Non-Indians. Period.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:08 PM   #2
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If you dance at a powwow, you're bound to be dancing for non-Indians.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D
If you dance at a powwow, you're bound to be dancing for non-Indians.
___

Yes and no. . .



Yes the (Non-Indians) are there.

No, that's not why powwow people dance. If a powwow didn't have a single Non-Indian, they would still dance.

Dancing in Tribal and Inter-tribal powwows are different. You are powwow dancing in the context where powwow dancing is supposed to take place whether-or-not there are Non-Indian people paying admission to watch you dance.

_

Point of clarification: Non-Indian = Asian, African, Latino, Australian, White-American etc.,etc.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:29 PM   #4
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The original message said.., "Some will not dance for non-Indians. Period."

If that's true, they must not dance much. There are always non-Indians in the crowd. Even husbands and wives.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:31 PM   #5
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Are you saying that some Indians refuse to dance if non-Indians are allowed to dance also? Maybe I am mis-interpreting what you said.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D
Maybe I am mis-interpreting what you said.
Yes you are. :Chatter
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:43 PM   #7
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Red face

Most of us dance for the love of dancing and making extra money doing it is a bonus. I've only "performed" a few times and it was wierd and I felt out of place. But I was asked by others to join their groups and help them out so I did.
I would rather dance at powwows amongst my people because it's pure, I know that there will always be a few non natives around but so what, if they don't bother me or others, I don't have a problem with them.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakeeya
Yes you are. :Chatter
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Thanks Kaykeeya.


DonD:

Yes, you are misinterpreting my quote.

Yes, Non-Indians are at powwows. But that is not the reason why most powwow people dance. Kaykeeya's interpretation of why she dances is how a lot of us feel.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:05 PM   #9
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Not only do I love to dance. I love my reasons why I love to dance. I also dance for my family and friends who cannot get out there but yet ache to be a part of the joy and happiness in the dance area. I dance for my Dad who is near blind as he once was a traditional dancer, old style, for my sister who had surgery, dance to give thanks for just everything in general. I don't dance FOR white people, if they are in the crowd, so be it.

As for dance troupes, I do like to believe the "mission" behind the troupe is to create an awareness to the non-indian people of just who we are and what we are all about. It is astounding that there are actually non indian people who have no idea! (still think we live in teepees). Dang! We have a small dance troupe here. These ndn people go into the schools and perform for the teachers and children with an MC speaking about the different dances, etc. etc. We also have story tellers who sit with the children and tell stories and some legends. I am all for easing the path so to speak for our people, creating an awareness and a form of sensitivity towards Native people.
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:18 PM   #10
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I have done performances in dance groups as well as just dancing at pow wows. I have also done native storytelling for native and non native groups. I don't have a problem dancing for either group. Regardless of how one feels about dancing in front of non natives....you're going to at a pow wow. I see no harm in sharing part of our culture to others. I feel it teaches tolerance and acceptance. And it also gives others who are native (ie. school kids who we performed for) a feeling of pride and importance at a young age.
I don't think I could just allow a non native into the spiritual side of my life as far as ceremonies and the sort.......but I don't have a problem with a Pow wow. Now some may feel their pow wow is their culture or "ceremony" for them, and that tells me they have more to learn about their own tribe. As in an earlier thread.....going to pow wows does not make one native. *L*I feel it's an expression of our culture that we've opened up to others to show our fun as well as serious side. Why would you not want to perform for non natives as far as dancing goes??

I feel that if we are going to try to tell people not to judge us by our color....why should we judge them for theirs?
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Old 08-17-2004, 01:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ojibwaysweetie
As for dance troupes, I do like to believe the "mission" behind the troupe is to create an awareness to the non-indian people of just who we are and what we are all about. It is astounding that there are actually non indian people who have no idea! (still think we live in teepees). Dang! We have a small dance troupe here. These ndn people go into the schools and perform for the teachers and children with an MC speaking about the different dances, etc. etc. We also have story tellers who sit with the children and tell stories and some legends. I am all for easing the path so to speak for our people, creating an awareness and a form of sensitivity towards Native people.
When I still went to the Tribal school I was in the dance troupe and that was our "mission" To help dispell stereotypes like you said, ojibwaysweetie, to bring an awareness to the non-natives. The leaders of our group would also explain that we don't wear our regalia all the time, we have normal clothes too.

We also made money that went back to the cultural program, which in turn paid for regalia for more of the tribal students. They also started a youth drum. So we have seen a lot of positive stuff from the dance presentations.

And oh yeah, when your dancing for non-natives and you mess up....no one will know that you weren't supposed to do that ;)
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Old 08-17-2004, 08:19 PM   #12
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I have no probs with those other folks watching me. I ain't dancin' for them though.

This may sound cliche to some of you but.......... I dance for the people. Really. I don't walk in circles "for the people". I dance.

As for dance troupes and other performances, it's good to create awareness of our culture. I do it in schools where there's Indian kids. It makes them feel good too.
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:28 PM   #13
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In my opinion there is nothing wrong with performing outside of the pw arena/for non indians...
My sister and the local youth travel with a group and other youth groups, they perform like mini pw's and take pride in being able to help others understand what a public pw is all about.
Like everyone said earlier...they aren't dancing FOR the non natives, they are dancing and sharing what they have learned- because its what they love and have been given the opportunity to do.
I dont think performing should be based on what race the audience is.
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Old 08-17-2004, 11:52 PM   #14
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I have no problem dancing for white people. Me and my brother used to work at this place called rawhide. There were tourists from everywhere in this world that watched us. Some actually thought that we didn't exist anymore. They tripped out when they seen us. Its nice to know you can change the way some people think about us. I had the most fun @ that job. We were the first ones there to clock in and the last ones to leave.
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Old 08-18-2004, 04:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakeeya
Most of us dance for the love of dancing and making extra money doing it is a bonus. I've only "performed" a few times and it was wierd and I felt out of place. But I was asked by others to join their groups and help them out so I did.
I would rather dance at powwows amongst my people because it's pure, I know that there will always be a few non natives around but so what, if they don't bother me or others, I don't have a problem with them.
Well said Kakeeya!
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:23 PM   #16
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Okay,

So far, the people that have posted don't seem to mind powwow dancing for Non-Indians at powwows and in shows.

Nothing wrong with that. I include myself in this group.

Now. . .

It seems almost anybody can get a group of dancers and do performances at a school, library or community sponsored event. I think this is good.

But,

If they are educating people (especially Non-Indians) who's to say if the person giving the information is giving information that is fact . . . or made up.

The reason I am saying this is: I have seen dance groups going around telling their audiences the shawl dance came from a "Legend of a Cacoon" where a butterfly emerged into a shawl dancer, that each jingle dress has 365 cones - one for each day of the year, each move of the mens traditional dancers is symbollic of searching for the enemy, the grass dance represents waving grass etc., etc.

All of which are incorrect (but make it a good story).

Is this educating Non-Indians or is it exploiting other tribe's dances? (even the fancy shawl is attributed to a tribe).



Comments?
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
Okay,

So far, the people that have posted don't seem to mind powwow dancing for Non-Indians at powwows and in shows.

Nothing wrong with that. I include myself in this group.

Now. . .

It seems almost anybody can get a group of dancers and do performances at a school, library or community sponsored event. I think this is good.

But,

If they are educating people (especially Non-Indians) who's to say if the person giving the information is giving information that is fact . . . or made up.

The reason I am saying this is: I have seen dance groups going around telling their audiences the shawl dance came from a "Legend of a Cacoon" where a butterfly emerged into a shawl dancer, that each jingle dress has 365 cones - one for each day of the year, each move of the mens traditional dancers is symbollic of searching for the enemy, the grass dance represents waving grass etc., etc.

All of which are incorrect (but make it a good story).

Is this educating Non-Indians or is it exploiting other tribe's dances? (even the fancy shawl is attributed to a tribe).



Comments?
Good points, but I have heard each of those comments from MCs at pow wows too. Misinformation is misinformation and the arena in which it is presented doesn't matter. As long as it is tolerated to be put out there at pow wows it will exist. I agree that shows for "educational" purposes are good. It only becomes a problem when the performers add stuff here and there to make it more entertaining; thus defeating the very purpose in the beginning.
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:36 PM   #18
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
.. "Legend of a Cacoon" where a butterfly emerged into a shawl dancer
We have a social dance called the Butterfly dance where a widow is in mourning so she shows her grief by covering her face with a shawl/blanket. But when she is done mourning, she emerges similar to a butterfly and is happy and dances with joy. The story isn't about shawl dancing but I wonder if you are referring to one of our dances/stories?
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:53 PM   #19
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So, Who Me, you are familiar with all of the powwow traditions and histories of all the the 500+ nations which come together at powwows and you're gonna say that those who are telling the stories know less than you do. I have heard those stories for many years from various elders of various tribes. It is nice to know there is an expert among us who can tell us that our elders are wrong or just plain lying to us.
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Old 08-18-2004, 04:25 PM   #20
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Kiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond reputeKiwehnzii has a reputation beyond repute
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Whome is very knowledgable.

Don't take it so harshly, Donna. He's referring to a lot of misinformation that is passed on. There are true origins, y'know.
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