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Old 05-25-2004, 02:16 PM   #1
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Tourism vs. Powwows.

Many state tourism bureaus are wanting to include Indian powwows in their calendar of events. This would mean non Indian tourists are officially welcomed to attend the listed powwows.

Sometimes this is a win-win situation for the larger "mega powwows." These mega powwows actually encourage non Indians tourism as a way of gaining revenue to pay expenses.

But there is another side to tourism at powwows. . .

It is my firm belief that "Indian powwows are for the enjoyment of it's participants - not tourism." The majority of Indian powwows have predominately all Indian participation. Most are small to medium in size and are community or tribally based. They work on a shoestring budget and have fundraising activities as part of the program.

Let's say that Indian powwows do open themselves to non Indian tourism. What implications would go along with this?
I can see where a new set of standards would have to be addressed.

Among these new standards would be: Handicap accessability, health code restrictions, Insurance, taxes on goods and services to non Indians, permanent seating arrangements for non Indians close to the arena, close access parking for tour busses, and various other hospitality accommodations.

These new standards for tourism accommodation would ultimately change traditional powwows as we know them

What is your take on this?
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Old 05-25-2004, 03:27 PM   #2
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Hmmmm Good Point....

I'm a Cultural Educator and I always see the plus in people getting "Edjamacated" Although there is a time and place for this....Not necessarily at a Powwow.....As you have stated Powwows vary and yes some Dances do not depend on the "outside" influence to make the proverbial "boat float". I can see people attending a Powwow for a number of different reasons, ayyy. Tourists and people who are not very familiar with particulars can possibly not "fit in" or even be seen as intrusive in some communities.....Granted you probably don't want 4 bus loads of folks showing up at the creek with cameras just a blazing and people poking and prodding.....Normally the Dances based in our communities are just that.... for our community.....Now that's not to say some skins don't want the 4 bus loads to pop up, it varies....
From what i've seen State Tourism Boards will place a Powwow on it's Calander if that particular Tribe or organization requests it. So I guess that's were it makes the difference?

Now if I can I would like to throw my usual curveball here.....It really urks me from time to time when folks comment on this board as well as wherever..... that powwows are not Tradish, or Cultural or on and on......Well I think it's a crock.....Yes we all have our own doings at home and I can certainly respect that, but for the short 20 some odd years I've been singing I can say without hesitation Powwow is indeed a way of Life.....

Good Thread Who Me....It's folks like you who make this place interesting!

Sgi
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Old 05-25-2004, 04:01 PM   #3
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Cool Whites/non Indians

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyot_In_The_House
I'm a Cultural Educator and I always see the plus in people getting "Edjamacated" Although there is a time and place for this....Not necessarily at a Powwow.....As you have stated Powwows vary and yes some Dances do not depend on the "outside" influence to make the proverbial "boat float". I can see people attending a Powwow for a number of different reasons, ayyy. Tourists and people who are not very familiar with particulars can possibly not "fit in" or even be seen as intrusive in some communities.....Granted you probably don't want 4 bus loads of folks showing up at the creek with cameras just a blazing and people poking and prodding.....Normally the Dances based in our communities are just that.... for our community.....Now that's not to say some skins don't want the 4 bus loads to pop up, it varies....
From what i've seen State Tourism Boards will place a Powwow on it's Calander if that particular Tribe or organization requests it. So I guess that's were it makes the difference?

Now if I can I would like to throw my usual curveball here.....It really urks me from time to time when folks comment on this board as well as wherever..... that powwows are not Tradish, or Cultural or on and on......Well I think it's a crock.....Yes we all have our own doings at home and I can certainly respect that, but for the short 20 some odd years I've been singing I can say without hesitation Powwow is indeed a way of Life.....

Good Thread Who Me....It's folks like you who make this place interesting!

Sgi
FIRST YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IF IT WERN'T FOR THE TOURIST,POWWOWS WOULD NOT OR COULD NOT BE WHAT THEY ARE TODAY.THAT IS JUST A SIMPLE FACT AND WAY OF LIFE.UNDERSTAND FIRST THAT WE WOULD NOT EVEN HAVE FANCY FEATHER DANCERS IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE TRAVELING WILD WEST SHOWS.IF IT WERN'T FOR THE HOBBIEST AND BOY SCOUTS POWWOWS WOULD STILL BE HELD IN INDIAN COUNTRY OR REZ'S OR RESERVES.AND NOW WITH THE GREAT EXPENCE TO TRAVEL TO POWWOWS ACROSS THE NATION,WE NEED THE TOURIST TO PAY GATE FEES AND BUY FROM TRADERS SO THEY CAN PAY BOOTH FEES OR FOOD VENDORS THAT FEED EVERYBODY THAT GAS COST ALOT OF $ TO TRAVEL.ASK AROUND ,PUTTING A DANCE TOGETHER TAKES MORE THEN A COUPLE PEOPLE WILLING TO DONATE TIME.IF YOU ARE GOING TO HASKELL THEN YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND BETTER.
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Old 05-25-2004, 04:27 PM   #4
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Perfect case as far as Ejamacating people...PERFECT!

1st off....More then likey you intended to "Quote" Who Me, but you Quoted me.....And even had the Audacity....To say

"If I was going to Haskell I should understand"

Gado? What are you saying?

Did you actually read Who Me's post? Clearly he mentioned in sentence 3.......Obviously what flew right over your head? It's also obvious where you Powwow.....Or at least it seems that way.....Although I shouldn't "assume" anything right....?

It dumbfounds me to sit and read some of the things people post here....After something has been initially sprayed across the proverbial wall????

Yes i'll still say it's people like Who Me who make this place interesting and it's folks like "billytwoponies" who need to not JUST LOOK BUT ACTUALLY SEE.............See Oginali SEE!
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Old 05-25-2004, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billytwoponies
FIRST YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IF IT WERN'T FOR THE TOURIST,POWWOWS WOULD NOT OR COULD NOT BE WHAT THEY ARE TODAY. . . . . .UNDERSTAND FIRST THAT WE WOULD NOT EVEN HAVE FANCY FEATHER DANCERS IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE TRAVELING WILD WEST SHOWS. . . . . .IF YOU ARE GOING TO HASKELL THEN YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND BETTER.
___

billy:

You have brought out some interesting points.

If powwows never had contact with tourists: I don't think it would have been a bad thing. I think more traditional tribal
dances would have survived that were closer to their original intent.

Fancy feather dancing originated before the wild west shows. "Competition between early fancy dancers" was born at wild west shows. Not all fancy dancers danced at the wild west shows.

AS for Haskell, I am not going there (as in school right now) . . . The reason I'm a Haskell Rascal is . . .




"I was made there!!!"


ROFLMAO!!!!!
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P.S. on BS

I really don't think powwows had a thing to do with the Boy Scouts unless you were involved in that organization.
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:44 PM   #6
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I notice you keep it Diplomatic.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
___

billy:

You have brought out some interesting points.

If powwows never had contact with tourists: I don't think it would have been a bad thing. I think more traditional tribal
dances would have survived that were closer to their original intent.

Fancy feather dancing originated before the wild west shows. "Competition between early fancy dancers" was born at wild west shows. Not all fancy dancers danced at the wild west shows.

AS for Haskell, I am not going there (as in school right now) . . . The reason I'm a Haskell Rascal is . . .




"I was made there!!!"


ROFLMAO!!!!!
_____


P.S. on BS

I really don't think powwows had a thing to do with the Boy Scouts unless you were involved in that organization.
However I notice the humor....

The Haskell line was goot! I'll tell ya never a dull moment.....

Oh! Hey billy keep your pony out of my garden.....
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:58 PM   #7
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Oh my gosh, my son was made there too. I didn't know there was a name for him; that's funny! Seriously though, everybody has some good points on this thread. I'm involved with a committee that is putting on a 4th of July powwow here. This is the 3rd annual powwow to date; and we are now non-profit status, so the committee could receive help (money-wise) from the local chamber of commerce and other groups; this also means federal taxes must be paid, etc. etc. Now, this allows the powwow to continue whether or not it's founder is available to put it on. There is now a whole group of people to organize it; who are dedicated and trusted to follow through on the responsibilities they take on. Anyhow; yes the powwow is open to all, but everything is organized so people are advised not to disrespect our gathering. When they are admitted they are handed a leaflet/program that details what goes on during the powwow and what is or is not appropriate in this setting. I grew up in an area with many smaller powwows; alot of the time they go belly up, due to lack of people, lack of funding, or greedy people who have pocketed any or all funds. Personally; I would go to just about any powwow, because I love to dance.
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Old 05-25-2004, 06:45 PM   #8
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I was thinking about this topic awhile back. As a dancer and/or spectator, pow-wows for me are this social gathering where I can meet w/my relatives and friends that I dont get to see since I live away from them.

Its cool going to the pow-wows where there's a large audience consisting of mostly natives. When I'm attending as a non-dancer I still feel like part of the pow-wow.

But when I attend a pow-wow (as a dancer) and the audience consists mainly of non-natives, I feel like a piece of living artwork or something not real... something on display. And as a spectator, there seems to be this line of separation for the dancers and audience that doesn't seem very welcoming.... or maybe thats just me? lol

If you think about it dont you think it contributes to the stereotype of natives -- where real natives only wear feathers and braids? Especially since this would be some tourists only exposure to natives. So are we really educating non-native tourists by their attendance of a pow-wow as one of their many stops on their vacation?
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Old 05-25-2004, 06:45 PM   #9
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I actually wanted to work for our state tourism agency in order to promote our state's powwows as well as tribal enterprises.

As I have since learned, whenever an event is opened to the general public, what originally was "grass roots" is suddenly changed to something it wasn't intended to be.

One thing that the Mega powwows need to consider is "a powwow education briefing for tourists or others attending for the first time." In this briefing, what is expected of them and some information on how to appreciate the powwow would be a win-win situation for everyone.

There are too many people who go to powwows who don't know what is going on or how to appreciate the dances and songs. Most announcers are beyond the first time visitor phase and fail to recognize not everyone is on the same page.

What do you think?
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Old 05-25-2004, 07:43 PM   #10
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Good thread everyone.. :) Super It is not just you..LOL WhoMe do you think people will take the time for a powwow briefing? It is a wonderful thought but I think that folks wont take the time to do this.. :)
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Old 05-26-2004, 04:05 AM   #11
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Well, I know I have taken friends to their first ever powwow before, and I usually do not dance because I end up spending the entire time they are there explaining that straight song have no words in them and what a vocable is and what this person is wearing and why they are dancing this way for one song and a different way for another. By half way through the dance session I look around and every seat around me is full abd folks I don't even know are by that time asking questions too!

The simple fact is most non natives have absolutely no clue what to expect at a powwow because most wouldn't know who is an NDN even if they kicked them in the shin and though they may think everything is pretty and just too keen, they often offend people because of their lack of knowledge. Often the offended party is none to kind letting them know they did wrong as well...so how many tourist would leave with a bad taste in their mouth about all natives based on the actions of just one?

But when I attend a pow-wow (as a dancer) and the audience consists mainly of non-natives, I feel like a piece of living artwork or something not real... something on display. And as a spectator, there seems to be this line of separation for the dancers and audience that doesn't seem very welcoming.... or maybe thats just me? lol

As NDNKIDZ said...no it is not just you super. Though my question would be...Why is it this way? Is it the participants don't want to have to deal with them? Are the spectators afraid to try and talk to the dancers? I know it can be frustrating having to stand and answer questions for someone you do not know, like you have nothing better to do, but if folks actually did that then maybe that invisible wall would crumble. But then too when you gotta hit the 'O' there is no time to answer questions!

Other things that might affect a tourist encouraging powwow would be, liability issues and insurance for the before mentioned possibilities.
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My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:37 AM   #12
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Always that shade of gray in between usually not yes or no.....

Tourists @ a Powwow will vary....It boils down to that individual....So what i'm saying is.....Some folks will walk away from a Powwow with pretty good intel and some will walk away just as ignorant (if not more so) as they were before.....Kinda hit or miss? I've had some decent down to earth conversations with a wide variety of people at powwows. Oh and i've had a few....."just what the hell was that about" fiascos as well....Anyway I hear where Super is coming from.....Although as a kid I used to get a kick out of cruising around the grounds @ some places and "visit" with folks....The kicker was someone asking if they could take a picture of you.....My reply was; "buy me a frybread?"...smile.....Shoot bread was at best 50 cents or a buck then.....Some of the liberties people take at a powwow are interesting to say the least...But what gets me is the stance some of the Powwow "organizers" take.....The whole NO PICTURES dilemma.....The Holy holy stance? Oh and what's up with the rope around the arena? Yeah i've been to a few of those.....So all in all it varies......Personally I prefer a Wacipi (Dance) nestled away from it all somewhere in the sticks.....Nice camp, cho arbor, and skins everywhere,bugs, dust (naw zee dust!) kicking it till 3 or 4 in the morning.....

Geez I really stuck to the topic...? errrr!
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Old 05-27-2004, 03:26 PM   #13
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At most powwows there is a stray tourist or non Indian visitor who has been invited by participants at the powwow. This is common and tolerable.

However, what if a whole lot of tourists came to a powwow to "see the Indians."

Not knowing they would invade personal space and more than likely cross the line with many Indian people.

I have been at many powwows where there have been many misunderstandings between powwow people and tourists.

Anybody have some horror stories?
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Old 05-27-2004, 03:41 PM   #14
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The bigger a powwow gets, the more expensive it is to run it. The more committees depend on outside groups such as sponsoring corps and organizations, they then in turn lose control over their powwow. Yet I do see the catch 22 in it all. As a dancer, on one hand, I love big mega powwows because they're just plain exciting. On the other, I have to bring lots of patience with me because I know to expect a looky-loo with a camera sitting under my shade when I arrive.
As a powwow committee member I like the idea of sponsors helping to foot the bill of running the powwow, but then I still have to understand that this may also mean deferring some power to those sponssors as well.
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Old 05-27-2004, 03:46 PM   #15
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we went to a powwow in Leroy Illinois. These two girls came out in the arena and decided to have some fun... There they were right between White fish Bay and Zotigh kicken thier legs real high with skirts on and jumping up and down swinging each other around and just thinking they were the stuff...when they did this in front of a elder woman, she promptly grabbed both girls by the arms, took them off to the side and told them a few things, they left immedialtely, it was a nice thing to see.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:26 PM   #16
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i am a non native and i was wanting to attend a Pow Wow being held here in nearby Livingston, Texas (http://www.alabama-coushatta.com). i stumbled across the invitation and thought it would be a great opportunity for me to broaden my cutural disversity and see what it is like to attend.

many would prolly classify me as a "tourist" but i see it as a educational opportunity for me. my great grandmother was 100% native american and i was too young to question her about her exact heritage before she passed.

this is the part that i am getting to, i am an avid amateur photographer and would love to photograph the dancers and the event but i do not want to have the people i photograph feel as if they are a piece of "living artwork" as powwowbum49 stated earlier. that is not my intention and if for some reason i felt that i came across that way to a dancer, i would stop photographing immediately because disrespect is not my goal.

my question to you members is what would you appreciate someone in my position do or say to not come across as a "toursit" even though i am one to a certain extent. My utmost goal is to learn the ways of another culture and capture the essescence of the event on film so that others can get a glimpse into what a true Pow Wow is.

any information is greatly appreciated.
thanks
Abel
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Old 11-16-2004, 02:26 AM   #17
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osiyo

Well, I'm not going to sit here and pretend I read every word of every post in this topic, I didn't. BUT, I did read enough to want to share this with everybody. I am of Indian decent, I'm not FBI, but I am almost 1/2. I was adopted at birth to a white woman, and a man w/ some cherokee blood (he spoke cherokee fluently). I wasn't raised in the Indian culture, but always have been drawn to the indian ways, and objects. My dad used to say, you could "feel" the blood. Anyway, I was introduced to pow wows and dancing in college. I have attended a few pow wows, and even danced in a couple. I tried very hard to be respectful, and blend in as best I could. My point is this, just because I wasn't raised in a family that lives on a res, or attended pow wows on a regular basis, does this mean I have no right to want to experience my lost-to-me-culture? Am I considered a "tourist" because I am ignorant of the traditional ways, and looked own upon? Or could I possibly be greeted as a member of the "family" and taught as a child, the ways of the earth. How much blood do you have to have to be considered indian?
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Old 11-16-2004, 09:26 PM   #18
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I happen to be on the powwow commitee in Livingston, TX (so I appreciate Abel's post) and our goal is to not only promote the powwow to Native spectators, dancers, and singers, but also to educate non-native spectators and 'tourists'. You see, we've had this annual contest powwow for 36 years now and all the funding comes right out of the committe's own pockets, our time, and hard work (and a few donators, no big sponsors) so everyone plays a big part when it's time for the dancers to collect prize money. PLus- When you see an audience that's half native and half non-native you kinda appreciate your culture more cuz here are these people amazed and excited that they're seeing real culture and real history. Depending on what powwow you go to (traditional or contest), what part of the country you're at, and what the committee's intentions are it's all different. Alot of the northern powwows I've attended as a dancer or spect. there are alot of natives in the stands while here in the south east you can expect alot of non-natives watching and asking lots of questions.
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Old 11-16-2004, 09:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abel
ithis is the part that i am getting to, i am an avid amateur photographer and would love to photograph the dancers and the event but i do not want to have the people i photograph feel as if they are a piece of "living artwork" as powwowbum49 stated earlier. that is not my intention and if for some reason i felt that i came across that way to a dancer, i would stop photographing immediately because disrespect is not my goal.

my question to you members is what would you appreciate someone in my position do or say to not come across as a "toursit" even though i am one to a certain extent. My utmost goal is to learn the ways of another culture and capture the essescence of the event on film so that others can get a glimpse into what a true Pow Wow is.

any information is greatly appreciated.
thanks
Abel

Oh, and to answer your question, most people wanting pictures simply ask permission to photograph and most of the time you'll receive your pic! heck, I wouldn't mind being called 'living artwork' cuz of all the time & money spent on all the beadwork, clothwork, etc. And if you're doing photography for a magazine, newspaper, etc. please ask a powwow committee member for permission.
You can email me for more info on the 37th Annual Alabama-Coushatta Powwow held first weekend in June, 2005.
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:59 AM   #20
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I know this guy. He wasn't raised in the culture. He has some blood maybe 1/4, just enough to get a card. He was a vender but now has a store. He has a big mouth and is know around the powwow trail as a gossip and wannabe. His support group are all those that are like him, some blood, white, no culture.
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