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Old 12-25-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
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Old School womens costumes vs New Order style

I took a number of years away from the powwow circuit while building my life and career in the white world and upon return I have noticed to some discomfort the many changes in the dress of my tribe. For women gone are the traditional old school shawls (with intricately woven fringes and heavier fabric) and the simpler yet beautiful cloth dresses replaced by the shiny almost disco like fabric that is so thin it is almost see through. The 'beaded collar' some wear now also were not part of Lakota womens wear from years past.

The reason I am asking is my niece is now seriously interested in jingle dancing and is rather talented at it, following other older women family members in both their brand of dancing talent and in their talent to assemble beautiful and traditional outfits.

Since my niece is of a young age now and my mother is in her 70s and is comfortable with the old school looks there is some conflict on what is appropriate for her to represent our family vs what is being worn by others in her age and dance grouping. I would like to work with her to assemble a new outfit but my mom is dictating what was traditional in her view and my niece wants to fit in not only with her peers and look as they do. Since she is seeking to enter contest dancing this year, I would like to help her to have her outfit ready by this summer, so decisions need to be made soon so as to be ready for this years round.

So my ? is, is it acceptable to mix both styles and still be qualified for contests while at the same time representing what my mom would like to see, She is onboard with jingle dress, which was NOT a part of womens wear when I was involved in the 80s early 90s. I really do not like the way all that synthetic shiny material looks and love the look of a nicely done and fringed shawl and traditional beadwork.

WHEN did this all change and how did we get to change to a outlook of 'whatever you feel like wearing mentality? Are costumes judged in contests as well as I would hate to see her deemed ineligible while her dancing talent is mighty impressive if judged solely on that criteria.,

Yet another change in tribal tradition that just does not seem right.....

Opinions from those who realize the difference made in the last 15 - 20 years and how do you feel about what is right and what is considered wrong.
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Old 12-25-2012, 03:39 AM   #2
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The only advice I have is to research some jingle dance contest winners and see what they were wearing when they won. Good luck-my money is on Grandma. :)
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elo Janis View Post
I took a number of years away from the powwow circuit while building my life and career in the white world and upon return I have noticed to some discomfort the many changes in the dress of my tribe. For women gone are the traditional old school shawls (with intricately woven fringes and heavier fabric) and the simpler yet beautiful cloth dresses replaced by the shiny almost disco like fabric that is so thin it is almost see through. The 'beaded collar' some wear now also were not part of Lakota womens wear from years past.

The reason I am asking is my niece is now seriously interested in jingle dancing and is rather talented at it, following other older women family members in both their brand of dancing talent and in their talent to assemble beautiful and traditional outfits.

Since my niece is of a young age now and my mother is in her 70s and is comfortable with the old school looks there is some conflict on what is appropriate for her to represent our family vs what is being worn by others in her age and dance grouping. I would like to work with her to assemble a new outfit but my mom is dictating what was traditional in her view and my niece wants to fit in not only with her peers and look as they do. Since she is seeking to enter contest dancing this year, I would like to help her to have her outfit ready by this summer, so decisions need to be made soon so as to be ready for this years round.

So my ? is, is it acceptable to mix both styles and still be qualified for contests while at the same time representing what my mom would like to see, She is onboard with jingle dress, which was NOT a part of womens wear when I was involved in the 80s early 90s. I really do not like the way all that synthetic shiny material looks and love the look of a nicely done and fringed shawl and traditional beadwork.

WHEN did this all change and how did we get to change to a outlook of 'whatever you feel like wearing mentality? Are costumes judged in contests as well as I would hate to see her deemed ineligible while her dancing talent is mighty impressive if judged solely on that criteria.,

Yet another change in tribal tradition that just does not seem right.....

Opinions from those who realize the difference made in the last 15 - 20 years and how do you feel about what is right and what is considered wrong.
Not black and white like that. This is an important question to ask and a fantastic forum to talk about it. I agree with Gramma. There is so much more to designs that just being traditional. They carry a lot of meaning as to where a person is from, and sometimes tell a story even. So, if there is no real definition of a design or where it might have come from, does that mean that the dress has just become for show?? Jingle dresses have especially become very elaborate. More than I could ever imagine. Yes, they are beautiful and can catch the judges eye. But, is it gawdy and position itself above the Creator's way? Undefinable and not related to any tribe really?

On the other hand, one could say that as Inidan women, we have always been very innovative and creative with new materials. I heard an Osage woman once say that the sewing machine has become the new tool that we use to share the expressive arts and culture. What scares me is that many people today, when you ask them what their colors are and who gave them to them, they can't answer. Or will say that neon colors are the traditional colors. Yikes!!!


If nothing else, its best to do some research on the now. She will always fit in but there will always be others who have the latest and the coolest thing out there. You will find that the outfits just keep getting more and more elaborate as time goes on. Not only that, when a person is dancing contest, they might find a need to have a lot of different dresses to choose from and not be seen in the same dress for very long.

That thin lame' fabric is tough to sew with and it doesn't last long either. Stick with a good quality satin and make sure your threads are decent too. Under dresses can be more comfortable using cotton. Be careful when it is washed too. Lay it in a bathtub with woolite and let it soak, then hang dry. Dry off the cones right away.

Shouldn't we be promoting traditional designs in the dance circle vs. the latest fad?? I'm feeling like even though dancing is still going on, culture is being lost to these new fancy fabrics with undefinable designs.

What story will she tell about the family with what she is wearing??

Good day to you and family!!

Happy sewing!!!

Last edited by goodrunner; 12-30-2012 at 03:26 PM.. Reason: Needed to add something to finish it.
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