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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Men's Dance Styles > Straight Dancing Northeastern Woodlands Straight??? Northeastern Woodlands Straight???

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Old 11-10-2007, 01:21 PM   #1
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Question Northeastern Woodlands Straight???

We have a Native gentleman in our group who is advising a young man on dance styles. The young man wants to dance in clothes that are representative of Northeastern Woodlands. He does not want to do Northern Traditional. So our Native friend has told him that he is dancing "Northeastern Woodlands Straight". I have never heard of this style. Can someone enlighten me?

Some of the specifics of his Dance Clothes are:
Fingerwoven sashes and garters
Ribbon Shirt
Porky Roach and speader
Elk hoof bells at the knees!!??
Goats
center seam mocs
Buckskin leggings
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maschapi View Post
We have a Native gentleman in our group who is advising a young man on dance styles. The young man wants to dance in clothes that are representative of Northeastern Woodlands. He does not want to do Northern Traditional. So our Native friend has told him that he is dancing "Northeastern Woodlands Straight". I have never heard of this style. Can someone enlighten me?

Some of the specifics of his Dance Clothes are:
Fingerwoven sashes and garters
Ribbon Shirt
Porky Roach and speader
Elk hoof bells at the knees!!??
Goats
center seam mocs
Buckskin leggings
I'm gonna preface what I'm about to say with the fact that all too often we find people who try to live in two totally separate worlds. And in doing so, we often find this mixture of "cultures" (for the lack of a better word) coming to pass.

In the essence of the modern day pow wow...this sounds like a woodland version of the Straight Dance with the addition of the "goats" and the absence of the trail. The thing about the garters...are they really fingerwoven or are they machine made? How/where are they worn? Hmmmmmm.

The dance that was done with this style of clothing/dress did not necessarily fit with the modern day pow wow and its origins. (Now, if you're from the North East, i.e. Conneticut, your interpretation on this will probably be different.) With the modern day pow wow elvoving from the old war/men's dances of the plains, you also have the style of dress that has evloved a bit. I believe you can reference a good conversation that touches on this as it surfaced in this thread talking about the ribbons you find on the back of the arm bands. Now, this is not to say that the Eastern Woodland people did not "war dance"...because "we" did. I think the biggest thing when it comes to the Eastern Woodland War Dance is that it is becoming more visual and very few people are sharing what they know of it.

My recommendation for you (and or your friend), just like anyone wanting to dance Southern straight or sing southern style music needing to visit Oklahoma, is the visit those areas he wants to dress like. Go speak with some of the elders of the Naraganset, Mohawk, Cayuga, etc. This will be his best source of the truth.

Notice I did not say that I was an expert on Woodland Dancing...I merely pointed out some obvious observations. Maybe someone with a more profound knowledge who can honestly say "Yeah, I know a little something!" can answer your questions. Do not be disappointed if you did not find your answers here on this board.

Remember, given a resource is also an answer to your questions.

LSS
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Old 11-10-2007, 07:28 PM   #3
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Thanks for your input. I will narrow the field for all a little bit more. Your message pointed to some things I left out of my original question.

We are from Eastern PA. The Native American friend is full blood Lenni Lenapi.

The garters and sashes are REAL Fingerwoven (I know the person who made them).

The garters are worn under the Elk Toe bells, just below his knees.
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:29 AM   #4
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everything sounds good to me but what are the goats for?
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Old 11-12-2007, 10:40 AM   #5
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everything sounds good to me but what are the goats for?
Milk and Cheese
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:40 PM   #6
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the woodland style

this is cool. at the hunting moon powwow in wisconsin they had a special woodland style tridish contest. as u all know i dance southern straight. i got in the special to try it out. at first i didnt know anything about the dance. basically its just like straight in the regalia, but more like chicken in the dance style. its a free style dance. i was informed about the dance thru people like Gerold Cleveland Sr., Charles Hindsley, and a few other woodland tribal members. dana warrington won that special and maybe it can be seen on powwows.com's videos. i do know the powwow was broadcasted live so check on here to see if the special was taped. who knows that style might make a come back. oh yes, you will deffinetly see the otter turban and roach combo in this category. lol, this is in refference to another post, lol.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:14 PM   #7
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Eastern Woodland "Straight"

Eastern Woodland "Straight" is far from new. It has been around for a very, very long time but not called "straight" until recently.

For many years those of us that dressed in long shirts, hunting shirts/frocks, fingerwoven sashes & garters, beaded bags, turban or turban wrap with small roach, neck knifes, center seamed mocss and leggings did not fit into any of the typical "powwow" categories when going to typical "powwows.” Many times we got thrown in the "straight" category or we became known as "straight" by default because we do not wear a feather bustle, etc.

The clothing varies because the Eastern Woodlands pretty much entails North East Canada to the tropics of Florida and as far west as the Mississippi Delta.

But in general the clothing includes:

Headdress - roach, turban, turban wrap with roach, fur wrap or fur wrap with roach or even silver headbands in the South.
Shirt - long shirt, ribbon shirt, hunting style shirt. And don't forget military coats too.
Leggings - usually center seamed in the South, can be both center seamed or side seamed in the North.
Moccs - center seamed or puckered, lined with trade cloth and decorated with quillwork and beadwork.
Sashes – worn on waist as belt and shoulder as powder horn sash. Always fingerwoven unless made of shellwork (i.e. wampum and other shell). Northeast was usually in patterns of arrows, chevrons, fire, and lighting and had both beadwork and non beadwork. Southeast sashes were usually in patterns of diamonds, chevrons and other lineal elements.
Breechcloth – were usually smaller than those of the West and several Great Lakes People even abandoned the Breech for the Apron.
Accoutrements – these range but could include – beaded bags, lots of trade silver (ear bobs, nose rings, armbands, etc,) anklets or knee bands of dew claws, deer toes, cone jingles and yes even hair (this could include later goat angora from the whites or trade from Western Tribes access to mountain goat hair), neck knifes, fans, rattles, ball clubs or gun stock clubs or small hawks, just to name a few.

This of course is general and varies from area to area and Nation to Nation and mostly dancer to dancer.
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Last edited by Tom Iron Eagle; 11-12-2007 at 06:16 PM.. Reason: Content
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Iron Eagle View Post
Eastern Woodland "Straight" is far from new. It has been around for a very, very long time but not called "straight" until recently.

For many years those of us that dressed in long shirts, hunting shirts/frocks, fingerwoven sashes & garters, beaded bags, turban or turban wrap with small roach, neck knifes, center seamed mocss and leggings did not fit into any of the typical "powwow" categories when going to typical "powwows. Many times we got thrown in the "straight" category or we became known as "straight" by default because we do not wear a feather bustle, etc.

The clothing varies because the Eastern Woodlands pretty much entails North East Canada to the tropics of Florida and as far west as the Mississippi Delta.

But in general the clothing includes:

Headdress - roach, turban, turban wrap with roach, fur wrap or fur wrap with roach or even silver headbands in the South.
Shirt - long shirt, ribbon shirt, hunting style shirt. And don't forget military coats too.
Leggings - usually center seamed in the South, can be both center seamed or side seamed in the North.
Moccs - center seamed or puckered, lined with trade cloth and decorated with quillwork and beadwork.
Sashes worn on waist as belt and shoulder as powder horn sash. Always fingerwoven unless made of shellwork (i.e. wampum and other shell). Northeast was usually in patterns of arrows, chevrons, fire, and lighting and had both beadwork and non beadwork. Southeast sashes were usually in patterns of diamonds, chevrons and other lineal elements.
Breechcloth were usually smaller than those of the West and several Great Lakes People even abandoned the Breech for the Apron.
Accoutrements these range but could include beaded bags, lots of trade silver (ear bobs, nose rings, armbands, etc,) anklets or knee bands of dew claws, deer toes, cone jingles and yes even hair (this could include later goat angora from the whites or trade from Western Tribes access to mountain goat hair), neck knifes, fans, rattles, ball clubs or gun stock clubs or small hawks, just to name a few.

This of course is general and varies from area to area and Nation to Nation and mostly dancer to dancer.

As always...great information Tom! But more importantly, great clarity on the subject matter as well.

LSS
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When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

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Old 11-15-2007, 08:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Maschapi View Post
We are from Eastern PA. The Native American friend is full blood Lenni Lenapi.
Masch,

I don't think there are any "full blood" Lenni Lenapi (Delaware) Indians. This tribe had contact with Europeans 200 years before most of the tribes in the Central part of this country did. That would mean your mentor's family never intermarried with other cultures?

Hmmmmm?


Are you needing this information so that you can participate in your dance team?
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:19 AM   #10
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I believe there are a few or some that very close that are full blood in Canada.

I agree about the Lenape around the Northeast U.S., tho. Not many, if any, full.

I know that many were relocated to Oklahoma where every tribe there has their unique culture. The Oklahoma Lenape have taken on the Southern style of dance & song. This is understandable.

Some people still in the north identify with the Okla. Lenape. There are groups of Lenape in Jersey who dance southern. I heard one drum from N.J. singing southern style.

So... I don't know which team this guy wants to dance with or anything about him. But.... he is on the right track of wanting to dress in what he considers his cultural roots.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Maschapi View Post
We have a Native gentleman in our group who is advising a young man on dance styles. The young man wants to dance in clothes that are representative of Northeastern Woodlands. He does not want to do Northern Traditional. So our Native friend has told him that he is dancing "Northeastern Woodlands Straight". I have never heard of this style. Can someone enlighten me?

Kiweh,

In reviewing the above, I think the young man who is wanting to learn is not Native.

Normally, It's none of my business when non Natives study Indian culture. But when they form "dance teams" and these non Natives perform for the public representing Indian people and Indian culture ...

"I have a problem."



Maschapi,


If I am wrong with my perceived intentions of this young man....


I formally apologize.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for this post. I have been thinking about dancing straight as well, even though I'm not from a Southern tribe. I now live in Florida, and it seems the style of dancing I learned fits more into that powwow category.

From http://spirit-bears-tipi.50megs.com/dances1.html
Quote:
Eastern Straight Dance is a contemporary version of an old style Eastern War Dance. The Eastern War Dance is one of the oldest dances still known in its original form. In times of war the Pequot warriors would gather together at the center of the village, or in winter they would gather in the longhouse. There, a fire would be burning and a pole in the center of the ring would represent the enemy. Sometimes the pole would be dressed in clothing to represent the enemy. The warriors would stand on the outside of the dance circle, and enter the circle with their feet stomping hard to the rhythm of the drum and rattle.
The warriors would create a story in their dance, that would imitate a battle with the enemy. At times, warriors strike the pole as though it were the enemy. This style of war dance was done to prepare the warriors for battle. If returning from battle victorious, the warriors would once again return to the dance circle and dance out the battle and their fates on the battle field.
Although this Eastern War Dance is not done publicly, it still remains with us. We still dance the same style of dance even though we don't use a pole in the center of our circle anymore. The last known time the Eastern War Dance was done in its original form was during the early European and Indian wars of the Northeast. During our festivals, this dance was done to preserve our identity as a people and bring our warriors together. In order to preserve our original identity of the Eastern War Dance, we use the name Eastern Straight Dance.
An old thread on this topic:
http://www.powwows.com/gathering/str...ght-dance.html
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Iron Eagle View Post
Eastern Woodland "Straight" is far from new. It has been around for a very, very long time but not called "straight" until recently.

For many years those of us that dressed in long shirts, hunting shirts/frocks, fingerwoven sashes & garters, beaded bags, turban or turban wrap with small roach, neck knifes, center seamed mocss and leggings did not fit into any of the typical "powwow" categories when going to typical "powwows.” Many times we got thrown in the "straight" category or we became known as "straight" by default because we do not wear a feather bustle, etc.

The clothing varies because the Eastern Woodlands pretty much entails North East Canada to the tropics of Florida and as far west as the Mississippi Delta.

But in general the clothing includes:

Headdress - roach, turban, turban wrap with roach, fur wrap or fur wrap with roach or even silver headbands in the South.
Shirt - long shirt, ribbon shirt, hunting style shirt. And don't forget military coats too.
Leggings - usually center seamed in the South, can be both center seamed or side seamed in the North.
Moccs - center seamed or puckered, lined with trade cloth and decorated with quillwork and beadwork.
Sashes – worn on waist as belt and shoulder as powder horn sash. Always fingerwoven unless made of shellwork (i.e. wampum and other shell). Northeast was usually in patterns of arrows, chevrons, fire, and lighting and had both beadwork and non beadwork. Southeast sashes were usually in patterns of diamonds, chevrons and other lineal elements.
Breechcloth – were usually smaller than those of the West and several Great Lakes People even abandoned the Breech for the Apron.
Accoutrements – these range but could include – beaded bags, lots of trade silver (ear bobs, nose rings, armbands, etc,) anklets or knee bands of dew claws, deer toes, cone jingles and yes even hair (this could include later goat angora from the whites or trade from Western Tribes access to mountain goat hair), neck knifes, fans, rattles, ball clubs or gun stock clubs or small hawks, just to name a few.

This of course is general and varies from area to area and Nation to Nation and mostly dancer to dancer.
Outstanding information! I am slowly building my regalia and my list matches the list you provided almost exactly. One thing I would note about wampum design is that the dancer should know what a given design means. The easiest way to do this is to go to your Elders, and your local Eastern tribal artists.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:58 AM   #14
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While there have been many good suggestions concerning the original question, I'd like to offer one more resource which may be helpful. See if you can find a Library or a friend who may have a copy of the following 45 page Booklet:

Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey, 1976, No.33, Special Issue: "Ceremonial Dress of the Delaware Man", by Dr. James H. Howard

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Old 05-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
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I have seen a pow wow dance category called the Smoke Dance. It's done mostly by the Iroquois tribes and those around them. I don't know if the Lenape dance this style.

Also, the Chippewa tend to dance in their floral beaded regalia with the addition of a Northern Traditional bustle. They dance in the traditional category.
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:17 AM   #16
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Here lately, I've been getting the feeling that Straight Dance regalia has come to mean something like you wear your people's traditional clothing and accoutrements or your regalia represents you, your people and your heritage. I understand that. It's not what it originally meant but even when I was learning Straight Dance from Kiowa elders years ago I was told the songs and everything changes little by little each generation. Each generation does things a little differently. Its what I was told. It kinda made me feel sad at the time but I think I understand now what they meant.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:46 AM   #17
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While there have been many good suggestions concerning the original question, I'd like to offer one more resource which may be helpful. See if you can find a Library or a friend who may have a copy of the following 45 page Booklet:

Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey, 1976, No.33, Special Issue: "Ceremonial Dress of the Delaware Man", by Dr. James H. Howard

Ceremonial dress of the Delaware man (Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey): James H Howard: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:55 PM   #18
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I have to interrupt here and say there are a few fullblood delawares left in the known world, my people are not as scarce as you might think. im from copan Oklahoma and am a proud tribal member, lol. we are not extinct nor is our language or culture. I hear this all the time from folks who claim ancestry or have yet to get their butts to either Bartlesville/copan Oklahoma or Anadarko Oklahoma. there are only 3 federally recognized groups of Lenape people, Delaware tribe/ Delaware nation/ and stockbridge munsee mahicans in bowler Wisconsin.

I do not understand the concecpt eastern woodland straight or eastern war dance as it seems more like a hobbyist movement, new thing on the east coast. and no we do not smoke dance, we leave that to our haudenosaunee brother and sisters .all I have seen there is from what they have taken and skewed . please do not try to mix southern straight with what you all think eastern woodland war dancing is. it is an insult to those Oklahoma people who take that dance and those societies very serious. thank you.
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