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Old 09-01-2004, 07:50 PM   #1
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Question Smoke Song Starts - Then What?

My question is: What to do when a "Smoke Song" is sung during a formal Hethushka Dance Ceremony?

I had learned from Ponca men such as Harry Buffalohead, Joe Rush, Sylvester Warrior, and Abe Conklin, that the smoke song was originally sung in ancient times as a prelude to all the dancers seated in the dance circle, using their personal Prayer Pipes to offer tobacco in prayer during a water break.

When Sylvester Warrior revived the Ponca Hethushka in 1957, he gave the song a new meaning. Today it is sung, if requested, at the end of a set of songs before a water break. When the song is done, seated dancers are then allowed to smoke cigarettes if they wish.

However, there seems to be some confusion as to what to do during the song. Dance? Stand in place? or Remain seated? I had always been told that it was not a song to dance to, and to remain seated.

What has your experience been?
What do you do?
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Last edited by Historian; 09-01-2004 at 07:55 PM..
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Old 09-03-2004, 12:59 PM   #2
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During the Blackfoot society dance for Kiowa-Apache when the smoke song is sung, everyone sits and those that want to are allowed to smoke ciggerettes. There is no drinking of water until after the song is finnished. Hope this helps in some way.
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Old 09-05-2004, 10:56 PM   #3
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I understand that some organizations consider this a "giveaway song" and expect everyone to dance and giveaway. This is not the way it was explained to me, but " when in Rome, do as the Romans do". I hadn't heard of the earlier historical reference you mentioned. Thanks for bringing that up. The latter variation you mentioned, was what I had heard, and that it was to be the last song sung in a set before the first water break. Anyone else have some input?
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:59 PM   #4
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I'm pretty ignorant, for sure. I think the 3 or 4 questions you posted as Historian, are very valid. As I read, my books , I will keep your questions in mind to see if I can pick up and answer, from the info. In the books I read. I think it good that you do offer historical questions randomly. The books I'm reading are set in the 1800's time period.Various tribes, but quite close the incidents and time periods of both books. 1 I've finished. Another I'm moving right along w/. It will still be several days reading before I finish the 1 I'm reading now. Thank you very much. GES
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:16 PM   #5
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Smile Book Titles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gail405
I think the 3 or 4 questions you posted as Historian, are very valid. As I read, my books , I will keep your questions in mind to see if I can pick up and answer, from the info. in the books I read. I think it is good that you do offer historical questions randomly. The books I'm reading are set in the 1800's time period. Various tribes, but quite close in the incidents and time periods of both books. 1 I've finished. Another I'm moving right along w/. It will still be several days reading before I finish the 1 I'm reading now. Thank you very much. GES
Gail,
Thanks for your kind words. Just out of curiosity, what are the titles of the two books you speak about reading?
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Old 11-10-2004, 11:22 AM   #6
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So by Smoke Song, are you referring to the old practice sometimes referred to by some as the "Pony Smoke"?
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Old 06-30-2005, 03:27 PM   #7
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Smoke song

Historian, Good question.

I am confused by this. In the 1960's, I was youngish and not all that observant. At Ilonskas, the song was occasionally sung. I can't recall whether anyone danced or not, but when the song was finished, the singers always rolled a smoke and took time to finish their cigarettes. I did not notice whether the dancers did the same.

In the early 90's, I asked Abe Conklin about this, and he said that he had broached the subject to the singer, Ely Warrior. Ely's response was that, currently, it was just a giveaway song.

That still does not tell the dancer what to do: sit, stand, or dance.

I'm waiting for this issue to be resolved.

I do listen for the song. It begins with "Aho".
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Old 06-30-2005, 11:28 PM   #8
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My friend, I don't have as much experience nor am I very Old. My limited thinking is that I recall going to our seats and sitting, I don't smoke so I didn't. Just visited with those around me and the family be hind me.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Harry Buffalohead called it, "Smoke break."
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:04 PM   #10
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also

well depending on who is headsinger, sometimes if u are at the center drum u cant smoke untill the smoke song is sung. i think otoe is that way. its a song giving permission to smoke in any way. if u wanna pray, then pray. if u wanna just smoke, then just smoke. but just look at your surroundings. if you are supposed to dance, but everyone is seated, then u will stickout real bad if u are the only one dancing. so do as the head people do where ever u are at. but like i said the smoke song is used at some powwows too. depending on the head singer.
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