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Old 03-08-2002, 05:38 PM   #1
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Question Female Fancy Feather Dancers?

Howdy folks:

Am new to the boards, and am looking for a little help you veteran dancers out there might be able to give me. Back in
the mid-1990's, I went to college with a gal from Sisseton,
SD, and we were working together on the college powwow we hold in May on our campus. Talk turned to a conversation about a women's drum group, that had started up here in the Minneapolis area, and the problems they had been having in gaining some acceptance at the powwows (we had invited them up to our powwow). That led to some talk about a very VERY small number of female grass dancers (of the yarn variety, not the old-style
men's bustle type), that we used to have here around our part of the country. The Sisseton gal recalled, from her high school days, also seeing a young woman in SoDak who fancy feather danced, but didn't know her personally, nor the gal's name. We're working on a project down here in Minneapolis about some of the problems women have had in tackling fields that were, and are,
the men's domain, not judging it one way or the other whether they should be doing these things, but just to get their views on why they do men's dances, singing, drumming, and the problems they've had from the community at large (or the acceptance, if that's the case). Any of you dancers out there come across female
fancy feather dancers in your travels, personally know any, or have an idea of some communities we could get in touch with to
talk to the ladies taking part in feather dancer (or grass, also).
I've been told female grass dancers are not totally uncommon in Canada, but no idea if that's true. Anyway, thanks for any help or ideas or personal recollections you folks can give. Private emails
are fine, if you want to respond that way.

-grayback
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Old 03-09-2002, 11:54 AM   #2
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I haven't seen any female fancy feather dancers since I've been alive...My grandparents tell me about them back when the women started fancy feather dancing, competing, and placing in the men's comps. I had bought this video on men's fancy dancing for my little brother because that's what style he originally wanted to dance. In the video it had all the history of the dance. There were pictures of the women fancy feather dancers too! They were all in black and white of course, but it was still amazing to see them. Growing up I never even thought about the concept of women fancy feather dancers, of course, I did know how fancy shawl dancing came from fancy feather dancing and the women involved in it. That's about all the input I have for now...


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Old 03-10-2002, 06:38 PM   #3
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Thumbs down

I disagree, it shouldn't be, same with them at the drum (even tho my own mom used to do it) it's still a no no. But as with the new-age contemp pow-wow it's becoming so americanized, equal-rights everything and everyone has to have fun or else.

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Old 03-11-2002, 12:08 AM   #4
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folks--women fancy dancers have been aroung for a long time. One time I was talking to Gus Mcdonald's sister who told me when she was young, she had occasion to dance in her brother's place. He had been paid to put on exhibitions and was unable to fulfull his obligation, so his sister donned his clothes and went on in his place. This happened several times. This was in the 30's or 40s. I also remember in the 70's, Gigi Palmer used to fancy dance at the local pow-wows in Apache. She was really good. She was also very smooth and graceful in her moves. This focus on a men-only tradition in this area is not valid. I'm sure this has occurred more often than you may realize.
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Old 03-12-2002, 08:22 PM   #5
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If you look at the book that C. Scott Evans and Rex Reddick put out you will see several ladys who used to where mens fancy clothes. A woman placed at the Tulsa pow-wow, even today a member of the Anitihey family wears bustles and its a female.
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:38 PM   #6
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When I was young I fancy feathered danced. I wore my brothers old bustles. I rarely saw any fancy shawl dancers then. We didn't even call it fancy shawl, it was northern style! So, I did fancy feather because I didn't really care for and wasn't any good at the southern womens dances. I stopped once I reached a certain age however, and it was no longer a good thing to be mistaken for a boy! I think you know what age I mean! LOL I then danced womens cloth and buckskin. Fancy shawl became big and I switched to that. Much more comfortable to me! If you watch close some times when I'm dancing you'll see me all of a sudden throw in a fancy feather move! It just comes out! Oh well! Something different to catch the judges eye!!
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Old 03-13-2002, 08:03 AM   #7
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It wasn't uncommon in Oklahoma during WWII when a lot of the young men were gone to see women fancy dancing. My friend, the late Yogi Panzer, even competed in this style when she was young.
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Old 03-13-2002, 12:06 PM   #8
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My mother used to dance fancy bustle and used to also dance the hoop dance.
My grandfather taught her.

Later she used to have a unique style of shawl dance. She was good at both.

A friend of my dad, once told me the guys would tease my dad when he danced fancy.
They would say, you should just let her wear your stuff, she's better! My dad was a good sport about it all.

This was back in the 60's and early 70's.
But, in the early 90's we had a little girl grass dancer in our community. She would
out shine all the little boys and win all the time. She was so good to watch. It would make
you feel good how much she would get into her moves. Today she does Jingle and she's a teen.

When it comes to women beating on the drum, I got a hang up about that, I say no. I think women back up singers are great, beautiful voices, but to actually sit and beat and sing, I think you cross to much. My vote is no.
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Old 03-13-2002, 08:01 PM   #9
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Aho
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Old 03-14-2002, 11:33 AM   #10
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I've only seen one women fancy bustle dancer in my life - in person - and that was Michael Rose's wife at the Chickahominy Pow-wow years ago. She rocked the category!! It was a while ago - I remember going, who's that? And even going to Michael and asking who she was - and about died when he said, My wife!
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Old 03-14-2002, 12:36 PM   #11
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I have seen some dancers trade places. There were a couple of competitions around for them (early 90's) not major money, but more for fun on the trail. An elder did not like it, dissed what was happening, and I've never seen it again. Me, I like to think that one should do as they like. I am a female, and I love to dance, I used to were my brothers bustles along time ago, just practising around the house though and it was fun, but as I was getting at, how many men would were a dress and a shawl? HA HA!!
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Old 03-15-2002, 12:56 AM   #12
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Girl Fancy Featherer's!!

Well up here in Canda there are only two cases I know about woman dancing Fancy Bustle. In Saskatchewan...there was Donny Speidels younger sister...she danced all the time...but i think she gave it up...and just this past summer i seen a girl in Junior boys dancing Fancy Feather...she was from the Poundmaker first nation. So it isn't really uncommon up here, but then you don't see a lot of it. I don't have anything really against it...it's just their own preference. I know I've dance in a couple switch dances, and danced grass. But it was all for fun. I know some people don't approve with that aspect. But then again, like a Thread i started, this kind of ties in with how evolved powwows will get. Will there be more women taking over men's roles? Who knows... but ya...that's all i have to say about that!!

Later...;)
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Old 03-15-2002, 09:03 AM   #13
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I personally don't see anything wrong with it...have seen some women dance better than men at it...hehe
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Old 03-17-2002, 01:08 PM   #14
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hey folks I have to relatives that danced this way for a while in Oklahoma. One was Gigi Palmer, & Gwen Shanatona, they were two of the best that some of the people have seen for a while. They would beat some of the men and that is why people have a hard time with this. I talk to my aunt's all the time when I see them and they say some times the other dancers got mad. So it kind of depends on where you go, from what they were telling me. But that all that I know about good topic.
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Old 03-17-2002, 07:24 PM   #15
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Jon Jon Lane was another Oklahoma girl who danced fancy - back in the 60's &'70's. She won several contests including the Indian Expo at Anadarko. She is one of the girls in the Full Circle video about fancy dancing.
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Old 03-17-2002, 09:04 PM   #16
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well. i have seen women from other tribes when i was younger dancing fancy mens but i have seen a couple of women from my area in SD dancing mens grass. They could jam it out. what i would love to see them women dance again but now there are probly older. it used to make me feel good to see them out there. then again i know that alot of the men didn't like it because they didn't like to see a women beating them. i think that now adays we as in women are more independat and do things that in the olden days weren't meant to do. i still couldn't see a women dancing mens traditional but i could see her fancy feather dancing or grass dancing. and i will stick to letting the men be at the drum. i was taught that a women shoudl never sit at the drum. hey like i said it is now and now is alot different from then.
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Old 03-24-2002, 11:33 AM   #17
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Thumbs up

Thanks for all the great posts!

I never knew there was such a large number of female "mens category" dancers out there! Learn something new every day around here, for sure.

Some of you folks mention that the ones you know of, are members of your family or people you know from your area; for those of you for whom that is true, please drop me a PM or email if the following applies: I'd be interested in asking these ladies to fill out a small, one-page opinion kind of thing, asking them some basic things like how they got started, what they liked about it, and some of their good and bad experiences, and what they'd say to young gals today who want to try some of those styles. I could snail mail or email you the questions, and they could fill in their responses as they see fit.

If you would be interested or willing, or think they would, please let me know. I'd be interested in hearing more.

Thanks for all the great responses, folks!

-grayback
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Old 04-03-2002, 01:06 AM   #18
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I REMEBER SEEING A GIRL FANCY FEATHER DANCER AT FT.YATEZ POWWOW A COUPLE YRS. AGO, BUT I HAD NO IDEA WHO SHE WUZ, BUT I DONT REALLY THINK THAT THERE SHOULD BE FEMALE FANCY FEATHER DANCERS, BUT REALLY IT DONT MATTER<<<<<<<<<<
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Old 04-19-2004, 02:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grayback
Howdy folks:

Am new to the boards, and am looking for a little help you veteran dancers out there might be able to give me. Back in
the mid-1990's, I went to college with a gal from. . . . Any of you dancers out there come across female fancy feather dancers in your travels, personally know any, or have an idea of some communities we could get in touch with to talk to the ladies taking part in feather dancer (or grass, also).
-grayback
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grayB:

It would seem logical that since the Men's fancy dance originated down in Oklahoma, there would be a proportionate amount of women who tried "putting on the feathers."

When the women's fancy shawl dance came to Oklahoma, women fancy feather dancers deminished (c. late-1970's).

PM me and I will give you the contact information of one of the most knowledgible women in this subject.

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Old 08-17-2004, 03:49 PM   #20
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Shannon Ahhaitty

There was a fancy dancer named Shannon Ahhaitty. She danced like a guy. I danced against her a few times and she actually kicked my butt once or twice. She has the legs. yeah. the legs. damn, too bad she had all those brothers running a block.
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