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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Women's Dance Styles > Cloth Dancing Apache Style Apache Style

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Old 11-05-2013, 10:21 PM   #1
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Apache Style

Hello,

I was wondering if there was any specific way to dress Apache Style for powwows. I was always taught a long skirt with a blouse. Upon finding out some information within my family, it is very hard now to ask for guidance. Hopefully reaching out within this forum will help me become more grounded in the Apache ways. I attached two photos of what I typically wear for powwows that, for me at least, represents Apache colors. Hopefully you are all able to view them. Your feedback would be very appreciated! Thanks!

:)
Jessica
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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OK, I'm probably going to tick off my second newbie in 24hrs, but... This doesn't look very much like what I've seen at events on various Apache reservations.

Most of the women I've seen in Apache regalia wear a full, square bodice blouse, with 3/4 or full length sleeves, and a full, ankle length three tier skirt. They are made from cotton or cotton/poly material. A mix of various solid colors and prints are used. They are often trimmed with ribbon and/or rick rack. The blouse is generally worn over the skirt. Belts are rarely used. This is a very loose outfit. If you Goggle Apache camp dress, you'll find some pictures.

There are some buckskin dresses. But these are for very special occasions. And there are rules about the making and wearing.

The traditional Apache mocc is very distinctive and beautiful. And not the easiest to make. They are boot style, with a long folded upper. The sole is made in several different configurations, usually with a projecting flap at the toe. Since they were traditionally desert footwear, there was some special processing done to thicken the sole.

If you are planing to powwow dance in a camp dress at events with a low twinkie coefficient: Lose the headband/crown unless you are a current or former Princess. Forgo the ultrasuede skirt and the Mexican blouse. Invest in a good pair of Native made mocs. Cover your bare arms and lose the skin tight look, unless you want to lecture from someone's granny about modesty. And get rid of the dangling "eagle" feather, unless you have earned the right to wear one.

Last edited by OLChemist; 11-06-2013 at 03:52 PM.. Reason: Clarity
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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I think this will be the 2nd in less than 24 hours.

I once saw this beautiful woman on San Carlos. Started talking to her and found out she was Gros Ventre! Go figure.

My stepson, when he was small could have used a pair of Apache mocs. We were up at ceremony on Pine Ridge. He's only in a diaper and got into a fight with a cactus. From then on, every time he saw a cactus, he would give it it's space and say, "Ow". hahaaa

Good post, OLChemist.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:18 PM   #4
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WTF happened to the 'Like' button???

Insert 'Like' here for OLC's post.
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Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


"When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

Mr. Rossie Freeman
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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2 in 24.......I don't think that's a first ! LOL
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:07 AM   #6
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Well said OlChemist.
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe's Dad View Post
My stepson, when he was small could have used a pair of Apache mocs. We were up at ceremony on Pine Ridge. He's only in a diaper and got into a fight with a cactus.

I'm going oww, and I just heard the story.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by OLChemist View Post
OK, I'm probably going to tick off my second newbie in 24hrs, but... This doesn't look very much like what I've seen at events on various Apache reservations.

Most of the women I've seen in Apache regalia wear a full, square bodice blouse, with 3/4 or full length sleeves, and a full, ankle length three tier skirt. They are made from cotton or cotton/poly material. A mix of various solid colors and prints are used. They are often trimmed with ribbon and/or rick rack. The blouse is generally worn over the skirt. Belts are rarely used. This is a very loose outfit. If you Goggle Apache camp dress, you'll find some pictures.

There are some buckskin dresses. But these are for very special occasions. And there are rules about the making and wearing.

The traditional Apache mocc is very distinctive and beautiful. And not the easiest to make. They are boot style, with a long folded upper. The sole is made in several different configurations, usually with a projecting flap at the toe. Since they were traditionally desert footwear, there was some special processing done to thicken the sole.

If you are planing to powwow dance in a camp dress at events with a low twinkie coefficient: Lose the headband/crown unless you are a current or former Princess. Forgo the ultrasuede skirt and the Mexican blouse. Invest in a good pair of Native made mocs. Cover your bare arms and lose the skin tight look, unless you want to lecture from someone's granny about modesty. And get rid of the dangling "eagle" feather, unless you have earned the right to wear one.

Thank you so much! And no, you did not offend/upset me in any way. In fact, I knew that this wasn't the right way to dress; that's why I asked. I live in Florida and have not had the opportunity to travel to any powwows out of state due to a college budget. So whenever I see Apache ladies (and only a few, mind you), they are not dressed in what the Apache ladies wear on the reservations. One lady I know wears buckskin and this other lady that I've seen wears a long black skirt with a black cape. I haven't been told whether the way I've been dressed is correct or not. I honestly appreciate that you gave me this feedback. It has helped me go into the right direction. Once again, thank you. :)
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:21 PM   #9
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Also, should I continue to use my shawl and dance fan? If yes to the dance fan, how should it look? Oh! Any specific way to dance?

Sorry that I'm asking a lot. Obviously the right way is what I'm going for. :P

Last edited by Jessica_93; 11-07-2013 at 05:49 PM..
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:48 PM   #10
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(In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an artist who makes regalia and silver jewelry. I don't dance. So, I am no expert. Nor am I Apache.)


The right way to do this is to take some tobacco to an experienced dancer. Humbly ask her for help. She'll know the right things to do. Listen to her -- even if she says no. If you are intended to do this, the right person will come into your life. You can get information about outfits from watching, books, and websites, but learning the respectful way to enter the circle and how to behave so you reflect well on your ancestors can only come from those who dance. Be humble.

Be aware that when you dance in a woman's cloth category in an Apache dress, you're wearing clothes from outside the cultural areas in which these styles of dancing evolved. So, you will be conforming to non-Apache conventions and aesthetics. To met the standards of proper participation and some competitions you'll need to add items to your outfit.


Shawl: A must. Yours looks very nice.

Purse: Not just part of cloth outfits, useful for keeping those female necessities at hand, like lipstick, your boyfriend's car keys, LOL. When I was in grad school in Houston, there was a lady who ran a gallery. She danced in a camp dress. She had made a modified Apache "burden" basket. She had flattened the cone, bringing it to a oval at the top. Then she had a buckskin cover with a draw string over the top. It was a striking piece.

Fan: This is tricky if you don't have permits. Your wig fan is perfectly serviceable. If you want something lighter, you might try a flat fan. Currently, the trend in women's flat fans is toward huge. But, you can make a very elegant, compact fan in macaw feathers. Blue and golds, can coordinate nicely with turquoise. And they were traditional items of trade in the Southwest.

Mocs: As I said, Apache mocs are distinctive. Having the right mocs will make a big difference. Plus these beauties are a real tribute to the creativity and skill of your ancestors. They are the steel toed boots of the moccasin world. They have a flap on the toe that both adds to the visual appeal and protects toes from thorns and rocks. The pairs I've examined have the upper attached to the sole in such a way that a ridge is raised, that help keep sand and dirt from migrating in between the stitches. Then there is the folded legging -- brush and thorn protection and emergency shoe repair kit in one.

Jewelry and hair ornaments. Like I said, lose the feather unless you earned it. Get a nice hair barrette. Something beaded. Something that will stay securely in your hair. You can attach your plume, if you choose to wear one. You might want to wear a beaded rosette necklace. The Apache make a t-shaped necklace. I have only seen these in the context of certain ceremonies, or on women who have participated in certain activities. I would avoid these.

When you make your outfit, don't copy. Designs belong to families, clans and tribes. The right and responsibility of using certain items is earned. Be very respectful.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:25 PM   #11
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Thank you so much, OLChemist! You have no idea how much you have helped me in such a short amount of time. Luckily, since I have been dancing at powwows, I have been able to meet the few Apaches that I have seen here in Florida. I believe I may know a lady that might be able to help me out. Virtual hugs sent your way!! :)
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Old 11-08-2013, 04:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
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WTF happened to the 'Like' button???

Insert 'Like' here for OLC's post.
This^^^^.
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #13
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I agree with all that has been said.
My understanding is that there are differences among the various Apache bands on how the ladies moccasin boots were made and decorated. Gosh, I would love a pair of these. So distinctive.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:20 PM   #14
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I am Lipan Apache. We do not dress in traditional wear or camp dress in the powwow circle. I dance Southern traditional cloth.
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:39 PM   #15
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I am Lipan Apache. We do not dress in traditional wear or camp dress in the powwow circle. I dance Southern traditional cloth.

Thank you so much! This helps me a lot. I typically dress Southern Cloth, but I am starting to make adjustments. Do I need ribbon on my skirt?
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:39 AM   #16
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Do I need ribbon on my skirt?
Are you talking about altering the outfit in the above picture? If so, I would strongly recommend covering your arms. I was taught that bare arms are inappropriate.

Believe me I understand college student budget restrictions. But, I am assuming your goal is not to have people look at you and start a betting pool on what your twinkie test score would be :)

Twinkie Test

Let me speak bluntly from my experiences as a fair skinned mixed-blood. In a group of Native people who don't know you, you stick out. You motives may be questioned. And as a relative newcomer to the arena, not being phenotypically "Indian" and not have family to support you in the circle, you'llwant to keep a low profile until you have made connections. Thus conforming closely to either tribal or dance style clothing norms is a good idea.

A simple T-dress can be made very easily. Hit the right sales and you're probably talking $20-$40 dollar, depending. Almost all of the sewing is straight seams. The hem is the hardest part. Judging from the above picture your biggest fitting problem would be in the bust. So, if you're seamstress impaired, it is still manageable. A belt and drag, a modest breastplate, a purse, a few tasteful pieces of beadwork, shawl, fan, some mocs, leggings, and you're good to go.
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Last edited by OLChemist; 12-05-2013 at 11:45 AM..
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #17
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I'm doing a completely different skirt. It's very simple. (I will try to post a picture later on). It's dark brown and hits my ankle. I've been looking for a "substitute" top for the meantime. I'm going to try to make a top. I'm even thinking of buying/making a t dress. I'm about to be on winter break so more time at work (i work in retail so I do not get to work everyday); which means more money in my pocket. I should have plenty of time to make/buy everything before the next powwow. :)
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:08 PM   #18
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I'm using a different skirt. In fact, I'm going to change it all up. I want to buy/make a new top. I might even buy/make a T dress. I'm going to be on winter break next week so I'll be able to work a little more. Gonna save up my money for my regalia. :)

I'm going to bring a tobacco offering to this lady I see who I know will be able to help me a little more. :)

Last edited by Jessica_93; 12-05-2013 at 03:25 PM..
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