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Old 03-29-2004, 05:20 PM   #1
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Face Painting at powwows

Colors, symbols and designs had great meaning to our Indian ancestors in days gone by. This is especially true in face painting.

There used to be many reasons for wearing face paint. Each color had a different meaning according to tribe. The wearers often received their paint, symbols and designs: in ceremony, from a respected elder when the wearer was first given a name, used as protection or earned on the battlefield.

Today's traditional dancer face designs seem to have evolved into a whole new realm - away from tradition. Many of today's face paint designs are a personal interpretation. Yet, they are still called "traditional dancers."

It is my personal belief that if the true traditional dancers of early last century could see the face paint of today's "traditional dancers," there would be many questions brought up.

Is this a valid assumption? What are your thoughts? Good or Bad?
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Old 04-01-2004, 11:44 AM   #2
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Okay, I'll shorten my question and get right to the point. . .

"Are today's face painting designs on 'traditional' dancers getting away from tradition?"
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Old 04-02-2004, 10:35 AM   #3
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I've been wondering the same thing. But I have a question, too--

Are the face paint designs on Traditional dancers today given to them or did they make them up? (I'm thinkin' maybe both but I'm not sure.) I know that either way, they have great meaning to the individual wearing them, though.

Somebody please respond to this Thread and shed some light on this subject. Thanks!
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Old 04-02-2004, 01:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoTrad. Eagle Scout
I've been wondering the same thing. Are the face paint designs on Traditional dancers today given to them or did they make them up? (I'm thinkin' maybe both but I'm not sure.) :candle:
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NTEScout:

You answered your own question. There ARE men in the dance arena who wear face paint that has strong meaning. They received their designs in a number of traditional ways according to their tribe or ceremonial associations.

But . . .

Because there are so many dancers who fall under the men's traditional catagory, "new" traditional dancers "ARE" making them up.

It is my opinion that . . .

"A traditional dancer who paints his face in a design that they can wear in a powwow OR WWF arena . . . . is NOT wearing a traditional design."
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Old 04-03-2004, 04:41 AM   #5
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not to repeat what was said above, As it is true, but face paint falls into the same area as any other Traditional thing, there are going to be people that actually follow tradition, then there are people who are going to make it up as they want to. It is sad that it happens but it does.
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:19 AM   #6
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good topic i was just wounderingthe same thing about face pianting and you guys cleared it up prety good for me i want a tradittional design whitch i did earn or was giving to me from an elder but my problem is my grandma is for getting some of our tradittion and my granpa s sister who teaches our culture on the rez is hard to get a hold of and since my rez is on the other side of canada from were i am now it s is very hard to comunicate espcially when i dont talk with poeple back home but im trying to do the best i can to be traditional
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Old 05-14-2004, 07:24 PM   #7
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I see some of the younger more contemporary traditional dancers wear some paint that reminds me of that rock group KISS (without the tongues hanging out, lol). One of those young men is an accomplished dancer and places regularly and I am friends with his uncle. I asked the uncle about the face paint and he said they don't use it the way his nephew was using it and later spoke with his nephew and asked him not to paint his face like that cuz that wasn't their way.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:05 PM   #8
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paint away






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Old 05-17-2004, 12:38 AM   #9
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Lots of contemporary traditional men paint up for contest, it adds to the outfit.

Personally I don't care for it. I think our ndn men are handsome without it :D When I see a good dancer painted up I wonder if he's as good looking as his dancing is :D
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Old 05-17-2004, 09:24 AM   #10
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....or sometimes the guy looks really good w/the face paint and then takes it off and you cant even recognize them.
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Old 05-17-2004, 09:41 AM   #11
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*LOL*....I spoze so! I never thought about it that way :D
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:58 AM   #12
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So, is face painting strictly for Traditional dancers? Grass dancer Marty Pinnecoose has always sported white stripes under his eyes and they look bad (good)!
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:45 PM   #13
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I've seen all men dancers in each category wear it. I guess was just the traditional men's category that came up here :)
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Old 09-23-2004, 05:03 PM   #14
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Well to begin, I would like to just say that there is a huge difference between going to a competition powwow, and a traditional powwow!!!!

So in saying that, competititon powwows, have brought the powwow singing and dancing to a whole different level. It has sped the process of evolution up ten fold.

Being a relatively new dancer, its eazy to look at some of the face painters out there n say dayummm thassss cool. But I know that there isnt really any meaning behind lots of those faces, they juss look cool and add to the performance. I mean your their to impress the judges, and have a good time. Its competition, especially the comteporary dancers and there faces, Face painting like hte wwe is comptemporary.

But then taking those faces and going to a traditional powwow, that would be kinda, silleeee, At a traditional powwow, maybe i might paint red on my forehead. But at a traditional powwow, there is more meaning behind it, its not just to see whose the best or whose got the best movezz. Its about dancing for the people. Dont take this the wrong way when i dance at a competition, im still dancing for the people, but im there to have a good time, more of a social aspect of it,......at a traditional powwow, theres more RESPONSABILITY, i guess is what im saying.



BTW i know i look as good without the paint as i do with the paint!!!..lol :large:
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Old 09-23-2004, 09:51 PM   #15
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Arrow Face Paint

I am not able to talk to elders or go to a ceremony so I talked to some guys on powwows.com and dancers around here and they suggest getting my grandmother to give me a name and face paint design. BUT, I made sure my grand mother(1/2blood Cherokee) knew the great importance of this and that it isn't a joke.

any comments are greatly appreciated,
Mike
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Old 09-25-2004, 05:12 AM   #16
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I think the Kiss style face paint is a mixture of tradition and contempary. Some tribes tradtionally used white and/or black in face painting. There were also other times in history when white was used to paint not only the face but parts of the body. One of the things paint was originally used for was to make men look more fierce when they went to war.
I think some of todays dancers are using these colors in a traditional sense, however modifying the designs to make themselves look more flashy in the arena. Similar to the past just with more creativity. LOL
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:27 PM   #17
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Talking paint up

this is a good topic, when i started dancing,i didn't paint up for a whole year. after that i went to ceremony and i was taught by the spirits and the old ones about trad. dancing and face paint.when i put paint on, yes it means something and if you ask me at a powwow i will tell you what it means.now some of the younger men have taken painting up to a new level,to match thier outfits or to even intimidate. and thats ok, i will be the first to say that IIIII'am knowbody to judge.my wife dosn't like me to paint up she said,"I cant see you smilling when your dancing". p.s. most dancers paint up sat. night or before a dance comp.hope i didn't offend anybody.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:38 AM   #18
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Red face painting up

most of the senior men you will notice that they will paint the same way all the time,you know real traditional.some of the younger men have taken the paint to a new level with the stencil paterns and the elabrate designs.allso most men will paint up on sat. evening or before a contest.I get asked about my paint by some of the junior dancersand I allways tell them what it means.me personaly I have three faces that i will use depending on how i'am fealling.hoka 'lifes short dance hard'
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunbursthonor
I am not able to talk to elders or go to a ceremony so I talked to some guys on powwows.com and dancers around here and they suggest getting my grandmother to give me a name and face paint design. BUT, I made sure my grand mother(1/2blood Cherokee) knew the great importance of this and that it isn't a joke.

any comments are greatly appreciated,
Mike
my name was a great gift to me i did not ask for it. The way i see it is it's a gift and you must be worthy first. And then when the time is right it will come to pass
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:17 PM   #20
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I agree

I have trouble with my designs being accepted as all out traditional because I use new designs that the creator gives me. I've often wondered if this way is the write way to go, and if the common kiss design would be acceptibal to the elders during compitition because conteprerary dancing leads to contempory design. But still remember that the heavy black and white design is an old war party spiritual style as well.
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