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Old 05-29-2001, 03:09 PM   #1
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Post Fishy, fishy, fishy...what are your feelings on fish?

I'm making a shawl (not for anyone in particular; I'm just making it. It keeps me off the streets), and I was thinking of painting fish on it. Colorful fish, with pretty tails. Just like the ones we haul outta the sloughs in Peever. No really, I am thinking about using fish. Will this look stupid? Are fish bad? Just fishing for opinions...
-W
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Old 05-29-2001, 03:45 PM   #2
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On the mi'kmaq site that I posted in General Craft there is a pic of a hide blanket with a whale pic painted on it
if you want to take a look its near the end of the photo pages. It isn't as colorful as the fish you sound like you'd like to paint, the folks in Alaska also have lots of whales painted and carved too!

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Old 05-29-2001, 04:51 PM   #3
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I thought you were in the Dakotas? We don't have colorful fish up here - just ugly catfish and walleye. Heheheheheee.... I think fish would look a little odd but then I'm "old school" so that's just my opinion. Nowadays, I guess it's anything goes...???
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Old 05-29-2001, 05:23 PM   #4
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The People out west in British Columbia and the Inuit use fish and whales in the artwork and designs.
I think a fish design would look unique. I don't think I've seen any outfits with fish designs on them, maybe you'll start a trend ;)
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Old 05-29-2001, 05:29 PM   #5
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;) We *are* in the Dakotas, and our fish *are* butt-ugly... maybe that's why I've never seen one on a shawl. It just seems that everyone who's anyone this year has butterflies on their outfits, and my best friend has always said that I have a problem with authority.
I'm gonna paint 'em on a piece of fabric that I got for free, so if it looks stupid, I can always trash it.
-W
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Old 05-29-2001, 06:03 PM   #6
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Try a sturgeon. :D You mignt get looks like these>> AYYYE!
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Old 05-29-2001, 06:50 PM   #7
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Koi. Beautiful, Japanese carp, highly prized and collected. If you can put butterflys and other bright, brilliant designs on your shawls, etc. why not Koi? I think it could make a real statement. And, different, too. Not Traditional, but I've seen some Fancy regalia that is so far from Traditional, plus whoever put them together must've been colorblind.......
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Old 05-29-2001, 07:16 PM   #8
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Hi Wren,
I have seen some pretty shawls with teepes
waterbirds or feathers and shawles with beadwork and starquilt pattern on the back,the fish might work for a little girl 3 or 4 years old but i would probably stay with the Traditional design Goodluck!!
let us know how it looks Okay.

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Old 05-29-2001, 10:26 PM   #9
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I'm with you Faith...I like to see the more traditional designs. Personally, I love floral designs!
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Old 05-29-2001, 10:38 PM   #10
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Badgie
your so right, I almost forgot about the floral designs :)

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Old 05-30-2001, 03:12 AM   #11
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Many People go with there tradishonal Tribe Designs for there outfits. If your going for the diffrent look then I say sure use the fish! :)
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Old 05-30-2001, 10:42 AM   #12
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Yeah...I painted the fish on last night, and I'm not sure I like 'em. My husband, the good eastern Dakota boy that he is, is pushing for more traditional floral designs to compliment them. We did have a very amusing discussion on why you don't see Northerns in beadwork.
-W
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Old 05-30-2001, 11:20 AM   #13
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At the risk of becoming too philosophical, I just wanted to make a statement about traditions. How far from traditional do we really want to go? I mean, American Indian people have adapted for hundreds of years but I wonder about the price of that adaptation. You can already see the difference in today's pow-wows.

Now, I'm not that old (REALLY!) but I remember dancing at pow-wows when I was little and they were much closer to our traditional values than today's events. Dancers weren't expected to be all glittery or flourescent to win or have a new outfit every year to compete. It's just nuts how "white American" we've become in our values.

I guess I bring this up because, whenever I see a break from tradition, I wonder how far it will go. One day, fishes. The next day, computers or movie stars or who knows??!! I mean, one guy up here had an outfit with spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs on it. What does that say?? He got teased alot and never wears it anymore. But you get my point??

Keeping designs traditional, I think, reminds us of the days when things were simple and tough and basic. It reminds us of the values that our ancestors had and that they are still our values too.

Anyway, WRen, I hope you don't feel I'm jumping on you or anything. I know that you're very respectful and culturally aware. I was just getting this off my chest, I guess.

I realize we've started down a path of assimilation and that we can't turn back now. But maybe we can stem the tide. There are lots of other ways to make an outfit attractive and unique without incorporating foreign designs or concepts.
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Old 05-31-2001, 01:58 AM   #14
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Longfeather,

After reading your words I have to agree. There have been countless times that I have looked at Mi'kmaq as well as the other Costal Woodland Regalia designs and thought "Beautiful" but realizing that those florals were introduced by the European, it's sad. We have little left of our tradishional designs. Colorful Fish would be fun as a novelty but it does take you one step closer to assimilation. On the other hand may be I should play with the fisheys and other sea mammels!

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Old 05-31-2001, 11:07 AM   #15
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Lucky for y'all, my husband and I just had this conversation, so I sort have my thoughts straight. We came to the conclusion that the concept of a "traditional" Native culture(s) is really a construction of the anthropological community. To say that things are only traditional that came out of a certain time and place is kind of subscribing to the idea that Native cultures are dead and no longer evolving...enit? :)
I'm really not prepared to go to the mat over this darned fish design. It was an experiment and not really that important to me. I would say that I draw the line at commercial designs- like Mickey Mouse (because Disney is evil) or Blues Clues. I don't think those have any place in powwow gear... you have to understand though, that I am pretty anti-commercial anything, so Disney and Blues Clues don't really have any place anywhere in my life. I feel the same about the gambling/ card themes.
Now that the paint has dried, the fish actually look kinda cool. I'm thinking of adding to the shawl: putting in some water and some cattails and other regional waterplants. Still, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the thing when I done. If one of the girls likes it, she can have it. Remains to be seen.
I'm glad I got a thread going here though. This board had been pretty quiet for a while. Maybe I'll have to make a shawl with armadillos just to antagonize y'all.
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Old 05-31-2001, 04:04 PM   #16
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Fish is tradish. We've survived on it for thousands of years. There is fish clan in the Anishinaabe society. That's tradishy so go for the fishy! Aye

I see horse designs on outfits. They've only been around N America for a coupla hundred years.
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Old 06-05-2001, 12:45 AM   #17
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Well, gosh, I guess you didn't need certain opinions after all then, huh? Being that our "traditions" and tribal designs are now a white man concept (??), I guess anything goes. That does seem to be the prevalent attitude here so...just color me old-fashioned Indin and excuse the **** out of me for standing in the way of "progress".
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Old 06-05-2001, 03:36 PM   #18
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I agree that more traditional designs are more appropriate for our dance clothes. While there are some contemporary designs that look nice- butterflies, horses, and some wolf designs, there are other designs that seem TOO contemporary in my opinion. Those designs being anything having to do with casinos or using sports logos or commercial logos (I have seen plenty of young girls beading Nike designs, Fubu designs, DKNY, for hairties). I admit when I see a TINY TOT ( person under 5 years of age for those who have trouble with the concept)with a little beaded mickey mouse or cartoon character, as a small part of her outfit (barrette), but everything else is traditional design, I think it is cute and the parents are doing it only because its a baby dancing.
The outfits that stand out the most to me , are the ones that are coordinated the best, with a traditional design. I see a lot of teen dancers and some adults wear shawls and skirts that don't match the beadwork.(green, pink, blue, shawl and red, yellow,white beadwork) It seems the contest is who can have the most glitter/sequins all over themself , even if it doesn't match. And most of the time the girls stand out beacuse they are so bright/colorful/flashy, but if you really look closely at their outfits- none of the designs match, or the beadwork is in bad condition and the skirts have stains/ rips. The best outfits are the ones that are well put together and the dancer takes pride in keeping her things clean and coordinated. These outfits stand out the most to me. But I digress....
back to fish- personally i think it would not look good at all, especially colorful ones, maybe ones that are done in a geometric shape ( since you are from SD) in colors that are more muted.
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Old 06-05-2001, 06:08 PM   #19
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Oh cripes. I think you misunderstand. I don't think at all that the tribal traditions, ceremonies, art forms themselves are a white construct. What is a white construct is that what is traditional can only come from a certain space and time. Consider the way anglo-european history is typical written- we have these eras: the renaissance, the industrial revolution, the summer of love. All very lineal, all with fairly definate beginnings and endings. I can tell you (all right, I'd have to go it up) when the industrial revolution started, but I don't think anyone knows when the "traditional" period of Native history began and ended. The idea that only what happened in a specific period of time is a valid part of a culture's history- that is a anglo-european construct. The things that actually happened during those periods of time, the designs that came of of those experiences, are not. I'm not questioning the traditions and the designs themselves. I'm wondering how something gets to be traditional in the first place. Is it through a test of time? Is it because enough people say it is? Do I not include fish in a design because no one else has ever done it or because there is something in the culture that says fish are inappropriate. Owls: harbingers of death, don't put 'em on regalia. Are there similar beliefs surrounding certain kinds of fish? If so, then fish would be inappropriate. If not, then there isn't a tradition to conflict with. What I'm reading here is that, while fish are not typically used in Plains artwork, there is nothing in the culture that says fish are evil and shouldn't be used. Is that correct?
-W
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Old 06-06-2001, 08:39 PM   #20
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Personally I don't think fishys are evil... I know some "tribes" prefer not to consume them.
However, I, as a lady dancer, would not wear fish on my clothes because there are far too many cheeky pervs out there. I can hear them now...
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