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Old 08-24-2001, 07:27 PM   #21
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Hi! The correct term is "Otter Cap" or "Otter Hat" and you are right, it is traditional for Comanches to wear it. I don't know the "significance", but there might be one and I don't know if there is any difference for a woman or a man wearing it. Maybe someone can tell us.Mr. R..are you out there.
I do know that some Kiowas say that they "have the right to wear one", just meaning that a while ago, Kiowas would wear them too. That is less common, but some do.

During some ceremonial dances...if a Kiowa woman's brother or father or uncle or grandpa is a warrior and has the right to wear a war bonnet, he may place the bonnet on her head during one of the woman's dances...like the scalp or the victory dance
and that is a great honor, but the bonnet goes immediately back to him.
Anyway..can we get any info on the origins of the Otter Cap?
Thanks,
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Old 08-26-2001, 01:08 AM   #22
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First let me issue the standard disclaimer – “I don’t know anything myself, but this is what I heard…”

Most of the people in the pictures are identified as follows:
Mr & Mrs. Donald BigCow (Rachael Yellowfish)
Cha Quaie (Rachael Yellowfish’s grand mother)
Ohne’veeta – Old Lady Whiskey Tom (Ada Bosin’s mother)
Maai-suta – Old Lady Mahsutky
Old Lady Fisher & Grand Daughter
Katahtah – (Ernest Tate’s grandmother)
Ta tahkey
Old Lady Komanchee
Hu vu
Tha baenah
Wyiwuhneh – Cedar Tree Standing (Lee Motah’s grand mother)
Nuhsee – Gently moving. Owen Yackeyony’s mother.
Oahthi – Kiowa woman married to a Comanche.

Otter Cap or Otter Hat - yup, that’s the right term rather than a turban. The word for it is Pa:kut tsonikaah or Puha pa:kut tsonikaah. In the water hat/cap or In the water medicine hat/cap. Those of you who know what that encompasses, well, then you know what it is. Water/Otter/Water animals have a puha connotation. Both men and women wore them. I don’t know when they first came into prominence but there is some early reference that leaders in what was to become the NAC wore them as an emblem of their position. It was part of your “good clothes.” When you dressed to dance or went to pray you always wore your best. Sometimes women did wear war bonnets as a way to honor their husbands, brothers, or other male relatives. Women lead the old Buffalo dance, apparently like a hereditary position, and they wore war bonnets or buffalo horned hats. Also, women gained war honors by the fact that they frequently accompanied their husbands on raids and they apparently took an active role. It’s not something that is just limited to the Comanche for there are stories from all over the Plains as well as other areas in which women distinguished themselves as warriors. Enough said.

Black Buckskin - I only know of about two tribes that used black buckskin or black dyed hide and it was ONLY used for moccasins. One of the substances used for the black coloration was ripe walnuts. Pick one up sometime and squeeze it…you’ll see.
The natural color of most animals skin, sans hair, is white. Commercial tanners, because of the chemicals used, could not produce a white hide. There was no incentive to change the chemicals to produce a white tanned hide because there was no demand for it until about 25 years ago. Now you can get about any color you can imagine. There were however a couple small tanneries that did cater to the demand for white hides from the Indian market. These were commonly called “soap tanned” because soap (Ivory) was used in the tanning process. I have never seen an historic dress made from anything but a white hide and that continues to be the standard. Some were lightly smoked which induced a faint color change. Some were painted with powdered pigment after smoking, but by far, the majority (probably 99.9%) of dresses were and are made from white hides.

These odd things spoken of here on this board…well…most I’ve seen look like they were patterned after something from “Fredericks of Anadarko” and the people who wear them…well…maybe they were In’ian in a previous life or they saw a Cherokee Princess wear one somewhere. They obviously never open their eyes and look around. Maybe they do but they don’t see. They would be a real hit at Sturgis.

Sorry for the length of this and again, I don’t know anything, but this is what I heard….
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Old 08-28-2001, 12:07 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by buckskinlady:

...but why'd you have to pick on DARKO????!!! (As in Frederick's of..) You'll have to pay your way back in for that!! Aaaayyyy!
Hey, it sounds better than Fredricks of Meers!

I'll send you some "boht" as a peace offering but I have to find a trailer first. How about some guinap instead? ;-)
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Old 08-28-2001, 12:25 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by NIENIE:
Those feathers look like little black and whites. Like they are from midget golden eagles.
A lot of people call these Mexican Eagles or Eagle hawk or a dozen other local names. The real name is American Rough Leg, the second largest hawk in the Buteo Family. It's also called Northern Rough-legged hawk. It's an arctic bird from Northern Canada that winters in Montana, Wyoming, etc. The plumage has about a dozen different phases.
The largest Buteo is the Ferruginous Roug-leg. It's habitat is the Northern Rockies.
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Old 08-28-2001, 01:22 AM   #25
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I like really glitzy outfits. I think there puurrdy! It seems to me this is just an evolution of style. I personally don't like the really tall crowns, but if you ask a grandma, in her day the crowns were much shorter. They(the crowns not the grandmas) have just gotten taller over the years. I'm from the middle height age, so that is what I'm used to. This a little off the subject, but I have read posts on this board refering to fans made from birds other than eagle. I have not really seen this too much. It's talked about here like it is totally commonplace. Please post pics, because I have no idea what people are talking about. I've seen a lot of maccaw fans though, and I think kids shouldn't have eagle fans until they fully understand the responsibilities involved in dancing with one. My oldest daughter used to dance with a winter hawk tail fan when she was a pre-teen. It was just cute. Those feathers look like little black and whites. Like they are from midget golden eagles. I have a real rugged wing fan that I think is from a gull that I let my babies use.
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Old 08-28-2001, 01:22 AM   #26
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Mr. R.....Thank you so much...many,many Ah-hos and oodahs (sp?) for your identification of the beautiful ladies and for the info on the otter caps!!! Still haven't shown this to my mother-in-law, but I know she will love it!!
Yeah it's true about women or wives going into battle or at least lending a hand..from holding the horses..to, well, a more active role as you mentioned. And I know I've heard that about women up north, too.
Maybe I'll post that as a topic...Women As Warriors (in buckskin dresses) Aaaaayyyyy! Just kidding!! I'll get too much flack from that at home and I think too many people on these boards would like to pick up and run with that..don't know which direction. IT's JUST A JOKE!!!!
Anyway, Rumi you are too cool...but why'd you have to pick on DARKO????!!! (As in Fredserick's of..) You'll have to pay your way back in for that!! Aaaayyyy!
Anybody else have anything about head wear(?) or anything else??? Let's hear it...no matter what it is!!! Yikes!!! :D
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Old 08-28-2001, 01:43 AM   #27
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Nienie, Red Tail Hawk is used as a "Woman's Fan" down here in the Southern Plains. I have a real pretty one that a good friend made for me with a beaded handle, but I'm in the dark ages when it comes to computer stuff. I can take a picture of it and then I can ask Paul or Lydell to post it for me the way they posted pictures of some of my dresses and stuff. Can anyone else help out with that? Macaws are always pretty and it doesn't matter too much if something happens to it, of course you still hope nothing does. My Mother used her Eagle Fans and one that belonged to her Dad all her life, but a few years ago (she was in her late 60's)saw other people using painted turkey feathers and they looked like real Eagle feathers (from far away). She thought that would be easier to travel with (to Pow-Wows) and she wouldn't have to worry all the time about her feathers. She uses one now, for like "everyday" and she doesn't mind. She laughs about it though and calls it her "precious fan" sarcastically. :)
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Old 08-28-2001, 11:56 AM   #28
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Thank you all for sharing your knowledge on the otter hat. Being a Northern girl, I don't know much about the Southern ways and so I appreciate learning more.

As for the ladies in black buckskin, it sounds like they were biker babes who took a wrong turn. I've seen one once and it was strapless!
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Old 08-29-2001, 11:03 AM   #29
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Mr. R....okay, all is forgiven, but please deliver the boht somewhere else!!! I even have some fairly clean trash cans that I can give you if you don't bring it here!!!
I know I am not supposed to turn down food or a gift, but I have to draw the line there. I'll take the guinap, though (and some kidneys?)...mmmmmmm good!
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Old 08-30-2001, 12:25 AM   #30
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There's a lot of good info on this thread.

I'd like some info too. A very well-known dancer (southern buckskin) approached me before a southern men's contest ( I was head judge) and said I should use all southern judges. I was quite taken back by this. This was in the north. Of course I didn't follow her orders and continued to mix the judges up from different areas as I normally do. Later,I spoke with some other southern folks and they encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing.
Apparently, many of the HJ's and AD's in the south do select Northern Nations to judge the southern contests because there are differences of opinion amongst the Southern Nations on who started what and what tribe owns a certain kinds of dances.
Kiowa's like to pick Kiowa's, Poncas pick Poncas, and so on. It seems that there is favoritism in different areas depending on what tribe puts on the powwow.
From what I've picked up on from ten different southern folks, it's better to mix the judges up equally from the north and the south to get a fair contest. Any thoughts on this?

Do you think this person was trying to get me to custom pick the judges so one of her relatives or friends or even herself would place high?
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Old 08-30-2001, 12:40 AM   #31
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Ooooooh Hoksila...just stir up some controversy here!!! Well, we were all way too pleasant to each other anyway here in the Buckskin Dancing Category. Aaaaayyyy!
Just kidding! Great subject for some different opinions! What do you all think?
Please lend your thoughts!
I'm gonna step back and listen to what you all think, cause I have some very definite opinions on this, but I want to listen first.
Hoksila had a good point on mixing up the judges...what do you think?
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Old 08-31-2001, 03:52 PM   #32
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Scared everybody off,eh?
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Old 08-31-2001, 06:15 PM   #33
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Ok! I know I probably shouldn't do this cause there is gonna be problems, but.....I went to the Edisto Pow-Wow this year in March, and I competed. I had lost to a white lady who was allowed to compete in womens fancy and in ladies traditional. She had filled in for womens fancy cause they were short and turned around and danced traditional. Needless to say she won in both...HOW? I judged her fancy and she was hopping around the circle and as for the other judges, they were pretty new dancers and did not know much where I have been dancing for about 6 years and been to alot of powwow's and seen many different dancers?! They ( the people who put on the powwow) said they could not do anything it was too late and I should have caught it sooner! HOW? When I was dancing...what am I to do stop dancing and say "hey she shouldn't dance again in competition?" I was so upset and crying cause of this. I later found out that she was a newly wed....should she win because of that or because of her dance style? It made it to where I don't feel like dancing anymore. I was discouraged by this "powwow"!
As to the Nanesmond powwow, I didn't dance at this one cause I had to be a "drum momma" and a momma to my kids. But my mom did dance and a few people I know did too. It was ok! There was this drum that kept on getting a eagle whistle blown on this one particular song they sang about 50 million times, and it's one that alot of VA drums sing ( not all just some)and it was old. And as to the AD...I have known him for years and I remember one year ...last year, he was not going to let me dance cause I was not in regalia.....well hello! I was pregnant, and my regalia was not going to fit me. Then the MC ( we all know him) had to let the AD know about himself.
I have grown up around the VA powwow's and I notice how they have changed so much. I have come to enjoy the NC, SC, MD, and still a few VA powwow's but not the older one's I grew up around. I hope that I have not offended anyone but this is how I feel.
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Old 09-01-2001, 11:14 AM   #34
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Well, NDN gal...that just sounds like a bummer! I know how you feel when you are frustrated to tears about something (it's a woman thing...)! That's so unfortunate because Pow-Wows should bring you joy and fellowship and some money, if you are lucky.
My revenge against being treated badly or seeing some blatant favoritism or downright crookedness is to do what you just did...tell everyone! Also I just boycott that dance in the future...I just won't consider going back. I know it is hard whn it is a dance you have been going to all your life...but when things change and the whole dance is in the hands of people who are not conducting themselves in the proper manner...well, it's not the same dance anymore and you can just dis-associate yourself with it. It happens here with an organization that had been revived from the old times about 3 generations ago..but in the last few years too many people who had no business in it starting taking over, and a whole bunch of life long members just flat don't go! It was a huge part of their life and who they were and how they identified themselves...but it had changed. I thought it would be traumatic...but you just go on..knowing that you are right and they are wrong. Anyway...there are plenty of other places to go and people to meet!!!
Anyone else have any comments on the judging thing????!!!! Maybe after this weekend full of Pow-Wows there will be some people who just can't hold their tongues!!!!
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Old 09-01-2001, 11:19 AM   #35
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DWA. do you have any comments on what Hoksila said on page 2???
I sure do....but I'm still gonna wait! I think I need to simmer down a little bit and frame my response....Hoksila...please check back, 'cause you ain't getting out of this so easily!!!!!!
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Old 09-02-2001, 12:51 AM   #36
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I made a mistake. Without realizing it, I inadvertantly posted the message about the southern dancing/judging using Hoksila's login. It was my post - not Hoksila's.

Fairness in judging should be everyone's concern. The integrity of the host of the celebration as well as the HJ or AD is at stake. I have chosen judges for the smoke dance from other than the Iroquois nations and it seemed to sit well with those who danced as well as other Iroquois people. The smoke dance is getting more widespread and other nations are seeing this style of dancing enough that they can judge it. Let's face it folks - we have to move with the times. Many stles of competition are coming into the circle and we just can't stick with judges only from a certain area.AHO!
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Old 09-06-2001, 09:34 PM   #37
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I also don't like the extra glittery stuff and neon colors on today's ladies' dance outfits. I much prefer the more traditional dance outfits. I think they enhance the dance being done. But hey, I'm old fashioned, I guess. It has appeared in many pow wows over the past few years that judges did notice and score the glitter bugs higher than those who did not have the shiny material and gaudy decorations on their outfits. It takes away from the overall presentation in my opinion. I want to see dancers use more traditional colors and materials as a way to educate the public watching them dance as to what is good and meaningful for the tribe and the dancer.

I loved to go to the Tahlequah Pow Wow when I lived in Texas. It IS a big event!!! Now I'm getting used to the pow wow circuit in Northern California. I was happy to see a large continguent of Okla Kiowas at the Three Rivers Pow Wow in Oakdale this summer. There were representatives from all over the country there. That was a wonderful gathering at the new location. We like to camp at the pow wow site and although it was hot, it was fun and good folks.

Take care.



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Old 09-16-2001, 08:50 PM   #38
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All I can say about the people who wear black buckskin, teal green (YES! Saw a gal at Gathering once, few yrs. ago!!) or whatever colored leather ... is they are what my sister would call "Hobbiest Deluxe" !
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Old 09-21-2001, 04:53 PM   #39
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Alright so it's been awhile since the topic was started... but me and my two cents have a couple of things to say on the matter. In response to Kiwehnzii: I totally agree!! I have danced my whole life (granted that it's only 19 years... but hey, that's a lot more than some people) and throughout my years (check me out... trynna be all educated) I have to admit that I've seen some twisted "fairness" on the part of AD's and HJ's... even in respect to some MC's and the favoritism that is in need of a huge blindfold, considering that it's so obivious. But in all aspects, I agree that judges should be picked not based on "region" but by the off chance that they are going to judge rather than hold the clipboard and pen like a poser. I've also come to notice that a lot of "well known" people are picked to judge... as if they are going to judge on fairness. Let's face it, those of us who are blessed enough to place everywhere they decided to grace the arena with their presence (note to readers: I can not raise my hand on this matter), are the same people that are going to fill in 1 2 3 (4, 5... whatever the case may be) with people that have helped them with their regalia, people they've competited with, people they've partied with, and people that are basically "acquaintances" aka buddies. I think that the only time judges should be pre-designated, so to speak, is when there is a special and the family selects these individuals based on personal reasons. Although, yet again, we touch the subject of specials and how suddenly a champion fancy dancer is fully outfitted as a traditional dancer, like they've done it forever (Don't even get me started on this topic....) and low-n-behold they are a champion traditional dancer too. Call it power of being multi-talented... or call it fairness... I'll leave that up to your moral judgment. Overall, I guess I'll have to cross the line and join Kiwehnzii, in the battle.
On another note... "glitter bug" is quite a statement. But I have to agree with shawl lady with this one too. As horrible as it sounds, I've come to the point, where watching "my competitors" step out on the floor, I can look around and hand-pick all of the winners. I suppose, the glitter and glam is certainly an eye-catcher, and in comparison to the night sky, I do have the tendency to look at the brightest star, because as exciting as the first star is, once you make a wish that's about it... it's always those twinklie, sparklers that stand out. Eh?
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Old 10-05-2001, 05:43 PM   #40
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I know this topic is a bit old at this point but I do like what everyone has to say. Myself, I'm a southern traditional cloth dancer, and I just love to dance...plain and simple. I have on occassion had the opportunity to judge, and am grateful for those experiences. This may sound a bit odd, but I've based a lot of my judging mainly on footwork, grace and beauty. Beauty having nothing to do w/glitz and glamour of an outfit one may wear, but how one carrys herself while wearing it. It's disheartening for me to see that in two sense. First of all, I see so many beautiful Indian women and girls out on the pow-wow scene, big glitzy regalia and all, that don't know how to do any of the above, and yet WIN contests! Then there are those w/simple, yet elegant regalia, of true heart, of spirit, tradition and dance that don't get their due recognition...all because of pow-wow politics :( . No integrity. I know of two sisters that dance an old style, and only one has won one contest this whole summer (that I'm aware of so far)! They have grace...they have beauty...they have footwork, therefore (to me) they have heart! Judges...where's the integrity...where's your heart, mind and spirit... :( .
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