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Old 05-19-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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Indian Princesses - We better start rethinking?

The subject of Indian Princesses has been on powwows.com and many other sites many times. It has been a very debated and often funny discussion. But something interesting happened to me last month that made me totally rethink the issue.

I was at the Unity Powwow at UNCP. This couple came up to me to compliment me and the one lady said that her Mother was and get this: an Indian Princess. And like most of us we roll our eyes and start thinking stuff like "Oh no, not another one of these people and these stories." But before I could start to roll my eyes and look totally disinterested, the lady had her wallet out and showed me a black and white photo of her Mother at a powwow with a crown and a sash (something that we have seen many times). I forgot exaclty what she said but her Mother was Miss somthing something.

Now we all know that there really was no such thing as the Indian Princess and that it was created by Novel writers and sreenplay writers in Hollywood. BUT - in our own infinte wisdom, we sucumbed to this by creating the Indian Princess. We have been doing this for many years by having the pageants via tribes, organizations, powwows, and other sponsors including schools and universities.

We have been doing this so long that the earliest of these pageant winners are now Mothers and even Grandmothers. We call them "Royalty" at powwows and even line them up behind the Flags and give them places of honor and distiction. The list continues to grow with all kinds of titles too. Even the Lumbee have 5 of these positions: Miss Lumbee, Teen Miss Lumbee, Junior Miss Lumbee, Little Miss Lumbee and Mr. Lumbee.

Now we all know that some of these Indian Pageants are different - not based on beauty or such but other things like Native Culture, etc. But all in all most are the same as the White Man's Paegents and based on talent, beauty, poise, etc. with very little emphasis on Native Culture.

So the next time somebody says there Mother or Grandmother was a Indian Princess - if the person is under even 30 or so then maybe you better not redicule them but think about what we created by following the ideas of Hollwood.

Something to think about?
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:29 PM   #2
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would not the proper term then be powwow princess. and most of the time when someone says their gramma was a princess they are cherokee and they mean princess as in for life, a title they were born with. but you do have a valid point. what is this monster we have created?
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:49 PM   #3
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apache indian princess

i started a thread under "chit chat" about an apache indian princess. please look at and view the links i posted.
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Old 05-19-2006, 03:57 PM   #4
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lol i was totaly there and saw her stupid site, thanks for the good laugh,
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Originally Posted by lumbee_warrior
i started a thread under "chit chat" about an apache indian princess. please look at and view the links i posted.
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Old 05-19-2006, 04:03 PM   #5
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Yes, Magiziwomen I thought that too. It is why I waited to post. I wanted to do some serious research. I was shocked to see how many of these Princess titles there are all over the U.S. and Canada. I too thought that many were the "powwow princess" but that is not neccesarily the case. Many have titles that are not "powwow" related. Some even have Tribe titles. They are even given titles like "Queen" and "Princess" and some even have "reigns" for a year or two years if the pageant is not annual. There are literally hunderds of these things going back well over 40 years or so.

And you are right about how they are mentioned or described can be a matter of just semantics. Thus some people can really truly say that there Mom, Aunt, Sister, Grandmother, etc. was a Indian Princess that we created in the 20th and 21st Century.
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:56 PM   #6
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Crowns....

I see your point. You might remember from school that White society has always been hung up on status, class and social standing, that a crown symbolized royalty. I think it is easy to see why uneducated onlookers might see certain traditional women dancers with beaded crowns and think 'royalty'. Yes, we bought into the 'pageant' mentality--a White institution. It's hard to remain true to the virtues of our ancestors, like "Unsiiciyapi = humility" which are the foundation of our culture, when Western ideals place such a high value on competitiveness. Pilamaye
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Old 05-20-2006, 01:05 AM   #7
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yeah I have friend that was one of the first Miss Cherokee Nation....who has grandchildren now. I would love for them to tell everyone that their grandma was a Cherokee Princess, and for once it could be true. ;P
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beccarator
The subject of Indian Princesses...Now we all know that some of these Indian Pageants are different - not based on beauty or such but other things like Native Culture, etc. But all in all most are the same as the White Man's Paegents and based on talent, beauty, poise, etc. with very little emphasis on Native Culture.
As part of their fundraising, some powwow committees have aspiring princesses sell raffle tickets. The contestant who sells the most raffle tickets becomes the princess. Of course, family and friends help out....which makes it a good money generating venture. My question...based on culture, talent, beauty, poise?
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Old 05-20-2006, 04:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moochwah
As part of their fundraising, some powwow committees have aspiring princesses sell raffle tickets. The contestant who sells the most raffle tickets becomes the princess. Of course, family and friends help out....which makes it a good money generating venture. My question...based on culture, talent, beauty, poise?
I know I'd much rather see a 2006 Eagle Butte Princess than a 2006 Budweiser Princess! :)
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:07 PM   #10
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Yeah that raises money for a good cause but it creates a "princess" title based on what merit?

I had a family member that sat on the LRDA years ago that dissaproved of the massive Lumbee titles that we have. This was some time ago and he felt that it would get even more commercial and less cultural (not that it really was cultural seeing that pageants are White Society Culture). He was right as it has become totally commercial.

I know that for some Tribes it is a Scholarship Pageant just like many City, Region, State and National ones and at least that is good. But that means that there children, grandchildren and others can say my so and so and was Indian Princess and we better not give them a hard time becuase they would be telling the truth.
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