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Forum Home - Go Back > General > Native Life > Native Issues Questions about Shawnee Culture Questions about Shawnee Culture

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Old 06-01-2014, 10:01 AM   #1
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Questions about Shawnee Culture

I am interested in learning more about Shawnee culture as it is currently.

Watching Stomp dance video and the various costumes or outfits, I wonder about the traditional and what it might have looked like compared, if there is ever any attempt to remain traditional instead of using non-traditional materials (plastics, etc.) in the outfits.

As well, what is the general opinion of these outfits? Is it something that is considered a "costume" or is it something that has more reverence and respect? I am obviously very lacking in any knowledge of pow wows in general, but want to learn.

I am not native in any way, but am a giver and sympathetic to native american issues, not for any personal gain, just knowledge and learning so that I can be better equipped to speak about these things with people when I give to them.

Thank you!
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyNoKin View Post
I am interested in learning more about Shawnee culture as it is currently.

Watching Stomp dance video and the various costumes or outfits, I wonder about the traditional and what it might have looked like compared, if there is ever any attempt to remain traditional instead of using non-traditional materials (plastics, etc.) in the outfits.

As well, what is the general opinion of these outfits? Is it something that is considered a "costume" or is it something that has more reverence and respect? I am obviously very lacking in any knowledge of pow wows in general, but want to learn.

I am not native in any way, but am a giver and sympathetic to native american issues, not for any personal gain, just knowledge and learning so that I can be better equipped to speak about these things with people when I give to them.

Thank you!
Welcome to Powwows.com Johnny!

First item: Dance regalia should never be called "a costume".

Some dancers make their dance regalia out of traditional materials, and some are more contemporary.

You will see both at most powwows.

At a more ceremonial setting, if you are allowed to attend, you probably will see the more traditional regalia and clothing. It's up to the local tribe and their elders what is appropriate in each situation.


Many good discussion threads to read up here, videos & photos also! Enjoy!
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Old 06-01-2014, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyNoKin View Post
I am interested in learning more about Shawnee culture as it is currently.

Watching Stomp dance video and the various costumes or outfits, I wonder about the traditional and what it might have looked like compared, if there is ever any attempt to remain traditional instead of using non-traditional materials (plastics, etc.) in the outfits.

As well, what is the general opinion of these outfits? Is it something that is considered a "costume" or is it something that has more reverence and respect? I am obviously very lacking in any knowledge of pow wows in general, but want to learn.

I am not native in any way, but am a giver and sympathetic to native american issues, not for any personal gain, just knowledge and learning so that I can be better equipped to speak about these things with people when I give to them.

Thank you!
I will speak in a broad and general sense and address several of your questions

I don't speak for any tribe in particular

As for Materials and staying 'Traditional" That ended when Manufactured goods were introduced to most native people in the last 500 years. Materials change as will taste and fashion such as when the first bolts of cotton cloth was traded for furs. Or Materials such as Wool Broadcloth were traded with us for hundreds of years in some cases we are the only customer to Wool mills in England such as with the 7 band Broad Cloth. Solid prints and the wide spectrum of colors and materials are adopted and used by native peoples everyday such as Japanese silks and brocade cloth that I have used for my Dance Shirts. Czech seed beads have been traded with Native peoples for a long time and some are becoming hard to find!!
So at what point shall we remain Frozen in time??
I know that Reenacters like to go back to a time in the past and recreate a "theme" but we are not Reenacting a time in the past but celebrating and moving forward and as a new material comes along that makes our clothes look keen well it will be adopted and used!

As for the Shawnee, to see what they are doing first you must travel to an area that they still reside in. A large community of Absentee Shawnee are located in and around Little Axe Oklahoma, they still hold many traditional dances including the Stomp dance at several grounds. As for manner of dress and materials they have also traded with the English over the centuries and materials have adapted to meet the taste of the Modern Shawnee.

As for Costumes that is for children to use at Halloween...
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
I will speak in a broad and general sense and address several of your questions

I don't speak for any tribe in particular

As for Materials and staying 'Traditional" That ended when Manufactured goods were introduced to most native people in the last 500 years. Materials change as will taste and fashion such as when the first bolts of cotton cloth was traded for furs. Or Materials such as Wool Broadcloth were traded with us for hundreds of years in some cases we are the only customer to Wool mills in England such as with the 7 band Broad Cloth. Solid prints and the wide spectrum of colors and materials are adopted and used by native peoples everyday such as Japanese silks and brocade cloth that I have used for my Dance Shirts. Czech seed beads have been traded with Native peoples for a long time and some are becoming hard to find!!
So at what point shall we remain Frozen in time??
I know that Reenacters like to go back to a time in the past and recreate a "theme" but we are not Reenacting a time in the past but celebrating and moving forward and as a new material comes along that makes our clothes look keen well it will be adopted and used!

As for the Shawnee, to see what they are doing first you must travel to an area that they still reside in. A large community of Absentee Shawnee are located in and around Little Axe Oklahoma, they still hold many traditional dances including the Stomp dance at several grounds. As for manner of dress and materials they have also traded with the English over the centuries and materials have adapted to meet the taste of the Modern Shawnee.

As for Costumes that is for children to use at Halloween...
OK, well, thank you for that answer and please forgive my ignorance. I am very glad I didn't use the term "costume" with the Shawnee people I'm talking to, so now I've been schooled a bit and know to use the term regalia instead.

I am in contact with the Shawnee tribe (not Absentee) and am most likely going to go to a Pow Wow at some point. Glad to know these things. Right now I feel like a completely stupid white guy who knows nothing and will most likely get laughed at or dirty looks when I go there. My questions are more out of ignorance than anything. And I should have thought about the length of history with which whites have been in contact with native peoples and how products have been in your hands for over 400 years.

I love your quote: Celebrating and Moving Forward. I will have to keep that in mind when I foolishly try to keep the image of native American culture too primitive in my mind. But it is also interesting that some actually do a bit of reenacting and I guess that raises other questions for me.

One thing that strikes me is how some seem to be reverent and totally into the spirit of the dance in videos I've watched and other folks seem to act like they're being forced to be part of something they're not really that interested in, which makes me think "Wow..."

Have not seen but a few videos so that is perhaps a small glimpse of what is out there.

In any case, thank you for your answers. I appreciate learning and the way that you handled my ignorance. Peace!
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JohnnyNoKin View Post
OK, well, thank you for that answer and please forgive my ignorance. I am very glad I didn't use the term "costume" with the Shawnee people I'm talking to, so now I've been schooled a bit and know to use the term regalia instead.

I am in contact with the Shawnee tribe (not Absentee) and am most likely going to go to a Pow Wow at some point. Glad to know these things. Right now I feel like a completely stupid white guy who knows nothing and will most likely get laughed at or dirty looks when I go there. My questions are more out of ignorance than anything. And I should have thought about the length of history with which whites have been in contact with native peoples and how products have been in your hands for over 400 years.

I love your quote: Celebrating and Moving Forward. I will have to keep that in mind when I foolishly try to keep the image of native American culture too primitive in my mind. But it is also interesting that some actually do a bit of reenacting and I guess that raises other questions for me.

One thing that strikes me is how some seem to be reverent and totally into the spirit of the dance in videos I've watched and other folks seem to act like they're being forced to be part of something they're not really that interested in, which makes me think "Wow..."

Have not seen but a few videos so that is perhaps a small glimpse of what is out there.

In any case, thank you for your answers. I appreciate learning and the way that you handled my ignorance. Peace!
The Reenactors I was speaking of are Not Native nor are they looked upon by natives with fondness, actually I would describe it as they are looked upon with Disdain.

As for the Shawnee, they were removed from Indiana, Illinois and places to the east to Indian Territory, some 150 years ago so I am not sure those that you speak of, but I can assure you the main body of the tribes that make up the Eastern Shawnee, Loyal Shawnee and Absentee Shawnee all reside in Oklahoma. That would include Culture, Language and Recognition as a Tribal Nation.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:46 PM   #6
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These are most likely Loyal Shawnees, (Sometimes called Cherokee Shawnees) but are simply known as the Shawnee Tribe now since they had split off from the Cherokee when they became sovereign nation back in 1990 or so when Clinton signed it into law.

I could have the the three confused, but I am still learning.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JohnnyNoKin View Post
OK, well, thank you for that answer and please forgive my ignorance. I am very glad I didn't use the term "costume" with the Shawnee people I'm talking to, so now I've been schooled a bit and know to use the term regalia instead.

I am in contact with the Shawnee tribe (not Absentee) and am most likely going to go to a Pow Wow at some point. Glad to know these things. Right now I feel like a completely stupid white guy who knows nothing and will most likely get laughed at or dirty looks when I go there.

One thing that strikes me is how some seem to be reverent and totally into the spirit of the dance in videos I've watched and other folks seem to act like they're being forced to be part of something they're not really that interested in, which makes me think "Wow..."

In any case, thank you for your answers. I appreciate learning and the way that you handled my ignorance. Peace!
Johnny, you can see people doing all types of things, just like inside a church, let the Creator be their judge, only he knows their hearts. You can see teens out in the arena texting on phones while shuffling their feet...I guess their not frozen in time but it does not look right to me when you have singers providing a song to dance to.

Take it from me, I'm 100% Irish, and attend many powwows and gatherings. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Just be pleasant and respectful. In fact...watch out for people that come up and want to be your instant friend

As people keep seeing you, they will watch you, wonder what your real motivation is. I had a very respected Elder tell me they watch outsiders for a whole year before giving them even the smallest trust.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:31 AM   #8
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Thank you, Amigo...

I have nothing but reverence for Native Americans. I don't have the whole "white guilt" thing as I wasn't personally responsible for anything. But considering what whites have done (and continue to do) over the last 300 years, I do feel that we have a long way to go to give back to them what was taken. A very long, long way to go. And we'll never be able to give back what was taken spiritually or the humanity that was desecrated. I am doing what I can in my own way, giving what I can when it's possible. I've learned the hard way which charities to avoid and have wasted a lot of money on the wrong organizations before getting schooled about that. Dealing directly with the tribe is the best way, they know best what to do with gifts.

Glad that you have found some trust. I know I have a long time to get to that point and that's OK. At 55, I'll be here for a while still.
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