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Old 05-24-2004, 10:39 PM   #1
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Drum in the middle.

At the annual Kiowa Gourd Clan, and at the other Kiowa society dances the drum is not smack-dab in the middle of the circle where the dancers need to move. (Probably not healthy anyway with sharp lances dancing about and weapons going off...hehe (toh-kohn-gah))

I think that my personal respect-o-meter is going to go sky high for the first dance I go to where the drum is NOT in the middle of the arena (for the gourd dancing session). It may be customary for the drum to be in the center for other tribe's type of dancing. It's not so for the Kiowa gourd dance.

Has anyone been to a dance where the drum has not replaced the night-time bon-fire?
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Old 05-25-2004, 01:50 AM   #2
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Well, I do not doubt the drum in the middle of the arena has to do with the tendency of most host/southern drums being in the middle at most dances in OK. I would say that the logistics of moving the head singer and his boys out of the center for gourd and then back for intertribals is probably a factor as well.

I know I have seen gourd sessions outside of OK with the drum on the side, but unfortunately most of the dancers have never been to Kiowa country and were pretty lost and even commented that it just felt awkward to them that the drum was not in the middle. Now I do have to say that at these dances all the drums wear already out on the sides through the whole dance.

I got a couple of questions to go with the original post.

Do you think the fact that at the Kiowa ceremonials the drum being on the side has anything to do with the fact that the Kiowa started out up north and moved south? Is this tradition a remnant of the Kiowa's northern roots?

Next...Would you really want to see all the powwow gourd dances doing things exactly as the Kiowa do, since the meaning for many in attendance is not the same as it is to the Kiowa?
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:56 AM   #3
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Talking Red Buffalo Hall

They have the drum in the middle when they have dances at red buffalo hall. when it ceremonial time the drum is on the east side.
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Old 05-25-2004, 12:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powwowbum49
..the logistics of moving the head singer and his boys out of the center for gourd and then back for intertribals is probably a factor as well.
That is probably the reason for it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by powwowbum49
..most of the dancers have never been to Kiowa country and were pretty lost and even commented that it just felt awkward to them that the drum was not in the middle.
I can empathize. It's kinda awkward having the drum in the middle for some of us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by powwowbum49
Do you think the fact that at the Kiowa ceremonials the drum being on the side has anything to do with the fact that the Kiowa started out up north and moved south? Is this tradition a remnant of the Kiowa's northern roots?
Sounds interesting. I'm not a historian. The Kiowas come from up north. Yes. Does that affect the placement of the drum. I don't know. There are some good historians on these boards, though. I hope one will be able to answer that question. I'd like to know, too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by powwowbum49
Next...Would you really want to see all the powwow gourd dances doing things exactly as the Kiowa do, since the meaning for many in attendance is not the same as it is to the Kiowa?
hmmm...the gourd dance is Kiowa. Do I want the Kiowa gourd dance to be done exactly like the Kiowa gourd dance? hehe

I know that some folks believe that the gourd dance is theirs. I cannot travel back in time to prove whether it is or it is not. I can only believe what my ancestors told me, that it is Kiowa, and respect the thoughts of others that feel it is theirs also. But, for those that are knowingly dancing the Kiowa gourd dance, yes...it'd be good if the dance were kept faithfully.

If my great-grandparents were alive today and attended a gourd session, would they recognize it? How many small changes accumulating over time before what we call a 'gourd dance' no longer shares enough similarities with the original so as to have its strongest connection be simply the name?

I'd still like to attend a gourd session at some dance where the drum was not in the middle.
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Old 05-25-2004, 02:40 PM   #5
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Good Thread

I know that in my Travels I have seen the Drum in the middle, to the side, and other places (raised platform or stage, orchestra like pit, docks, etc.) for Gourd Dances and regular Events.

Not sure what the original protocal would be as Zotigh mentions that we can not go back in time.

But with so many dances being in so many places (check out the thread about the most unusal place to powwow) logisitics and space often determines were the Drums and even the Dancing is going to be anymore.
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Old 05-25-2004, 05:48 PM   #6
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It's an interesting topic to me because, although it appears to be an issue of simple drum placement, this placement of the drum in the middle has had a ripple of effects on the dance itself.

In Kiowa gourd dancing, one is expected to move about the circle in no certain direction, and to not stay in one place for the whole dance. The whip-man is there to ensure this. The drum out of the middle gives more room to move about, and counters the tendency to meander clockwise around the drum as in war dancing. Having the drum to one side also removes the focus from the drum.

Have you seen at some dances where when the drum reaches the heavy beat all the dancers will face the drum as if it's somehow part of the gourd dancing ritual?

Or how at some dances some of the dancers will line up in columns and dance around the drum...gourd dancing, but in a war dance procession?

How about other dances where all the gourd dancers just stand in place around the edge of the arena, rarely moving from their spots unless there is a honoring?

The drum in the middle for gourd dancing has in many ways contributed to the changes taking place in the dance.

These are my observations.
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:38 AM   #7
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Excellent

Excellent Zotigh.

Those are fantastic examples of how Drum placement effects everything and can really upset the flow of what is to be going on.

I have seen similar things happen many times not just with Gourd Dancing, but with other special dances like some Traditional Dances of The South East Nations (my cultural area).

In your examples, the Drum in the middle, almost makes one think that it is not even Gourd Dancing taking place.
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:42 AM   #8
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Thank you, Tom.

I'm glad someone else see's the effect.
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Old 05-26-2004, 02:30 AM   #9
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Scott

I do agree with you that with the drum in the middle, it does limit the movement of the dancers and tends to cause, those that have never had the chance to go down to kiowa country for one of the gourd dances, to dance in more of a war dances fashion. But I see this more of a lack of traveling/learning on the dancers part rather than the placement of the drum. Yes, the physical limitation of space and the drum taking up a large area of the floor is problematic, but it can be overcome by the dancers if they choose to.

Some of the things that you mentioned are not just being done but also being taught. I have seen folks outside of Kiowa country teaching others that there are certain ways to dance these songs. That as the song starts, one sort of shuffles from side to side until the first hard beat at which point they slowly dance forward until the tempo picks up. At that point they are to stop and begin 'bouncing'/dancing in place until the next hard beat when they can start moving forward again and so on. Always progressing toward the drum in the middle.

So do the other tribes that also claim to be the originators of the gourd dance, or the tribes/groups that they have given the dance to also have the drum on the side at their dances? I have never attended any of their gourd dances? If so then this could also be the reason that the drum is regularly seen in the middle. And more over, since other tribes also claim gourd dance do/should they also dance it the same as the Kiowa?

Now as to my last question in my prior post. What I was trying to get at was that if every gourd dance you went to was danced just like at Kiowa Gourd Clan, then would the Gourd Clan dance still hold as much meaning, since it's members could then get most of the same things at every other dance they attended? Yes, the every little change can add up over time, but isn't the Gourd Clan dance really a time for the Kiowa's to be Kiowa and celebrate that unity. So then isn't the fact that the dance there is different from most all the others, a good thing?
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Old 05-26-2004, 12:05 PM   #10
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Is the gourd dance public domain or tribal property?

Depending on how you personally think of the dance ownership will pretty much answer your own question regarding whether we should try to keep the gourd dance true to its origins or not.

As I said before...for those knowingly dancing the Kiowa gourd dance, I'd like to see them keep it faithfully.
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Old 05-26-2004, 03:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotigh
As I said before...for those knowingly dancing the Kiowa gourd dance, I'd like to see them keep it faithfully.
I can most definately agree with that, and would add that I would like to see them educate others on how they know to dance the dance, just as we have been doing here. Giving folks things to think about. Just maybe that can slow the tide of 'little changes'.

This has been a good thread ... good rep to you ole boy!
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Old 05-27-2004, 02:04 AM   #12
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I have a memory of being in Carnegie, OK in '92 while I was stationed in Ft. Sill. Late July, my wife and I went to Carnegie for a dance. I was invited to sing with some friends. I sat at the center drum. The Cozads had their drum set up near the stage, we were in the gym, at the edge of the area where the dance was.

I know that I sat at the drum to help Joe Cozad sing at the '92 CIVA gourd dance. The drum was in the center.

I guess I'm saying all of this to say that it is difficult for others to learn these correctness's if the correctness is not practiced in the locals own backyard.

Just my thoughts and observations. I too was not aware of this drum protocol.
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Old 05-27-2004, 02:21 AM   #13
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I want to ask for forgiveness for my ignorance not disrespect for the Cozad family. I just read in another thread about a passing that I was unsure of. I had heard of his illness but was not sure of his passing. I was told that his Wife had passed, not him.

Again I ment no disrespect in my previous posting.
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Old 05-27-2004, 04:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEROSAGE
I guess I'm saying all of this to say that it is difficult for others to learn these correctness's if the correctness is not practiced in the locals own backyard.
.
COsage:

When the Kiowa gourd clans/Tia Piah societies and Black leggings meet formally, this is "Ceremony."

When a gourd dance is done as part of the powwow, it is not ceremony.


The context of ceremony changes things.

__

An example you can relate to . . .

When the stomp grounds of Arbeka, Stoke's and Duck Creek are observing Green Corn and they stomp dance, this is ceremony.

When they are stomp dancing at OU, Copan and Quapaw powwows, it is not ceremony.

(straight dance at Inlonska vs. straight dance at Red Earth etc.)


Does this help?
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:04 AM   #15
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Thanks, I understand that. I would think that if it were appropriate to have the drum on the side the Kiowas would want to do it regularly. This doesn't mean they have to take anything away from their Ceremonial but rather it could enhance the Ceremonial.

Just my thoughts, not to change anything.
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEROSAGE
I have a memory of being in Carnegie, OK in '92 while I was stationed in Ft. Sill. Late July, my wife and I went to Carnegie for a dance. I was invited to sing with some friends. I sat at the center drum. The Cozads had their drum set up near the stage, we were in the gym, at the edge of the area where the dance was.

I know that I sat at the drum to help Joe Cozad sing at the '92 CIVA gourd dance. The drum was in the center.

I guess I'm saying all of this to say that it is difficult for others to learn these correctness's if the correctness is not practiced in the locals own backyard.

Just my thoughts and observations. I too was not aware of this drum protocol.
CIVA isn't that comanche? I though we were talking about Kiowa Cerimonies and the drum placement.
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:56 AM   #17
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True, I was refering to the fact that The Comanches(CIVA) are in the basically from same area of the Kiowas AND they don't place the drum in the middle either. We talk about people from other parts or the rest of the States not doing things the correct way. It has even been mentioned that the farther we dance from the Kiowa country the more we stray from the right proper protocols. That was my only reason for bringing up the CIVA(Comanche) dance out at the fairgrounds.

sorry to muddy the water more than it already is.
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Old 06-02-2004, 01:18 AM   #18
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Regardless of where you've seen the drum placed...whether it be in the middle, to the side, on a stage, or on the moon...

the fact remains that in Kiowa Gourd Dancing the drum in not in the middle where dancers need to dance. The drum, although an integral part of the dance, is NOT the focus of the gourd dance, and in being in the center of the arena does in fact alter the dance itself.

I'd still like to attend a dance where the drum is not smack-dab in the middle of the arena for Kiowa gourd dancing.
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Old 06-06-2004, 12:27 AM   #19
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Hey Zotigh, my family helps to sponsor a little dance here in Sedalia MO July 16-18. Would protocol be inappropriate for us to ask the head singer to set his drum up on the east side of the arena for our Gourd dance session? We Gourd dance on Sat. afternoon from about 1:00pm -about- 4:00pm. We will also Gourd dance prior to each intertribal, but the only appropriate time we could place the drum out of the middle would be the Sat. dance.
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Old 06-06-2004, 02:09 AM   #20
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Gourd Dance is seperate from all other dances. Are you saying you mix in Gourd Dancing with other tribal dances?
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