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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Men's Dance Styles > Gourd Dance Encyclopedia version of the Gourd Dance Encyclopedia version of the Gourd Dance

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Old 08-02-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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Encyclopedia version of the Gourd Dance

I surf the internet alot and occasional run across bits of information that i have to share.
I was reading this entry in the encyclopedia and it struck me that there were things in here that I have never heard of!
I am no expert and do not claim to know everything, that is not possible.
So when i read some things in this entry i wanted to share them to see if they have any basis for fact...
Afterall it is the Encyclopedia and the majority of people that read it will assume it is factual!

1) It mentions the significance of the red and blue colors of our blanket as representing the redman and bluecoats and that now days we put our military ribbons only on the blue part and the ndn motifs on the redpart
Any Comments?

Here is the link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gourd_Dance

Gourd Dance

A Northern Ute dancer performs the Gourd Dance to "cleanse" the arena for the powwow grand entry, while women "nurture" their warriors from the sideline. The dancer depicted here is Clifford Duncan of the Northern Ute Tribe, the religious leader of the North American Native American Church in Utah.The Gourd Dance is a type of dance performed by some Native American nations, especially those of the Southern Plains region of the United States. Though often associated with a pow-wow, the Gourd Dance has its own unique style and customs. Gourd Dancing may precede the pow-wow, or it can be a separate event, not directly connected with a pow-wow. The Gourd Dance and the traditions of the Native American Church (NAC) evolved together, with the Gourd Dance incorporating many elements found in the NAC religion, including peyote rattles, waterbird symbolism, and the red and blue sash, which are also the official colors of the Native American Church.

Participation

A Warriors (Male) Gourd Dance Eagle Fan. This Gourd Dance Shield Fan is made from immature bald eagle feathers. The handle of this fan was made from the branch of a tree struck by lightning, and the handle of the fan has been stitched, bound, and fringed with bison hide.The Gourd Dance originated with the Kiowa tribe, and is traditionally considered a society dance for veterans and their families. One must be aware that this dance is primarily a "man's" dance, meaning a dance for men. Women participate by dancing in place behind their male counterparts and outside the perimeter formed by the men. There is a misconception about this being a veterans' dance but it is not required to be a veteran to participate.. There are two primary warrior societies that participate in the Gourd Dance, one is the Kiowa Black Leggins and the other the Commanche Little Ponies. The dance in the Kiowa Language is called "ti-ah pi-ah" which means "ready to go, ready to die".

Many Gourd Dances allow anyone to participate if they are willing to follow the appropriate customs. However, only veterans are typically inducted into the Tiah Piah Black War Shield Gourd Society as society membership has always been confined to warriors. The Kiowa consider this dance as their dance since it was given to them by "Red Wolf". It has spread to many other tribes and societies, most of which do not have the blessing of the Kiowa Elders. Some gourd societies do not distinguish race as a criteria, and even non-Indian veterans can and are inducted into the Gourd Society. Many participants may be older men, and the dance is less energetic and less physically demanding than most pow-wow dances. Another distinction between Gourd Dancing and pow-wow dancing is that it is common for the Gourd Dancers to be dressed in "western" attire (for example jeans and cowboy boots or sneakers) rather than in full dance regalia. Some of the Gourd Dances that are held go on all afternoon and on into the evening when it finally cools off enough so that more energetic Intertribal dances can begin. Some Tribal dances feature only Gourd Dancing.

[edit]
Dress

A Warriors (Male) Gourd Dance Shawl. Military Decorations are affixed to the blue half of the shawl and Native American motifs and patches are affixed to the red half of the shawl. This shawl belongs to a Cherokee and has an emblem of the sacred spider, the bringer of the sacred fire to the Cherokee People.The dress of a Gourd Dancer is characterized by three major items: a gourd sash or vest, a fan of Eagle or Hawk Feathers, and a rattle, which is traditionally made from a gourd or a large 2-3 inch diameter aluminum salt shaker filled with buckshot and mounted on a beaded handle. The rattle is carried in the dancer's right hand. The fan is carried in the dancer's left hand. The gourd rattle typically has peyote-stitch beadwork on the handle. The gourd sash is tied around the waist. Alternatively, a gourd blanket may be worn over the shoulders, or a specially made vest may be worn. The sash is not worn together with the vest or blanket. The vest or blanket has two colors: red and blue, with one color being worn over each shoulder. Sometimes the vest or blanket will feature a design or emblem, usually in the center where the two colors meet. This may be a simple set of red-white and blue stripes, or the decorations may depict items related to the dance, such as an image of a beaded rattle. They may also have a personal or religious meaning to the dancer wearing them.

The Gourd Dance sash colors symbolize the union between the army of the Indians (red) and the army of the Bluecoats (Blue). By tradition, military medals and decorations are placed on the blue section of the sash, and Indian motifs, patches, and tribal insignia are pinned or sewn onto the red section of the sash.

[edit]
Music and choreography

Both a Man's (right) and Womans (left) Gourd Dance Necklaces. The Man's Necklace is made from Buffalo horn pipe, red mescal beans, bear claws, and elk teeth to represent long life. The Woman's Necklace is made from the long wing bones of a bald eagle, red mescal beans, and eagle talons. Both of these particular necklaces also use 150 year old French trade beads called Chevrons.Like pow-wow dancing, Gourd Dancing is performed in a circular arena. The drum is usually located in the center of the arena, though it can occasionally be located off to one side. The dancers take their place around the perimeter of the area, facing inward to form a circle around the drum. During most of the song, the dancers dance in place, lifting their feet in time to the drumbeats, and shaking their rattles from side to side. At certain points in the singing, the drum plays a set of harder beats, known as honor beats. At this point, the dancers will dance a short distance from their spots, returning to face the center as the honor beats subside back into the main rhythm of the song.

Typically, the dance begins at noon, and the opening song (referred to as a "Calling Song") is performed first. This song involves only the leader of the Gourd Society dancing alone. The Gourd Dance Leader then invites (calls) the other dancers to join the dance. Four rounds of four songs each are performed in a traditional Gourd Dance with breaks in between each round. The final dance song of a Gourd Dance is called the "Buffalo" song and concludes a Gourd Dance session. Most pow-wows that feature Gourd Dancing will host two Gourd Dance sessions per day. Gourd Dancers always use Southern Drums. Tribes which dance in the Northern Drum style do not typically perform Gourd Dances.

The dance is rich with symbolism. It is believed by some Native Groups that the performance of the dance "cleanses" the arena prior to the pow-wow.[1], however, by Gourd Dance tradition, it is typically customary for the Native Tribe on whose ancestral lands the dance is performed on to bless the dance grounds prior to a Gourd Dance. The shaking of the gourds from side to side also represents the sound of the bullets of the battle, the drum in the center is a symbol of the battle and the sounds of the hooves of the horses and cannon fire, and the eagle fan is a symbol of the shield of the warrior. Gourd Dance necklaces and bandeliers are often made from brass bullet casings and red mescal bean (Sophora Secundiflora) with bone pipe and buffalo horn.

[edit]
Blanket Dance

A Man's (Warriors) Gourd Dance bandelier and both Gourd and Salt Shaker Gourd Rattles. The man's bandelier is made from buffalo bone pipe, red mescal beans, nickel beads which symbolize bullets, and the tail of an American bison and a shell mirror. This bandelier also incorporates buffalo head nickels and several large glass trade beads.During the Gourd Dance, the Gourd Dance leader will at times select widows of veterans, young native american men entering military service, or older veterans from the audience or who are Gourd Dancing to be honored. The person chosen is led in a clockwise direction around the drum in the center of the dance, then stands to the right side of the Gourd Dance leader facing the drum. A blanket is spread on the ground, and the gourd dancers will each face the drum and remove several dollar bills from their pocket and place them on the blanket and shake the hand of the person being honored. Each dancer will then form a dance line after they place the money (or sometimes food ad other items) on the blanket and line up to the right side of the Gourd Dance leader. The person being honored stays until all the gourd dancers are formed into a single line. The drum then changes its beat to "honor beats" and the dancers will dance in-place throughout the remainder of the current song. After the song concludes, the person being honored will collect the money, food, and other items. This practice grew out of the Kiowa and Native American Church custom of honoring the war widows and their families for the sacrifice of their loved one.
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Last edited by Josiah; 08-02-2006 at 12:40 PM..
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:47 PM   #2
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What an incredible load of garbage.

And, they use "Kiowa" about a zillion times to justify their twirly-crystal interpretations.

I tried editing the sections removing the most blatantly bizzarre items and the original author started to immediately restore their erroneous post.

That thing is so full of errors it's shameful.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:30 PM   #3
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The very scary part about this entry in the encyclopedia is that it seems to be legitimate
They reference several links for there facts and this makes it seem legit
Things like this bothers me becasue it perpetuates LIES and half truths under the guise of scholary postings
I have the same problem with History books in schools across the country that say that Columbus discovered America
hahahahah
As if we were the ones that was freaking LOST!!!!
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiah
I have the same problem with History books in schools across the country that say that Columbus discovered America
they don't even have that right from what I can tell as pertaining to Europeans. The Vikings came first. Go over to Heavener and check out the big Rune Stone there.
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:53 PM   #5
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thats like going into a museum and the items are labeled wrong lol.....and it really hurts that people believe what they read or see without the proper research.....we have on the market "indian how to books and dvd's" and you can tell who is reading and watching them lol....(getting off soapbox) hahahaha
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Old 08-02-2006, 07:32 PM   #6
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I has able to edit them again. Removed most of the totally inaccurate content. But, ... it's Wikipedia, so any one in the world can change the content.


But, thanks for the heads-up, Josiah.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotigh
I has able to edit them again. Removed most of the totally inaccurate content. But, ... it's Wikipedia, so any one in the world can change the content.


But, thanks for the heads-up, Josiah.
Your welcome Scott
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:58 AM   #8
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What a joke!


I wonder who the researcher is and what qualifies him/her to write about this subject.


Hmmmmmmm?
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:34 PM   #9
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What a joke!


I wonder who the researcher is and what qualifies him/her to write about this subject.


Hmmmmmmm?
They once spoke to an Northern Ute according to the entry

Typical misconceptation that has been around for centuries
If your NDN you know all about alllllllll stuff NDN...
And when you say that is not part our your tribe they always give you that funny look.
hahahahaha
When i first meet people that are not NDN they always ask these Questions:
1) I hear that NDN's get money for being NDN???
2) We have Free Medical for life and
3) We can go to College for free
And the Bonus one is after they discover I am Cherokee
MY Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Princess!!!
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josiah
When i first meet people that are not NDN they always ask these Questions:
1) I hear that NDN's get money for being NDN???
2) We have Free Medical for life and
3) We can go to College for free
Josiah,

It is up to you and I and every Indian on powwows.com to reeducate the dominant society.

When (albeit "ignorant") people ask me these three questions I retort with this,

"I don't know of a single Indian that doesnt' pay taxes. The things you said that are given to us "FREE" were actually paid for with our lives and our lands and through treaties, which are the law of the land like the constitution. Everyone of our treaties with the United States government was broken. The majority of these treaties include language pertaining to our ownership of the lands you are standing and living on.

If they were ever honored, most of these lands would be returned back to the proper owners... the Indian people."


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Old 08-09-2006, 11:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
Josiah,

It is up to you and I and every Indian on powwows.com to reeducate the dominant society.

When (albeit "ignorant") people ask me these three questions I retort with this,

"I don't know of a single Indian that doesnt' pay taxes. The things you said that are given to us "FREE" were actually paid for with our lives and our lands and through treaties, which are the law of the land like the constitution. Everyone of our treaties with the United States government was broken. The majority of these treaties include language pertaining to our ownership of the lands you are standing and living on.

If they were ever honored, most of these lands would be returned back to the proper owners... the Indian people."


WhoMe
Well Said WhoMe!

I have replied in a similiar fashion and went on to remind them that of all the minorities in this country We have the highest percentage of veterans in our numbers...
So not only have you been given these things but we pay it back with the blood of our sons and daughters 100 times over!
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Both a Man's (right) and Womans (left) Gourd Dance Necklaces. The Man's Necklace is made from Buffalo horn pipe, red mescal beans, bear claws, and elk teeth to represent long life. The Woman's Necklace is made from the long wing bones of a bald eagle, red mescal beans, and eagle talons. Both of these particular necklaces also use 150 year old French trade beads called Chevrons.
Huh?? I miss out on all the good stuff.


And what the heck is "sacred spiritual totems"??
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:09 AM   #13
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Gourd Dance

Hello to all:

Last year I went to a powwow in AR. For the first time ever, I really enjoyed it, the music and singing felt like it beat down to my soul.

I asked a gent about the gourd dance and he gave me some information, he asked me if I was a warrior and I informed him that I was a Vet. He then asked me if I would like to join the dance, but I felt that I had turn him down it did feel right at the time. I went to another Pow wow this year in MO. And I would like to join the dance but it did not feel right because I did not have the proper dance shawl or any of the other items that these gents had. I have been trying to find what I need but there is no information that I feel comfortable with.

Can anyone tell me what I need for the proper dress to dance in a Gourd Dance.

Thank You
Eric
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Old 06-06-2007, 12:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Thunderbird View Post
Hello to all:

Last year I went to a powwow in AR. For the first time ever, I really enjoyed it, the music and singing felt like it beat down to my soul.

I asked a gent about the gourd dance and he gave me some information, he asked me if I was a warrior and I informed him that I was a Vet. He then asked me if I would like to join the dance, but I felt that I had turn him down it did feel right at the time. I went to another Pow wow this year in MO. And I would like to join the dance but it did not feel right because I did not have the proper dance shawl or any of the other items that these gents had. I have been trying to find what I need but there is no information that I feel comfortable with.

Can anyone tell me what I need for the proper dress to dance in a Gourd Dance.

Thank You
Eric
May I suggest you do some reading in this website and more specifically within the Gourd Dance thread!
It should take a few weeks depending on your time you have to read...

Then may I suggest you plan on taking a trip to Carnegie Oklahoma or 6 miles South to Chieftain Park sometime between July 1 and July 4th...
And just watch... after a while perhaps go up and politely ask questions of things you dont understand
Most will be helpful some won't as is there right...
This is the important part

Do not go there with the thought that you will DANCE because you have read this website!!!

If have read all the posts on this website like the History of the Gourd Dance that Zotigh posted a while ago and others that describe what we wear and MORE importantly WHY we wear these things.
It will help you with WHAT kind of questions to ask
And more importantly you will actually get answers that will be helpful

An example of what I am saying is the fact you called what you thougt was a Shawl around the men's shoulders
Actually only Women wear Shawls
We wear a blanket or more specifically a Gourd blanket
If you had said that to a man at one of these dances you would have embaressed your self...

I say these things because i hate seeing people stumble around and get into trouble
If you dont heed my advice
So be it
I have done my best
And another thing
It is not a Veterans Dance!!!
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:51 AM   #15
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That Wiki article is crazy.

They delete the real content and put up their make-believe gourd dance explanation.

I've spent an hour hashing through some of it, but...honestly...it's sad. Those folks have taken a liking to our dance are doing all they can to make it theirs.

They even removed accurate history of the Gourd Dance, calling it 'plaguarized', in order to hide any real history which bunks their made-up version.

I honestly think there should be a new dance created by those folks. Call it the 'Salt Shaker Dance' and then go to town describing how it cleanses arenas and clears sinuses and how men, women and household pets can dance together (so long as the pets are veterans, of course). All wearing tennis shoes and baseball caps with matching colours.

bah

It's a shame.

It'd be funny if it weren't so sad.
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Old 06-08-2007, 02:12 PM   #16
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I agree Scott, what you said was funny, but the reference is not. It's just one of the many many reasons I never use Wikipedia for anything pertaining to researching any type of information. It's all written by members, who may or may not have accurate knowledge of what they're writing about. I know it's supposed to be a "people's encyclopedia", but I rarely trust it's content. And this is a fine example of that.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:55 AM   #17
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Not that it matters...but, I posted an edit which will not survive on Wiki for very long;

Quote:
==For the record==

It feels as though us Kiowa folks are a nuisance to you.

We're still here. We still own the dance that you apparantly want to take for your own.

We know why we dance Gourd Dance. We know where it comes from. We know the rituals and meanings to our dance.

Reading all your made-up modern explanations of our ancient dance and seeing you edit and censor our comments to smother our ownership with your plaguarism of our dance is just sad.

It feels like you want to honour native traditions by seizing them for your own and making up any unknown history of them with your 'interpretations'. All the while the owners of our dance are here reading and making entires to help clarify the meanings. I've seen several accurate entries of theirs deleted because they did not agree with your made-up entries.

You don't seem to care about any tribal ownership of culture. It seems that you've painted yourself into a corner. Already having made up 'tribal knowledge' of your own to explain what you did not know about our dance, you hasten to edit entries by tribal folks which disagree with your fantasy.

What this Wikipedia entry becomes in future is anyone's guess. But, judging today by the edits made by non-native folks regarding our dance which they plaguarize and submit entries towards jutifying their theft of tribal property, the bet is that the folks reading this entry in future will not gain a single vestige of factual information regarding our ancient dance.

Hoorah! You've stolen our land. Our language. Our hertage. And, now our culture.

I'm sure history will judge you as some sort of hero.
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Old 06-12-2007, 06:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotigh View Post
Not that it matters...but, I posted an edit which will not survive on Wiki for very long


Quote:
==For the record==

It feels as though us Kiowa folks are a nuisance to you.

We're still here. We still own the dance that you apparently want to take for your own.

We know why we dance Gourd Dance. We know where it comes from. We know the rituals and meanings to our dance.

Reading all your made-up modern explanations of our ancient dance and seeing you edit and censor our comments to smother our ownership with your plagiarism of our dance is just sad.

It feels like you want to Honor native traditions by seizing them for your own and making up any unknown history of them with your 'interpretations'. All the while the owners of our dance are here reading and making entires to help clarify the meanings. I've seen several accurate entries of theirs deleted because they did not agree with your made-up entries.

You don't seem to care about any tribal ownership of culture. It seems that you've painted yourself into a corner. Already having made up 'tribal knowledge' of your own to explain what you did not know about our dance, you hasten to edit entries by tribal folks which disagree with your fantasy.

What this Wikipedia entry becomes in future is anyone's guess. But, judging today by the edits made by non-native folks regarding our dance which they plagiarize and submit entries towards justifying their theft of tribal property, the bet is that the folks reading this entry in future will not gain a single vestige of factual information regarding our ancient dance.

Hoorah! You've stolen our land. Our language. Our heritage. And, now our culture.

I'm sure history will judge you as some sort of hero. ;


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When I first ran across this entry in Wikipedia I was amazed at the total inaccuracy.
Later I read another news story about this website that students are warned not to use this website for use in research because of the inaccuracy and unverified information!!!
The word is getting out and I hope that through this it will cause the website to rethink what they are calling "Information".
If not, then eventually no one will listen to them and not use them...
And they will fade away as simply an oddity, while we are still here.
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:05 PM   #19
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BTW
If you do a search today of Gourd Dance the article I posted to start this thread in Wikipedia is the top result and still has the same inaccurate information of people that live and dance in California farrrr from Oklahoma!!
But the second result makes me happy to see!!!
History of a Warrior?s Dance?Gourd Dancing - ICTMN.com
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:01 PM   #20
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Red & blue humor

Wallace Coffee, Comanche, was Emceeing at a powwow one time, and he commented on the red and blue blanket. He said, "Well we survived the red coats; then we survived the blue coats!" bwahaha
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