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-   -   Getting Started (http://forums.powwows.com/f27/getting-started-14851/)

LSS 11-01-2003 09:23 AM

Getting Started
I have question on getting a drum started singing Gourd Dance...

I am by no means a member of a Gourd Dance Society or am I from Oklahoma. However, I have been introduced to the Gourd Dance Ceremony and have sang during a Gourd Dance Ceremony on several occassions.

It has come to me that several young men are interested in singing and while they have an interest in singing southern (and the fact that southern is the only thing I do now) I felt like it was appropriate for them to learn about the Gourd Dance Ceremony as well. I mean, I feel like if anyone is gonna sing Southern they need to learn about the history, origin and all the things that go along with they Oklahoma Native style of singing.

So, I guess my question is this....

Do a Lead (Head) Singer/Group have to have permission from a Gourd Dance Society in order to learn/sing Gourd Dance?

Also, what are some other thoughts on getting a young drum group started with singing? I will also post the same thing in the Southern Singing section.


park 11-03-2003 01:32 PM

I would recommend that these young men attend a few gourd dances before making a decision on learning the songs. Preferably a gourd dance in southwest OK or a dance run by people who know what they are doing, have been doing it for a while, and have been sanctioned by proper societies in OK.

I am not aware of any singer needing permission to sing gourd dance songs, just as I am not aware of a requirement that you be a member to dance. I know of singers in OK who are not society members. It helps, however, for people to know who you are so there is no question about your motivation. Of course, it would be best to learn from the source, not from a set of tapes.

IMHO gourd dance songs are trickier than southern intertribal songs. I say that because a lot are family songs, some have words that should only be used at the appropriate time and place, the songs should be sung in a rough (but understood) order, and they are somewhat different in structure.

By the way, while formal society dances have a lot of tradition and protocol (for lack of better words), I don't think I would typically call a gourd dance a "ceremony."

CHEROSAGE 11-04-2003 01:07 AM

May I recommend that you and your group go to Southwest OK ,ie, lawton/Carnegie area. Go watch, ask to be able to sit in on the drum.

I don't know of any requirements to have special permission to sing these songs. Just learn the correctness of these songs and their general sequence.

The true requirement is to enjoy and have fun!!!!!!

Peacekeeper83 11-08-2003 09:54 PM

I agree with the two previous posts..you cannot just say you are going to be a gourd singer..you have to learn everything about it...Knowing all the family songs...when they are appropriate to sing...when to sing the song with words and without...knowing how to say the words properly...you don't want to offend a family member by butchering their song. Its not an easy road...but one well worth it,if you do it the right way...

SBZ4life 11-09-2003 07:23 PM

I agree with those guys, like I said before. Learn from someone that knows that the heck they are talking about. There are certain songs sung at certain times. It kinda kills the whole mood when someone sings a song out of place. Plus to save a lot of embarrasment, take a year or more to learn these songs, and whatever history they have behind them. THEN you decide if you want to sing em. and forget about drum groups...try the center drum.

Peacekeeper83 11-10-2003 10:23 AM

I agree with SBZ4life...the center drum is the best place to learn...thats where I am learning at...and you usually have alot of experienced singers,who don't mind helping you out.I have had some well known singers sitting next to me..lean over, out of the blue and explain a certain songs history.I think the best advice I can give...is keep a hand held recorder on you and record while you sing...you might end up getting alot of useful history with a few songs ....

Peacekeeper83 11-10-2003 05:08 PM

First....I am not a hobbyist....as I stated..I am with Texas Kiowa Tia Piah....if you know who the Kiowa Tia Piah headsman are...you will know who I was refering to... since I dance at Chieftain Park...and camp behind Hess Bointy...might give you the insight enough to know I am not a hobbyist... its funny you attack who I am...without asking,my Kiowa ties...but I see your point of what has you a bit riled...but you must also accept...the Gourd Dance was given to other people to enjoy...such as the Gourd Clan passing it to the Otoe/Missouri and Osage...or Kiowa Tia Piah passing it to Gulf Coast

LSS 11-10-2003 11:33 PM

Folks....lets please keep this civil. The thread was posted to receive ideas from people on how to best go about learning Gourd Dance. For me, I've been learning on some Gourd Dance material for about a year. And I know I am no where near where I need to be. But in due time, that will come to be. I mean lets face it, a Gourd Dance here on the East Coast is not the same as a Gourd Dance in Oklahoma. However, I think the Gourd Dances here on the East Coast serves there purpose... For many who have to relocate, they love to have that little piece of home with them and I'm sure they really do appreciate it.

I'm having a hard time thinking about things right now...so, I'm gonna say TTFN!


park 11-11-2003 12:15 AM

Dear LSS
Apparently you've missed the point. According to Monie, unless you get permission from her, you can't learn about, much less attend, a gourd dance.

LSS 11-11-2003 08:14 AM

Monie, I'm not going to sit here and argue with you. However, if what you say is true, then you are saying that some of my friends who are Kiowa (and even those of close Kiowa ancestry) do not exist.

That is a pretty bold statement little lady:)

These Kiowas, amongst other people, are sharing things with other people so that they can have that little piece of home while they are away from home. And we share some things with them as well...its a two way street.

Apparently, the issue is not about being Kiowa, Ponca, Osage, Saponi, Tuscarora, Meherrin, etc. The biggest issue these days are whether or not someone is respectful and mature enough to handle the responsibility that goes along with learning something that is not a common practice.


Pawnee Warrior 11-11-2003 12:38 PM

Good reply LSS!
monie professes to be the authority of all Kiowa ways, but I find it odd that you don't even list your tribe on your profile! If anyone here needs to learn about Kiowa ways, I think it's monie! If you looked into things you would discover that indeed the Kiowas did teach and give permission to a few other tribes to perform the gourd dance. Learn your own history before you jump all over others!! Of course, I guess if one were to read your posts, they would see that no one has permission to do anything Kiowa unless you personally give permission.

park 11-11-2003 12:49 PM

Apparently the only real Kiowas with the right to gourd dance are members of Gourd Clan that never leave the park in downtown Carnegie.

That's sure is a small world.

But it doesn't account for the Kiowa Gourd Clan splitting into two, and eventually three, different groups.

mamacat 11-11-2003 05:01 PM

How can you guys be so disrespectful of the Kiowas? How would you like it if someone ripped off your stuff? And the Texas Gulf Coast Tiah Piah bunch are mainly white...tend to look like Disneyland on acid at their powwows, I can tell you.

Monie, I don't think these folks are Indian - not even thin-blood from the way they come across, just pushy as all get out like white folks - old time white folks. Stick to your guns, you're doing great!

Pawnee Warrior 11-11-2003 05:46 PM

hmmmmm....... anyone else get the feeling monie and mamcat just might be the same person? :rolleyes:
I suggest everyone ignore this person and continue the discussion. And monie/mamacat I would love to see you at any other powwow go up to the host gourd clan and inform them they have no right to do that dance! I am not being disrespectful of the Kiowas cuz everyone but you it seems knows they gave other tribes permission years ago to perform the gourd dance. If the tribe has permission then an individual from that tribe has the right to be brought in and dance that dance. They don't have to ask permission again, unless their tribe doesn't have permission. Then by all means you're right and they should ask the right way.

mamacat 11-11-2003 07:06 PM

Pawnee4life, Monie and I are two different people. She's fullblood Kiowa and I'm a mixed rat who hates cultural theft and the arrogance that always goes with it.

If you're really a Pawnee surely you'll understand! How would you like it if someone played with things sacred to the Pawnee, then stamped their feet & threw temper tantrums when Pawnee people objected?

I doubt the Kiowas gave away their dances to anyone & everyone. And why try to be something you're not? People who want to live out fantasies should try Hollywood or Disneyland - not things sacred to Native people! PUKE!

LSS 11-11-2003 07:07 PM

monie and momacat,...I think it is wonderful that you too are standing up for your culture. It is very important. But I sincerely feel you are anxious toward the wrong person/people here.

Yes, for someone to exploit someone elses culture is wrong. For someone to participate in someone elses culture is wrong also. However, it is only wrong when this person who is reinacting something not native to them is disrespectful.

Also, monie, I wanna say Thank You! Your post brought out a statement I was looking for. Pawnee4life came up and mentioned how either a tribe can receive permission or that person must get permission each time if his tribe does not have permission. So that in itself, if indeed it is true (and no I'm not calling anyone a lier here), I need to ask permission or wait for an invitation before I go to sit at the Center Drum each time for a Gourd Dance. Thank You!

Now, as a memo to everyone, please lets keep this civil and continue to bring different aspects to the table. I really do appreciate it all as I now have more of a basis to form my conversations w/ my Kiowa, Ponca, Pawnee, etc. friends. As always, more information would be helpful. But please leave the bickering at home or on the PM's.


park 11-11-2003 07:12 PM

Ok, alright already
My point is simply that there are plenty of Kiowas who don't have the same narrow, insular view of the world as expressed by Monie.

Maybe that intolerance is why there are other Kiowa gourd dance societies. As a result, there are other groups who have been given permission by those societies to participate and continue these ways.

But, she knows this already, knows it won't change, doesn't like it, and can't do anything about it. So, there's no hope of changing her mind.

Pawnee Warrior 11-11-2003 10:52 PM

I do not gourd dance nor do I wish to start. If you would calm down a little and read my posts you would see all I was pointing out is that there are indeed some tribes who were given permission to gourd dance. As I stated in my last post if someone is not from a tribe that was given permission then they had better go about the right way and get it!
monie and mamacat, if you are 2 different people then I apologise. There have just been way too many people on here before who have stirred up trouble while using more than one name.

monie 11-11-2003 11:32 PM

This is what I'm against:


powwowbum49 11-12-2003 02:36 AM


I have been reading your flurry of post to every topic that you feel relates to the Kiowa culture. I can tell you are quite proud of your Kiowa people.

Now with that said, I am sure that you realize that for every subject you have commented to, there are other tribes that claim to be the origin of these things just like your tribe does...the gourd dance is a prime example. There are at least 3 other tribes I know of that claim to be the origin of this dance. (I personal believe that the Kiowa can truly claim the origin of gourd dancing, but everyone has an opinion) I do not know for sure but feel it is quite safe to say that the other tribes that claim to be the originators of this dance have also given it to other tribes and yes possibly even to non-native groups. I have seen gourd dancing done all over this country and have even heard very old recording of Blackfoot singers (if memory serves me correctly) from way up north singing a gourd dance song, though it was not sang in gourd dance style. Just because KGC has only given the dance to a small # of tribes, does not mean that it has not been given by other tribes that believe (just as strongly as you do that it is a Kiowa dance) that they started the dance.

I see this as very similar to Jingle dress dancing. I know quite a few Kiowa gals that dance jingle, but as far as I know it is an Anishnabe (sp?) dance. Was that dance given to the Kiowa by the Anishnabe? If not perhaps you should be telling them and everyone from else you see that is not Anishnabe how you feel about them appropriating someone else's dance. Oh yeah, what about fancy shawl did the Kiowa start that one too?

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