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Old 10-21-2005, 04:39 AM   #1
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Gourd at a Contest.

It's like sour to sweet.

Gourd dance is open to all and God help the dolt who ever makes a contest category of Gourd Dance.

I'm not a fan of 'contest' pow-wows. I understand that they are out there. But, when I see our dance part of them, it does not seem right.

Gourd dance is not a part of a 'contest'. How you can have a gourd dance along with your contest dance seems odd.

Contest dances charge admission, they have to...to pay the awards paid to the dancers, yet a dance where there is a Gourd Dance should be open to anyone wanting to attend. When you charge to attend to a dance that has a Gourd Dance....geez...::places blanket over head::

c'mon, folks. Not against contest dances. Why are you trying to add ceremonial dance to your contest? Stop. No elder is encouraging you to do so. Just stop.

Do your contest thingy. No one is stopping you. Just don't add our dance to your commercial fee paid admission contest.

You'll say, "we let gourd dancers in to dance for free".

LOL YAY! :P

How 'bout all the folks that come to be part of the dance as it was intended?

Contest dances are fun..but, they should not be mixed with ceremonial dances.

Or..I can envision the future where.., "$5 and you can attend an Original Sweat...hereyee...hereyee...come pay to pretend to do an authentic indian sweat and learn to dance gourd dance for another $5."

Prolly best not to commercialize our ceremonies, don't you think?
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:55 PM   #2
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A few years ago, my husband and I became the coordinators for the Navajo Nation Fair powwow. We recognize what people in Indian Communities say about Navajos. So we decided to emphasize our powwow as a Contest powwow with (hopefully) equal representation to Northern and Southern contributions to the modern day powwow. We chose not to have Gourd Dance. Did not advertise it. Did not select a Gourd Dance Drum or Head Dancer.

We were severly criticized by many Gourd Dancers who showed up Friday evening to Gourd Dance. (assuming we were having it.)

Our host Southern Drum was Omaha Whitetail. And Tonkei was one of our M.C. After consulting with them. We decided to have Gourd Dancing Sessions before the powwow Grand Entry. I thank both Tonkei and Mr. Grant for helping us.

I know Gourd Dance is a ceremonial dance, but it has become popular throughout North America. Do you see any resolution to it's unautorized inclusion in powwows not hosted by the Kiowa? What suggestions would you like for my committee and other committees to make for us to follow? I feel that we have no recourse, but to have Gourd Dances prior to Grand Entry. Maybe our committee should only ask Kiowa people to serve as head staff. (If they are willing to.) Maybe we should adequately announce that we will NOT have Gourd Dance at the Fair.

The other issue regarding admission and Gourd Dance at NNF, is the Fair charges admission. In paying your admission, you have admission to the whole fair, not just the powwow. I do not have any discretion in the fair admission. And infact have to pay out of our budget for gate and vehicle passes for our headstaff.

I was raised in Window Rock and was a young girl when Ralph Zotigh, and others, first brought powwow to the Navajo Nation. My husband and I have spent the last few years trying to make NNF powwow what it use to be when I was a little girl. I welcome any advise on this subject.
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:43 PM   #3
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You have a moral decision to make.

If we use the example of what has happened to other tribe's dances which are now part of contest pow-wows, one can envision what will happen if the Gourd Dance continues to be connected to contest pow-wows.

Some day soon, dancers will enter the arena wearing their neon-orange and plasma-pink gourd blankets, with their contest number proudly pinned to their back. Lines of ballcap covered heads all eagerly waiting for the exact fourth cycle to step forward as one and have the judges score the way they bounce. There will be bickering and jealousy about which dancer got the most points, and how that person didn't even wear the right tennis shoes. There will be a 'head gourd dancer', 'head lady gourd dancer', and a 'head pet poodle gourd dancer'.

And, I've seen folks that would find nothing wrong with that.

So, it's your decision and the decision of the other folks encouraging by participation as to what happens to our dance.

I hope you make the right choices.
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Old 10-23-2005, 03:57 AM   #4
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I do totally agree that seeing the gourd dance turned into a contest dance would be a great shame, though I doubt this will ever happen. Gourd dancing just does not lend itself to becoming a form of contesting. I can honestly say I have never sat and watched gourd dancing and looked out into the arena and said "boy that guy dances sooo much better than any of the rest of the guys out there." I have said "now that fella definitely loves to gourd dance!" but never the other.

Just a refreshing idea/thought here but ... doesn't having gourd dancing at dances, like ... say the Sauk n Fox dance at Stroud or Indian Hills powwow (neither of which, to my knowledge, charge people to dance) or any number of others which are contest dances, give a refreshing change to the hectic pace of a contest dance. Many dances in Oklahoma have been doing this for years, without the gourd dance turning into just another form of contesting. For many it is refreshing to see dancing that is not about the money at a contest powwow. How far back can anyone else reading this remember gourd dancing going on in addition to contesting at the Oklahoma powwows?

Anyway...that my 2 lincolns.
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Old 10-23-2005, 06:44 AM   #5
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Unhappy Terrible Vision

I am not worried that it will turn in a category... At Okla Powwows!
But the further you get from Okla the stranger Powwows can get!
Its a strong tradition in Oklahoma to have gourd dancing before the afternoon sessions began.
I never gave it a second thought that there would not be gourd dancing so I always brought my gourd if we were going to a powwow.
But here in the Southeast its a rare sight and that rareness may lend to someone deciding that they need to attract more dancers.
So they add it as a category, and it is sparse set of dance clothes compared to a tradiitional dancer or fancer dancer's clothes.
So it would be easy to get into dancing and the kicker would be some sort of reward to doing this!
All in the name of increasing your attendance base and giving your audience something new and rare!!!
This would be a travesty!
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Old 10-24-2005, 01:50 PM   #6
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I recognize that it is ultimately our decision as coordinators. It's a catch 22.

But I know if we choose not to have Gourd Dance, many, many people will be angry. And the NNF Oversight Committee and Fair Manager will choose different coordinators the following year. This issue is an extremely difficult moral dilemma. Maybe I can convince my husband to use this to make a statement and go down fighting. LOL
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Old 10-27-2005, 02:47 AM   #7
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I too hope and can't imagine Gourd Dancing going into the Contest. Having said this I didn't EVER think I would see our Stomp dance as a Contest Catagory either.

Lets keep the Gourd Dance out of the contest catagories.
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:44 PM   #8
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Hey sorry to say bro but there was a gourd dance contest in east Oklahoma Sickenning is'nt it..
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Old 04-15-2006, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiowawolf
Hey sorry to say bro but there was a gourd dance contest in east Oklahoma Sickenning is'nt it..
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Old 04-17-2006, 12:26 AM   #10
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Who had the Contest Gourd dance? When was it?
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:01 AM   #11
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Gourd Dancing should never be a "contest". A "Competition" Gourd Dance would be a travesty, based on what I was taught about the meaning of the dance and what it embodies.

I probably should not post while heavily medicated....so that is all I will say,
.but IF yo MUST have your gourd dance adn your contest dance.... have tehm seperatley... keep teh Gourd Dance a seperate activity on your schedule, put an hour or two break in between them....Hold two dances that way.......
(Tramadol is some good stuff now..eh????insert twisted smiley here...)


on edit: I have NEVER seen anyone being charged admission to enter a gourd dance.... except for a annual dance up here, put on by a some " we think we are distantly related to indians" types....and they wonder why the cant get a drum from Ok. to come up......

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Old 04-18-2006, 09:20 AM   #12
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I agree with both points made here, and like most of you I highly doubt that gourd dancing will ever catch on as a full contest category. Like powwowbum said, it just doesn't lend itself that way...now the singing...who knows? I could envision seeing a gourd dance singing contest...hopefully not, but its not as far-fetched.

I do totally agree with Zotigh's original post in that I don't see why gourd dance is included in contest pow wows. When they are like that, I've seen (more often than not) that the gourd dance is before grand entry and is treated more like an exhibition or entertainment of sorts than given its true respects.

But, then again, I'm not Kiowa so what the heck do I know? LOL
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Old 05-10-2006, 07:30 PM   #13
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Post Please, fill me in.

I'll share with you what I have learned, comment on the topic, but then I pose a question.

I have been taught from a weeeee lad to gourd dance with my grandfather, my father was never a big fan of it, but I remember when I was about 6 years old getting my first cowboy hat, and a pure silver waterbird with a moving tail pinned on the front of it. I was taught that gourd dancing was a social dance, but some would pray while doing so, I would go out, have fun, dance a few songs, and then enjoy the roundances and such that came afterwards.

If gourd dancing is going to be competetive, lets at least create some new moves!!! (sad attempt at humor, sorry)

It was posted that Gourd Dancing is ceremonial, is this true? I do not intend to offend anyone, but this is not the way I was taught. I was taught the the Kiowa sweat just like the rest of us. (Sorry for the longhouse tribes, by us I mean plains). Is gourd dancing a social dance, or not? If it is, please explain... if it isn't, also, please explain.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffan Redhawk
I was taught the the Kiowa sweat just like the rest of us.
??

Are you saying that you were told that Kiowas perform a sweat as part of the Gourd Dance? Or, are you making a 'nya-nya-nya I put my pants on the same as you' comment?

We dont make a sweat as part of our Gourd Dance.

And we don't make ourselves "high and mightier-than-thou" enough to make anyone feel the need to mention, "..I'm not a Kiowa, but..."

Kiowas own the Gourd Dance. That is true. But, to say, "I'm not a Kiowa, but.."

???

hmmm....

oooh!!

ah!

okay.

you're right.

:)

LOL
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Old 05-12-2006, 03:11 AM   #15
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nonono, lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotigh
??

Are you saying that you were told that Kiowas perform a sweat as part of the Gourd Dance? Or, are you making a 'nya-nya-nya I put my pants on the same as you' comment?

We dont make a sweat as part of our Gourd Dance.
No, not at all, sorry if I posted it that way...

What I meant was I was taught that the kiowa sweat, like the rest of us (ceremonial).

Then, I was posing a question, is the gourd dance another type of ceremony?

The reason I ask this, is because I want to make sure I was not taught wrong... I was taught that the gourd dance is purely social, just like pow wow dancing, some people pray, others do it for the good feeling, and good spirit...

Sorry if I confused the question, I wasn't tryin to make a tribal stab...
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffan Redhawk
I was taught that the gourd dance is purely social, just like pow wow dancing
hmmmm....

You were taught how to gourd dance..but, were not taught why to Gourd Dance.

Without the 'why' there really is no how.

And, that sounds hokey. But, mayby you get it.
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Old 05-19-2006, 02:46 PM   #17
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I have been to plenty of dances that don't have gourd dance recently. When I was 'growing up' there was gourd dance before every dance. I guess I would say that if you are not going to do it right, don't do it at all. There is honor in not having it if there is a reason why, just as there is for doing it up right if there is a reason to do so. Contests are risky business and anything that can be measured can be contested. Did he shake the rattle left to right or right to left? Is there the proper number of beans on his bandoliers? Is his blanket the right shade of red? How long is his stride? Social or ceremonial depends on the intent of the committee putting on the contest/ family/ whatever dance... that could be the real issue.
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Old 05-21-2006, 09:16 AM   #18
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In New Mexico, they usually gourd dance before each grand entry of a powwow. There is an understanding here that somehow you hafta' be a veteran to gourd dance. Quite a few Diné have been participating, and you often see veterans' medals on the blankets. I don't think that our gourd dancers all appreciate or know too much about the origins of the dance. I understand that with the Kiowa, it may have been associated with the Sun Dance and that it also has connections with the Brush Dance.

I don't see that anyone is wanting to make the gourd dance a contest dance. It is a prelude to the powwow dancing.
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