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Old 08-03-2008, 02:55 AM   #1
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Gourd at contest...how?

I've been reminesing 'bout grandpa. He took me and my brothers and cousins to so many dances. Would he recognize dances today? The open 'social' and 'ceremonial' dances...yeah, I think he would. But, the 'contest', pin the number squares on the dancers thing, called 'contest dances'....I don't think so.

Reading the posts in the other forums about who judges whom, and how did he/she win? etc... makes me sad.

This is the "Gourd Dance Forum". Nothing to do with 'contest powow', except that I read posts here saying, "..there was a contest dance at so-and-so, and we urged the sponsors to have a Gourd Dance there, too.."

Why?

Why did anyone promote a Gourd Dance at a commercial, pay-to-be-there contest dance? It boggles the mind.

I'm trying to come up with the analogy. Hmm...what social ceremony would your organization charge a fee to attend? "Welcome to my baptism...please pay $50 to watch." ?? "Thank you for coming to my wedding! But, you can't come in unless you pay me $20." ??

How is mixing an open social/ceremonial dance able to be mixed into the "Pay-per-view" contest dances that are springing up around the country?

I've been told, "..but, we let the Gourd Dancers in for free.."

Geez. Would anyone that knows why we dance Gourd Dance equate our dance to something that could be presented in a venue for folks to come pay to see?

If you were a dancing bear at some zoo to perform for spectators, maybe then you would probably not see the problem.

As a Kiowa man, and a member of the Gourd Clan, I see our Gourd Dance at a contest dance where folks pay to get admission to be contrary to the meaning of our dance.

I don't think that our Gourd Dance belongs in any way to be associated with any 'pay-to-participate' event.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:56 PM   #2
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Never made sense to me either
I only know of a few dances around here that admission is charged to get into...
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:20 AM   #3
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Valid point Scott. I've been at a couple of places where after the gourd dance people clapped, makes me feel like, "you know, that wasn't danced for your entertainment."
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:05 PM   #4
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Gourd at a contest...how?

Quote:
Originally Posted by streamhawk View Post
Valid point Scott. I've been at a couple of places where after the gourd dance people clapped, makes me feel like, "you know, that wasn't danced for your entertainment."
You're right, "contest" does not belong in the Gourd Dance forum. I was pointing out something that i had not witnessed before, and my experience at Meeker was that they were advertising a "welcome Ute tribe" contest powwow. I traveled there thinking there would not be a gourd dance, but being the person that I am, I travel with my regalia. Someone from the Delta area convinced the coordinators to squeeze a gourd dance session into their carefully crafted schedule. (just a reminder, that these folks are new to Natives, not just powwows) they took the "suggestion" as a good sign to get those who wished to participate to come forward, so a gourd session was held. The people of the town do not know what protocol is or how to act at a powwow. It was a first for the Utes who were forced to leave their ancestral lands at gunpoint, that they were even invited to return! It was all in good faith and the people were humbled. I assure you that if and when there is a "2nd annual powwow" there won't be any clapping or feelings of being a bear in a zoo. It happened and nothing can change that. If we are to change the feelings of the past we need to be the teachers, and that is a golden opportunity that does not present itself very often. I will be back next year to see that it does not come off the same as it did this year.

Last edited by afrost; 08-06-2008 at 07:07 PM.. Reason: "crossed fingers" icon in the way
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Old 11-06-2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streamhawk View Post
Valid point Scott. I've been at a couple of places where after the gourd dance people clapped, makes me feel like, "you know, that wasn't danced for your entertainment."
Went to a contest dance in Austin last week. Watched a gourd session end with the spectators in the stands clapping. It felt weird.

Other than that, I like to go to contest dances. Enjoyed watching the dancers and shopping at the vendors. Not against contest dances at all. Like 'em.

But, I still feel awkward seeing our dance being used as a 'feature' of a contest dance.

I think that the Austin contest dance would have been just as popular and just as fun without having made our Gourd Dance a clapping show for spectators.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:28 AM   #6
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Kwey Kwey Scott, I couldn't agree with you more, the attitude has changed so much about sacredness that many are willing to put a price on anything. This makes me feel, not wierd but sick at heart. I make gourds for some people that request them from me and I would never want to see one of them being used under these circumstances.
Kinda like you said about the price for baptisms and all, what next see the body in the casket, $50.-, you all come down and clap~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yuck! I hear you and understand, where has the respect gone!
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:35 AM   #7
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Scott,
Excuse me for jumping in on this forum.
We were at Austin, too. When people in the bleachers started clapping after a gourd dance........we all looked at each other and said "that's weird".....like you.
But I guess the audience just didn't understand what the gourd dance is.
It was just a weird feeling.
Good pow wow........Austin treated all the dancers pretty well.
I'm not to keen on the pow wows that you have to "pay" to dance.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:54 AM   #8
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Interesting you bring up this clapping thing Scott. There is a more local dance that I try to support, that is, how do I say, more "spectator oriented"...that I'm considering talking to the head staff this next year and asking that clapping for the gourd dance be refrained from. We're certainly not there to entertain.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:46 AM   #9
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More Austin

Having been to the Austin dance many times over the years, when I heard the applause, I just think to myself: "Yeah. I just nailed that stop. Just NAILED it. Thank you. Thank you very much."
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by park View Post
Having been to the Austin dance many times over the years, when I heard the applause, I just think to myself: "Yeah. I just nailed that stop. Just NAILED it. Thank you. Thank you very much."
Park! I hafta remember that. Goot one.
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Old 12-16-2008, 05:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zotigh View Post
But, I still feel awkward seeing our dance being used as a 'feature' of a contest dance.
That's my point in each of these threads: right, wrong or indifferent, the cat is out of the bag.

That doesn't put a value judgment on anything, it just is. Co-opting, reinterpretation, use, mimicry, participation, change...

Nobody was pure to begin with, and this stuff is only going to evolve -- more -- over time. It appears that some don't care for such a realization, but nothing can be done.

How long until one of these places has a Gourd Dance contest? Seems unlikely, but many tribes hold Stomp Dancing at LEAST as revered as others hold Gourd Dancing. I see Leader and Shell-shaker contests all the time.
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:26 AM   #12
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Pay to go Powwow?

Hey Scott, how are you? In response to your thread, I have been to only one powwow that had admission. When I lived in Louisiana, the Alabama-Coushatta's had a powwow at their casino, and they charged admission. I would have left, but my Uncle was HGD. When it was over, I told myself I would never go to a powwow that charged admission, and I haven't. That's just the way I feel about it.
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:11 AM   #13
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Hey Scott. I just saw this thread and read it. I know exactly what you are talking about. And I've seen some of this as well, many times it's the pow wow committee or the promoter's who are looking for "something" or "anything" that will draw the people in to make more money. Dances like the gourd dance are not meant to be the answer's. You and I and many other's know this, but there are many out there who don't know this, but they will learn as well.

In this case I really don't think that Zeke is talking too far off the mark when he says "the cats out of the bag". However I do very strongly believe and think that there is something that we can do about it to stop it or keep it from happening. Here I have had a few cases of a few people talking about the Gourd dance out of their behinds and my friend and I put a stop to them.

There is a pow wow that I go to every year and a good friend of mine is the AD. My girlfriend and I were at that pow wow and a man was talking about wanting to bring the Gourd Dance to that pow wow, it's a contest pow wow. Now, this was before I had been to a Gourd Dance and I didn't know anything about it at that time. My friend got all excited and said "Oh I love gourd dancing, I hope that they can work something out." I don't think that she realized what it was totally about either and I had no clue. Then a year or so later was when I was in OK and attended a Gourd Dance. About a month later I was at another pow wow where my other friend was the AD again and we were talking. The discussion was actually originally about the Jingle Dress (which I know Ojib elder's in Canada as well and have been a part of some of those discussions as well). I turned to him and used my experience at the Gourd Dance to make my point to him. I said to him "It's like this: I was invited to participate in the dance in the women's part. That under no circumstances makes me a gourd dancer. That does not mean that I can go out and make an outfit and get a shaker and dance with them men. But many people misunderstand that and believe that once you are invited to participate that that's an automatic membership and it's not."

From my experience and from what I've seen, many times when someone who is not from OK or the area where Gourd Dancing is a part of life, they misunderstand alot of it and actually believe that being invited to dance as a guest or being honored means that they have been made member's of that society. It doesn't. One person really went far with it and my girlfriend and I worked with her father to try to straighten it out too.

However, I do beleive that there are still things that can be done to keep that from happening. Such as I was lucky enough to have had the Gourd Dance shared with me through an Elder and he explained alot to me that I didn't know and that is important. I believe that with Elders like yourself and "Grandpa" who are willing to share with and talk to other's who don't know or may not have that knowledge that it will keep alot of this from happening and the more that it gets out there in a good way and with the true meaning, then the less crap that will be going on about the Dance out there. And a good example is people like me for instance who have been honored enough to actually have been a part of it. We can also share what we have learned and where we have learned it through. And a good example of that is that after I had that chat with my friend who's the AD, well the Gourd Dance has not been brought up again in reference to that pow wow. So that's my reasoning here. It's more education that will stop it then to just throw our hands up in the air and say "It will be what it will be", that's not really an answer to me.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:19 PM   #14
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Hey Scott, how are you?
Hey, pahbi! Have not seen you post for a while. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Good to see your words here.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:29 PM   #15
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Hey Scott. I just saw this thread and read it. I know exactly what you are talking about..I was invited to participate in the dance in the women's part. That under no circumstances makes me a gourd dancer. That does not mean that I can go out and make an outfit and get a shaker and dance with them men. But many people misunderstand that and believe that once you are invited to participate that that's an automatic membership and it's not.
Hey, Tiger!

Thank you for posting, ma'am.

I've always enjoyed your insightful words. I know many others share my respect for your input.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:43 PM   #16
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Thank you again Scott for your kind words. I appreciate them.

I love the Gourd dance and can't wait to see and be a part of it again. It's really great.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:13 AM   #17
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For what it's worth, the "welcome Ute Tribe" contest pow wow mentioned in this thread does not, and has never, charged an entry fee.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:32 AM   #18
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Cool

Well my take on this would be if your Powwow committee is going to have Tdiah-Piah-Goon-Gah, then and only then, have it a day before your scheduled Grand entry, contest/competition powwow. I know I know this may or may not happen but if i was to put on something of this grandeur then i would implement it just like i said. Say have it on the friday evening and simultaneously have your registration open for those dancers that are competing. Very simple and smooth I think.

And if they wanted to partake in the Gourd dance then we'll initiate them on the spot and be talked about, scorned by all the Kiowa elders! Aw-guh!

Then this will address the Gourd at Contest.... How? Hawt-tsoh! Ah-koh!....... And now let see how many post we'll get on this! Zame-thday!
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:30 PM   #19
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Hey Da Messenger,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Da' Messenger View Post
And if they wanted to partake in the Gourd dance then we'll initiate them on the spot and be talked about, scorned by all the Kiowa elders!
Interesting.
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