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View Poll Results: Should women vets be allowed to gourd dance along side the men?
Definitely, they paid thier dues! 37 14.18%
Not in my lifetime. 182 69.73%
Yes, but they should have different type of blanket(added fringe or ribbonwork)fan and shaker/rattle. 33 12.64%
Did someone say women dancers? Woo Hoo! 9 3.45%
Voters: 261. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-19-2003, 06:07 PM   #101
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Good words

Good words from Lipan Lady. The San Antonio bunch is very new to things and, shall we say, does things a bit different. It has not gone unnoticed in TX and OK. Bullcreeklady should also know that San Antonio has always had groups that seem to attract attention, but for the wrong reasons.

I also remember wanting to have all the answers up front. That will never happen. Like others have stated here, it takes a long time (years, decades, a lifetime) for people to acquire knowledge. Most people just starting out often make too much of this. I believe that people actually learn when they understand that these ways of life are bigger than their own personal desires.

To a degree, Bullcreeklady, you have to accept that and enjoy the ride. You will prove to those around you and those you come in contact with that you are sincere and you want to go about things the right way.

No comment on the Fredericksburg dance.
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Old 05-19-2003, 10:37 PM   #102
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Thank you. Once again I apreciate the advice. I need to apologize because I thought it was completely an open discussion therefore a good place to post my thoughts and (as I did) learn something. But truthfully I need to wait on saying more. I need to speak with my uncles. You see while I've been posting on this thread, I've been of course influenced by the fact I am a young women in the year 2003. I think I was also influenced by something that really inspired me at sundance. I was taught that origanally women did not make this sacrifice because they bore childern. It was a way for the men to help the people. Now women dance beside the men and in some circumstances pierce, differently but they do all the same. That is one of the things that helped to form my thinking. But I am sorry if I offended anyone or even if my thinking is wrong but maybe now you understand where I am coming from. Perhaps, I'll fall back on my old fail safe and simply watch the thread instead of speaking. Once again I thank you. If anyone wnats to contact me feel free to PM me.
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Old 05-21-2003, 12:56 AM   #103
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I think that there may be a misconception here. The idea that all Indian people have the know or all Indian people have the same traditions is hobwash! We ask question because we don't all have the same ways nor the sameup bringings.

Some of the answers and further inquiry is brought about because of the new agers and odd balls that are trying to enter the Indian community.

Don't get discouraged about the questioning and inquisition you had to experience. I for one appreciate anyone that will sincerely ask to learn the ways of other Tribes with an open heart. The only thing we all need to remember is that sometimes the answer may just be "BECAUSE, that's the way it is". When I was younger I remember asking and the answer was "that's the way we do it". This was one of my Aunts and Uncles.

Stay with us and don't hesitate to ask. Use the PM's also, when you may not fully understand a thought.

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Old 06-08-2003, 08:09 AM   #104
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Cool

Good Morning Everyone,
My name is Kim Sowinski. I am Koyukon Athabascan - Caribou Clan. My family is from a village up in Alaska called Allakaket. I come from a long line of strong women. I am a mother, wife, daughter, niece, and granddaughter. I am also a 12yr Marine Corps Veteran. I served our great nation honorably and it is something I will always be proud of. I earned the title of "United States Marine" and that is something that nobody can ever take away from me.
As for this question “should women be allowed to do this Scared Dance”. Well, it is my humble opinion that they should not. You see I am part of the VIETA color guard here in Washington, DC. I am one of the few women veterans that bring in the Colors and Eagle staff during Grand Entry. I have on many occasions carried our colors with pride and honor. I am proud to honor my ancestors and all warriors in such a manner.
It all comes down to respect and honor. I would never do anything to disgrace my ancestors, my family and clan. I would never dream of doing such a thing. After serving 12 yrs in the United States Marine Corps I feel that I am still honored as a Marine Corps Woman Veteran by being able to dance the Veterans honor dance in which all Veterans are honored. I do not feel like I am being left out of anything, this dance is a Scared Dance reserved for our male warriors. I feel I have a strong warriors spirit and I will always honor our ways. We as a people have lost so much over the years. I feel it is important for all of us to hold strong to our ways and pass them on to our children so that they will not be forgotten.
So it is the opinion of this 12yr Marine Corps Woman Veteran that this Scared dance should be danced the way it has been for many many years now with no women allowed.
Semper Fi! - Marine Corps Motto = “Always Faithful”
Kim A. Sowinski - USMC
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Old 06-08-2003, 12:57 PM   #105
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Indigenous97---Wonderful words. Thanks for sharing. Thank you for your service as well.
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Old 06-09-2003, 01:43 AM   #106
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I too, want to thank indigenous97 for those words. I can appreciate anyone having served in any of the Armed services.

I have said this before. I DO know of and understand our society and we have many womens societies among our peoples. Our people have Clan Mothers. These women have had a very important job and played a major role in our government and lives.

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Old 06-09-2003, 09:25 AM   #107
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Smile

Etay ya pele' (its a good day)
First I would like to thank all of you that gave my Daughter such constructive advise. We are in need of more people who understand the roll of an adult to a young person. My daughter has strong views and always makes up her own mind based on advise from elders, life experiences, and tradition. She is great at debating. She has learned that through debate and education we can all learn a little bit more about each other.
For those of you that had no patience for what my daughter had to say. Well enough said.


Nana pele' Mapatam'k Estok (Thank you later people):)
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Old 06-10-2003, 02:22 AM   #108
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It is good to have family that supports you throughout your life.

I would like to invite you all to any and all of the dances in OK and our dance in Sedalia MO on July 18-20, 2003. I would also like to plug the dance in McAllen Tx in Oct. My youngest son will be their head little boy dancer. This is a good dance hosted by a good family. We will have a Gourd dancing session on Sat. afternoon. This will be the agenda in Sedalia Mo as well.

JR Estok: My daughters are also headstrong and are starting to have their own families. I really enjoy the oppertunity to go down memory lane with them. They hate the trip, but I like it myself. Just enjoy the family. We are all an extended family if you wish.
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:05 AM   #109
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Gourd Dancers

I've been observing the Gourd Dancers at this years' pow wows in California. We are proud to have some strong Groud Dance Societies here. All the women danced in the circle or behind the men, and no woman danced beside the men. I support and assist the older vets who are Gourd Dancers, especially the elders. At big pow wows, like the Stanford Pow Wow, I spent my time walking around the arena asking people not to take pictures of the sacred ceremony.

Many of the people video-taping or taking photos seemed to be Asian tourists who were not aware of the purpose and meaning of the Gourd Dance. I gently explained it and after their intial embarrassment, they were grateful for the knowledge. It's my hope that each one of those people told another and passed the word.

Educating the public to what is going on especially at big pow wows -- a huge job, that can't be covered by the MC, Whip or pow wow staff alone. Foreigners, non-ndns, and others who simply don't know what they are seeing and hearing (as they wander casually by), respond well when told the Gourd Dance is a sacred ceremony which is blessing the dance circle. They stopped and watched with respect and new understanding. The activity changed from an "entertainment" to sometime sacred and spitirual, which they could relate to.

I am married to a disabled Viet Nam vet, my father is a WWII vet, and I have uncles who were Air Force vets. I have introduced my Dad to a war dance society in Texas, which he really enjoys when his health permits him to attend their dances.

For years, I have wanted to be asked to become a Gourd Dance Society member/supporter. When I dance in the circle, it is to honor my husband and other family members, and to support the efforts of the Gourd Dancers in the special work they do. I wear a plain navy shawl with red fringe.

How does a women become a member? My husband is slowly dying from heart failure, kidney failure, is blind, has PTSS and has other terrible problems from diabetes caused by his military service. He was decorated served with great courage and honor.
Must I wait until he is gone or can I dance for him and others like him now? Are te War Mothers a seperate society?







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Old 07-02-2003, 01:39 AM   #110
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The Gourd Society that I belong to has an Auxilary,if you will. Not all of these ladies are wives of our members. Most are related by some way or another though. Your tribal veterans society should have a War Mothers, Clan Mothers,etc for the ladies of your tribe. Maybe your family and elders can assist you if you aren't sure of this ladies organization.

Thank you for your observations.
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Old 07-02-2003, 01:50 AM   #111
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Thank you for your suggestions, Cherosage. I will follow up with some local groups.
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Old 07-07-2003, 08:38 PM   #112
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Today I received an email from a friend concerning this thread. It came up while he was doing an online search for certain material. He wanted to post a reply to it but is not allowed to do such things from work and no longer carries Internet access at his home so he ask me to post his thought and comments here for him. Below you will find his remarks on this subject.

-----------------------------------------------------

"I am a research historian working for a well established_agency in Oklahoma. In conjunction with my duties, I work with the Kiowa Tribal Museum's Board in researching Kiowa history and tradition. I have just returned this past weekend from participating in the ceremonies of the Kiowa Gourd Clan in Carnegie, Oklahoma. My great grand father and uncles were among the men responsible for reviving the Kiowa Gourd Clan.
_
After reading the 8 pages on the subject_ 'should women be allowed to dance beside the men in the gourd dance," I need to first_put into perspective the history of the Kiowas and their ceremony . We are a very humble people and uphold our ceremonies with utmost respect.
_
In the days pre-dating the reservation period, all Kiowa men were raised to be defenders of our lives, families, lands and way of life. Thus, young boys entered their first warrior society as children. Hence, all Kiowa adult_men of that period were warriors and belonged to a hierarchy of warrior societies. The Tdienpaygah were the camp police. They had specific duties, songs and ceremony. In essence, they_are considered "veterans" (before the English word was implied).
_
_It is true the Kiowa people did and still do have women who have fought_ and defended their people however, women did not participate in the duties of the Tdienpaygah.
_
I have witnessed_a woman veteran wear the red and blue blanket and shake a gourd at the annual Haskell Indian Nations University Powwow about 10 years ago. It was not tolerated by_ the Kiowa women elders in attendance. She was publicly pointed out and the record was set straight for all the visiting tribes to remember. Some of the comments that I remember are: "This is a Kiowa dance. If you are going to dance our dance, then you must respect our ways." Also, "It is a humble but proud Kiowa woman who will know her place and gladly_stand in the background during a men's dance!"
_
At this years Kiowa Gourd Clan there were over 140 male dancers dressed in their finest attire. The Kiowa Gourd Clan is comprised of individuals who bring honor to the Kiowa tribe. Included were young_boys from the rabbit society who come from outstanding families who danced with the men. All our women regardless of if they have military affiliations, danced in the outer circle of men. Women who were in uniform were recognized with "a special" but returned to the outer perimeter.
_
For those of you who are ask the question why can't women dance as the men in the gourd dance, there are other avenues to express your accomplishments. It is not the Kiowa way to push your way to the front, publicly boast or make a spectacle of yourself."
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My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.
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Old 07-08-2003, 12:20 AM   #113
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Great post

That was a great post, PWBum. Thanks for passing it on. I was also in and around Carnegie and saw a number of specials for returning veterans from Iraqi Freedom, one of whom was a high ranking woman. She wore her fatigues and a shawl. She did not (and I don't think would ever consider) dance with a rattle.

To Shawl Lady, I mean no disrespect, but I don't think "sacred" is the way to describe the gourd dance, at least among the Kiowa. I think that connotation prospers the farther away from southwest Oklahoma one might go. The fact is, though, that the gourd dance has spread and--as some have said--might take on a life of its own. But what goes on elsewhere is not always the same as what goes on at its original source. That's the difference, and an important one.
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:48 AM   #114
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PB49 and Parks: I want to thank you gentlemen for these words. I believe these things as well and would like to echo your sentiments.
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Old 07-08-2003, 02:04 AM   #115
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Gentlemen, what I was taught by Kiowas in Oklahoma long ago is just as you have said. Other Southern Plains warrior societies are similar in form, being for men only members, and the women (wives, sweethearts, sisters) serve as an auxillary to support them and their dances. They cook and serve the food at mealtime, assist the elders, and help in other ways.

I have noticed in the years since then that (here in California at least), the Gourd Dance is looked on a making the dance circle sacred for the dancing and singing to come. Often the MC will announce this and ask that spectators not take photos of the ceremony.

This is something new. Perhaps some of you in other states have noticed this also.
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Old 07-09-2003, 02:56 AM   #116
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I don't recall a Gourd dance where people can't take pictures. I do know of some times when it isn't appropriate for pictures but the MC has always let the audience know this. Sorry I can't help any with this no picture idea.

I hope we don't over ceremonialize this dance. This dance is to honor our people not spiritualize us. I know I'm no Saint.
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Old 07-09-2003, 01:02 PM   #117
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Thanks for your comments, Bob. It sounds like in middle America, the Gourd Dance remains the same.

Maybe it's only out here on the West Coast that it has become a sacred ceremony to bless the pow wow circle.

At every pow wow out here, the MC announces "no photos" during the Gourd Dancing. I wonder if this is strictly a California practice?
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:18 AM   #118
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I couldn't say. I have only Gourd danced in OK, MO, KS, ARK, TX. Maybe someone from other parts could talk about this issue.
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Old 07-25-2003, 12:59 PM   #119
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huh

I am in the southwest. I also have never heard an MC say no pictures during gourd dancing, maybe during specials or such.

But one of the ways i have seen things done is to have someone bless the arena before the dancers enter. But that is all before hand.
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Old 07-29-2003, 01:18 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shawl Lady
Thanks for your comments, Bob. It sounds like in middle America, the Gourd Dance remains the same.

Maybe it's only out here on the West Coast that it has become a sacred ceremony to bless the pow wow circle.

At every pow wow out here, the MC announces "no photos" during the Gourd Dancing. I wonder if this is strictly a California practice?
California should be it's own country entirely; strange things go on out there. :Chatter :Chatter strange I'm telling you. Even the space aliens don't want to go out to the west coast.
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