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Old 05-10-2000, 03:47 PM   #1
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Question Drum Etiquette

This will be a topic to discuss the many aspects of proper behavior and etiquette while sitting at a drum. Let's hear everyone's opinions about eating, smoking, dress, etc. Scott
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Old 05-10-2000, 04:11 PM   #2
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Male and Female no shorts, tank tops, or flip-flops. I have seen some singers come to the drum in holey bike short and torn tank tops. No respect for the drum!!!
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Old 05-10-2000, 04:38 PM   #3
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As for dress Beth is right. I've always been told to wear the best of what you got at the dance. It's better to wear a polo shirt then a t-shirt that has holes in it and stretched so much that you can almost see right through it. One thing Scott that you forgot to mention is personal hygene. There is nothing worse than sitting down at the drum and the guy beside smelling like he hasn't showered in 3 days, or know how to use tp.

While sitting around the drum its great to have some fun. However, there is a definate line between just having fun and disrespect. One thing I really don't like is seeing some singers slouching - thinking that when there not singing they can relax as if on a couch in their den watching tv or something.

As for smoking and eating, there really shouldn't be a problem with it. There are some tribes that feed the singers at the drum, as Mr.Rumminator has pointed out in a previous discussion. As I have found through all my travels to different powwow, especially in the southeast, it's best to adopt the common saying "when in Rome do as the Romans do". Yeah, I know that I'm right and I could defend myself - but there are a new breed of yahoos who either don't know better or have created their own new traditions (once again in the south e.g. Florida).

Just my humble thoughts
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Old 05-10-2000, 07:22 PM   #4
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I aggree with HeyDad. One of the guys I sing with has a tendency to slouch. I bust his chops everytime I see him do it. He does have a curved back and I can see how it would hurt him. However, I tell him we aren't at the drum to be comfy, we are there to sing. He is still learning what the drum is all about, as am I.
Smoking and drinking are cool with me. If you're gonna be at the drum for a while, you have to refresh your voice, and get a quick fix of nicotine, if that's your bag.
As for dress, I agree with the others. Wear the best that you have with you. However, don't go around looking or smelling like Pigpen. A slob doesn't leave a good impression. Also, if you're gonna wear a hat, don't wear it backwards. Just one thing that irritates me at the drum.
Most importantly, keeping the pace. I don't like it when a good set is going, and somebody pulls out a song that is too fast or too slow for the set.
But, it's all a learning process that can't be completed overnight. The most importnat thing is to have a good time. That's what it is all about. Just my opinion.

OTR
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Old 05-10-2000, 08:37 PM   #5
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Howdy ya'll! I was taught to not smoke or eat around the drum. The elders said that "We use Tobbaco to pray not to get a fix, save that for out side" so that is the way we have always done that. Water and food should be kept a few feet away from the drum and our feathers, was the way I was taught. I was taught that the feathers eat only the tobacco smoke and to have our food by them is like kinda temping them, I guess.
During heavey ceremonies plates of food will be put outside for them. Anyhow, I was also taught to wear nice close at the Drum and to represent my family well while am there. I was also taught that a person should abstain from any sexual activety a few days before singing or any thing related. Its just the way I was taught, so Its kinda like second nature I guess. I dont really think about why..just kinda do it without having to think.
We also watch the way se talk around the Drum too. I was taught that the drum is like an Elder and we should respect it like such. I was taught at a early age how to make Drums, from cutting/carving and making the frame to soaking and scraping the hides. I was taught that there is a "differance" between a drum done in that way and a drum that is just put together.
Just a few of my thoughts on this topic.
take care.
Rich
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Old 05-11-2000, 12:14 PM   #6
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I would have to say a good buffalo hide pulled really tight works wonders. I agree with OTR that the right cowhide sounds great. However, with elk and cow compared to buffalo you'll need a good heater or blow dryer when the humidity is real high or is 40 degrees or so.

I think I know exactly who HeyDad is referring to - come on guys you wouldn't go out on the town smelling like a horses ***, now would you. Well maybe some would.

As far as hats go there cool, but if you’re going to wear one wear it right. Smoking at the drum in most areas is acceptable but if your going to sit down at someone else’s drum it would be wise to ask if its okay then be the first to light up and everyone look at you with the "what the hell do you think your doing dumb ***" look on their face. As far as eating at the drum that's more an as per basis depending on where you are.

The next biggest thing is don't assume that you can just come and sit down at a drum, always ask first. That should be done during a break between sets, or before the dance session begins - not in the middle of a song. I know that there is always an exception to the rule where a head singer has said you have an open invitation to sing at his drum; or where the head singer sees you and motions for you to come out.

Three things that each singer are the responsible for are his own chair, sticks and sweat rage. Don't expect that the committee will provide you with a chair.

Well those are just my thoughts.
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Old 05-11-2000, 02:14 PM   #7
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Here's how I was taught.
1. You dont smoke at the drum
2. Eating is acceptable during a break
3. You can drink(ever tried singing for 6 hours non-stop?)
4. You dress nice if you can. Clean jeans, nice shirt etc.
5. No cursing or innapropriate behavior or conversations.
6. A person stays with the drum at all times.
7. When not singing the drum is covered(During breaks)
8. You ALWAYS clean up your area when your done.
9. You leave your personal problems at home.
10. You never ask to sit at another drum. you wait until your invited.
11. Always be ready to sing what is called for.
12. Know the songs completely, where they came from what they mean etc.
13. Be at your best behavior, people are watching you and all the other singers. Your "in the spotlight" so to speak. Carry yourself well and watch the things you say.
People will remember your drum and how they acted.

Well, those are just a few I can think of for right now. Some of them go deeper then just what I wrote. And there are other things left out because Im sure differnt people do things a different way.
We place tobacco on the drum before we sing in a certain pattern, for example.
Im sure there are some things Ive missed completely so bring them on....
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Old 05-12-2000, 10:10 AM   #8
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---I posted this reply to DCP and I thought, might as well post it for everyone to see.--

Heres what Grandpa told me about smoking.
(I was lucky enough to be raised by my grandparents)

He said that when you are casually smoking your thinking about all sorts of things. No problem, but when your near the drum, the drum is storing the prayers of those who are dancing or not dancing.
On the last beat the prayers gather strength within the drum until the next song. Until the last song is sang(Prayer of course) thats when all those prayers are sent up.
Now heres joe camel smoking and thinking about the fine *** snag that just walked by with the duke shorts. So you see those thoughts mix in with the rest when you you start the next song and those prayers get sent up.
Now I know that other people are taught different ways. and my explanation pretty much sucks, it doesn sound anything like the way I was told but you get the idea. I dont down anyone or look down on anyone that does smoke at the drum. So dont get me wrong on that point. Its just the way I was taught.
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Old 05-16-2000, 11:37 PM   #9
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Well jriverwind,I think that you said it all
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Old 07-11-2000, 05:19 AM   #10
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scott,
the drum that i sit with requires a nice pair of jeans, a western shirt, a cowboy hat, adn a pair of boots or mocs.


keith
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Old 07-11-2000, 02:59 PM   #11
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Well now, i dont think you could get me into a pair of boots or a western hat for that matter. Im not a cowboy or a cowboy at heart, dont listen to country and I dont chew tobacco.
Is your drum trying to emulate alot of the big name drums? Nothing wrong with that, Ive seen a few singers that dress that way but thats because thats how they grew up.
As long as your well dressed, your good to go. But I dont think you should try to get someone to wear something that their not comfortable with. Uniformed singers is a new one to me
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Old 07-11-2000, 06:01 PM   #12
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Boots, long sleeve shirt, long pants, hat, maybe even a vest...When I started singing waay back there in the sixties that's the way everybody dressed for the evening dance. During the afternoon maybe we'd wear a short sleeve shirt. What ever, you got dressed up to go to the drum. The indian people I learned to sing with/from made it an unspoken rule that it was for respect, respect for the drum. respect for the songs. respect for the dancers and respect for yourself that you got dressed up. Cowboys had nothing to do with it. That's what men wore when they were dressed up.

Today I see things have changed, a whole lot.
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Old 07-11-2000, 07:07 PM   #13
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Yeah, the times have changed but what I am saying is that to be dressed up I dont HAVE to wear boots and a cowboy hat. You will never catch me at a drum in a tshirt and shorts, I will be dressed nice but not in a hat and boots and maybe even a monstrous belt buckle that dwarfs my head?
Fashion changes just like the times change. What do you think about the big name "contemporary" drums who have killer songs yet they have the thuggish, ruggish, bone, streetclothes look going on?
Just being a devils advocate here. I was raised to respect them drum and was taught our way of respecting the drum, the songs, and the singers. Im not making fun of anyone who dresses that way, if thats what they like to wear then good, it doesnt change who they are or their songs. Whats so bad about wearing some nice kakhi's or jeans, doc martins, with a nice pullover shirt and vest and singin at the drum? Im still dressed nice arent I? theres nothign wrong with that IMO.
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Old 07-11-2000, 07:26 PM   #14
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i agree with ya, jriverwind. i guess it's in how you were taught. the people that taught use wore hats and boots. but it does not mean i am a cowboy. as long as you look nice and respect the drum that is all that matters, right
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Old 07-11-2000, 07:34 PM   #15
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To JRiverwind:
I agree with that. When I went to Schemitzun last year, there were 50+ drums there. All of which dressed differently. You saw everything from Cedartree's matching green outfits, to Eyabay's matching sweatshirts. They have a best dressed competition. I heard one year an entire drum showed up in tuxedos. There were several groups there wearing baggy pants, big t-shirts, or whatever they had. Or the dressed up cowboy look. The point is, thats the way they dress where they're from. In Ok, many people wear cowboy hats at the drum. But they also wear them everywhere else they go. Its what people where there. Oh, by the way. Doc's are the most comfortable shoes ever.

OTR
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Old 07-11-2000, 08:39 PM   #16
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I've always been taught that one of the most important things is to show respect. Respect for the drum, for the songs, for the circle, and for traditions.
If you show respect I don't think youy can go very wrong.
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Old 07-12-2000, 12:07 AM   #17
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The basic "rule" that I go by is to act and dress as though I were around grandfolks. Clothes, behavior, and speech should be respectful.

The guys on my drum all dress differently. Nice shirt and jeans or "western" clothes or the traditional Fila/Fubu regalia (hee-hee).
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Old 07-13-2000, 03:28 PM   #18
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Talking

we also wear around dance clothes when there are more then 2 drums at the pow wow.
also we were taught to act like we were around our elders when we are around the drum. ex.. no horseplaying, cursing, bad mouthing people or other drums, smoking.
the biggest no-no for our drum is no drinking 24hrs prior to sitting at the drum. basically we can not do anything that could bring bad medicine to the drum.
one of the young lady singers has donated a teddy bear to the drum as a mascot and we are slowly building an outfit for it (kinda like a mascot)
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Old 07-13-2000, 05:51 PM   #19
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The point I wanted to make was that in those days that was what the traditional men out on the rez wore when they got dressed. Of course that has changed...more comfortable shoes,cooler shirts, all of which makes sense. It is distressing, however, to go to some 'eastern' dances and see supposedly traditional men (young men/teens?) sitting in cutoffs, sandals, athletic undershirts and a rag around their neck. The guys I learned from would be amazed. This kind of dress is common among both Hobs and NDNs in my parts. Where is the respect?
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Old 07-13-2000, 11:04 PM   #20
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i wholy agree with raptor, what happened to respect. the more pow wow's i go to the less i see it.
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