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Old 09-05-2000, 10:04 AM   #1
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Talking Whistled or Fanned Drum

Hello folks.. heres a Topic!!
My Friends and I were discussing Whistles/Fans on Drums, and how we were taught that it is not cool to sit or join on a Drum once its been whistled, even if its your drum and you were off at the Portapotties and get there late, Once that drum or song is whistled or fanned a person cant join in. Whats ya'lls feelins on this?
We see it all the time here with the younger Drums.

Take care.
Rich
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Old 09-05-2000, 10:16 AM   #2
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If a drum has been selected by a dancer, via whistle or fan, I consider it closed. Meaning, if you are at the food stand and you are the lead singer, and the dancer called on the drum, than you've just missed out. The people at the drum had better be able to handle the request.

To me, when a dancer has called on a drum to give him a song, he wants what that drum has to offer, right then. The dancer, nine times out of ten, doesn't do a head count, just assumes the drum will give him a good song that he can feel.

That is just my opinion. Thank you for the question.
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Old 09-05-2000, 10:33 AM   #3
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Oops! just realized I should have clarified that a bit! We see Younger drums not fallow this rule!
I have seen folks just pile on a drum once its whistled just cuz they know that folks will see them drumming and think there cool! I was taught that the drum is closed once its fanned or whisled. I totally agree Smokey! Thanks for your reply!
take care
Rich
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Old 09-05-2000, 10:59 AM   #4
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What is "fanning" a drum? We have whistles up here but I've never heard of a drum being "fanned". What tribe is that from? Is it mainly a southern thing? Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-05-2000, 11:59 AM   #5
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Fanning is done up here in Washington and is done by folks in Alberta. its done in kinda an upword sweeping motion, and done four times. Only Eagle feather Fans are used.
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Old 09-05-2000, 12:38 PM   #6
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Using a fan or an eagle geather over a drum is the same thing as whistling it. When I lived in Wisconsin, that was done more frequently than whistling a song.
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Old 09-05-2000, 03:46 PM   #7
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o, interesting.

So, does one need to be a "fan-carrier" like one needs to be a whistle carrier or can anyone with an eagle feather fan do it?

This is interesting.
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Old 09-05-2000, 05:17 PM   #8
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Well, I have asked my elders and Older Friends about it in the past and was told that it definately is a supervised deal for younger folks when, and if it happens.If your a younger dancer it is proper to ask for permision/help when doin this. That only folks that have been gifted fans and have a good clean reputation, and clean heart can approach a drum in this way. I was told how to do it by an elder, who believes that I have the right to do so if I was asked or was moved to, but I never have.
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Old 09-06-2000, 01:00 AM   #9
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It's done like that in the Southeast, too. Using the eagle fan to call the drum is used almost as much as the whistle. Just depends on the dancer.
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Old 09-06-2000, 03:48 AM   #10
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I am approached often to blow a whistle on a drum, but usually I will fan the drum instaed if it is considered to be a serious enough request. If not I will pray as I dance for the person who approached me.
I always approach the lead singer prior to fanning the drum, I present tobacco and cash, usually about $20.00 which I have asked from and received from the person requesting the fan. Here many dancers think tobacco is good enough, it is not acceptable to just give tobacco, money or a gift along with tobacco is commonly given to the drum as well.

Just prior to fanning I signal the drum, usually I tell them when I will fan, after a competition or intertribal song as example.
Upon approaching the drum, I raise my fan upwards and slowly start dancing towards the drum, this is very noticeable and tells singers, dancers, arena directors what I am doing. I always try to notify the whipman, arena directors prior to fanning as well so all are on board.
I am known to call out, chant traditionally as I approach and then I present the fan to the drum along with th eagle feather son my dancing stick.
Whenever other dancers want to or decide to just fan a drum for no apparent reason, I try to find out why prior to dancing, often it is becuase they feel like fanning, rarely is it a serious reason, at these tmes I either continue to dance around the arbour or If I feel it is a misuse of the fan and drum, I sit down, Especially when a person of questionable character is once again fanning or blowing whistles like they are going out of style. If I am dacning I usually stay in the back of the bullring unless I have blown a whistke or fanned a drum.
I have shown many younger dancers how to fan and blow whistles and on occasion I have double fanned drums with a first timer to intitiate them.
I have witnessed many times in my dancing experiences where an eagle whistle or eagle fan is presented 6 or 7 times to a drum. This is often done when it is a very serious situation which someone has requested.
I have not done it myself for the past 5 years, and I have not seen it at home for the past 8 years, but on rare occasion it does happen. Listen to some older tapes and you will hear a few recordings that recorded eagle whistles. Count the whistles, sometimes it is either 6 or 7 which are doctoring numbers. This is only done by dancers who are recognized and aknowledged as worthy of this rare and sacred event.

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Old 09-06-2000, 02:26 PM   #11
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I was very fortunate to have been present and heard a whistle also seeing a drum be fanned last year. I do not know if anyone was prior notified or not althought I do know that the drum later rec'd as gifts a pendleton, tobaco and cash. Later I spoke with that drumkeeper and he didn't feel honored as the person who whistled was of questionable morals.How is this treated?
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Old 09-06-2000, 03:55 PM   #12
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At a dance last year, the head dancer approached my drum and nicely asked for the next song to be "a good one." I sang one of my favorite songs. He danced very hard to the song and approached the drum after about 5 push-ups. He then proceeded to "fan" the drum. In his own way, he "warned" me that he was going to do this, although it didn't register until I saw him dancing toward my drum. Nothing was said after the event, but he did put a decent amount of money on the drum after the song.

Another time my drum was "fanned," there was no "warning" that it would happen. A veteran with a physical disability gave his fan to a young man and instructed him to "fan" my drum. The veteran did speak publicly about why he had done this.

It is said (by some)that fanning the drum is the same as whistling a drum. "Whistling" a drum is preferred over "fanning" a drum IMHO. To be given a whistle is a great honor and priviledge. With it comes resposibility. It is "sketchy" about the whole fan situation seeing that NUMEROUS people carry eagle fans. There are some drums that won't even recognize "fanning." I guess it's up to the way one was taught.

Advance warning???? A drum should be ready to sing when it is set up. If you are not ready to sing at that point in time, you ought to place a blanket over your drum.

Another tidbit- if you wish to simply honor a drum for a song that touches you, I think you could simply walk up to that drum after the song, place some money down, and tell them you liked the song. This will honor that drum and not raise any hackles.

I live in a very "tribally-mixed" area, so toleration of different ways is necessary. I often think it important to evaluate the intention behind action, not just evaluate the action itself (did that make sense?).
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Old 09-07-2000, 01:40 AM   #13
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Each time I've seen a drum fanned or whistled, after the person fanned the drum and gave tobacco and sometimes money to the drum, they are then expected to come up to the MC stand and explain to everyone why they are allowed to fan a drum and why they fanned in this particular instance.

In the times I've seen this, I am not aware if the person who fans has approached the drum or the arena director before they did it. It sure seems like a polite and considerate thing to do.

Just curious-what have all of you been taught as to who can fan or whistle a drum?
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Old 09-10-2000, 03:18 AM   #14
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Regarding dancers of questionable character, I have witnessed many methods for dealing with them. For those who approach drums without permission from either arena directors, headman dancers or both, they are stopped as they approach a drum, or drums have not responded to their fan or whistle or after they have completed fanning or whistling, they are instructed to come up with a giveaway on the spot, usually consisting of $$$, blankets, tobacco, etc.
This is usually done privately betweeen committee memebers and the dancer(s) in question. It is not publically aired.
I have seen many dancers asked to leave when they resist advice or instructions, in one circumstance I watched an elder from Saskatchewan walk onto the arbour and tell a dancer to give him his fan to the elder to be kept until he learned how to properly use it...another time in Alberta, an arena director threw a blanket on a dancer as he approached drum after drum, blowing his eagle whistle repeatedly trying to get a drum to accept his offers...He was then asked and finally escorted out of the pow-wow.
Often it does not get to this point, but if the protocol is explained about who and how to approach a drum to fan or whistle, these issues rarely appear.
Here in BC, many many born again medicine men will not listen. They usually wait until smaller tradish pow-wows where twenty or more times a weekend drums are fanned and whoistles are blown. Fakes like Johnny Johnson(under investigation for sexually offending young female dancers) from Alkali Lake, Jim Edgar(charged with sexual assault) from Williams Lake, Myron Burger fron sugarcane, Ben Archie(who just got out of jail for sexually abusing young girls) from parts unknown, Norman Diablo(halfbreed from Merritt, Gord Whitehead (convicted offender from Ft, Chipweyan, Alberta, resides in Kamloops) and Dale Stonechild, Westbank, BC, all are famous for fanning/blowing whistles like they are going out of style. No one here though can keep up with Henry "Chicken" Frank from Canim Lake, BC, whose whistle blowing often numbers 10-15+ times each pow-wow, then to be followed by his unorganized, unrecognizable babbble.
All of these mentioned men love to preach long and hard about why they know what is best and why everyone else doesn't!
The majority of them are known and convicted sex offenders who overnight became spirtual, sundancers, pipe carriers and medicine men..beware of them!!!
At pow-wows where I have been the MC, I always follow strict protocols and when they are ignored by this or any individual dancers or group of dancers, their fans or whistles go unannounced and are ignored with no opportunity afterwards for them to preach. Usually they are told to put a giveaway or they are asked/escorted out of the arbour...but count on them the following week or day acting up again.
My uncle Waposakospiyesis is disgusted over this abusive behaviour and he predicted these men and others would either lose their fans/whistles, have their whistles plug up or break or fall, which all have come true. Of course they blame him or myself and refuse to look at their own actions and intentions.

I rarely get involved these days in fanning or blowing a whistle on a drum unless it is a credible request from a credible source.

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Old 09-12-2000, 10:28 AM   #15
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Cool

Hey Indians;
Let me start by saying I hope that doesn't offend anyone, I was on an AOL message board and those "Cyber Native Americans" got all upset at being called an Indian, but that is a story for another time.

I am very certain that "Pow Wow Whistles" are not acquired and used in a traditional manner on the Pow Wow trail today.
I am really curious about some things. l) How does one acquire a "pow wow whistle" among your people? 2) What is the purpose of a "whistle" among your people? 3) And while we are on the subject answer the same questions about whips.

I realize that a public forum is probably not a place to discuss these things, so feel free to email me and we can exchange beliefs.

[email protected]

Have a goot' one

Sahnish
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Old 09-14-2000, 12:08 AM   #16
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Concerning pow-wow whistles and whips, they are the same as earning an eagle whistle, one who is ecognized as bering committed to traditional lifestyle and completes the years of ceremony and rites which are eventually attained and recognized by the elders and community. Pow-wow whistles are made from wood common to ones region and thye are primarily used to celebrate joy and happiness or to pick up a pow-wow when it is slow, negative or sad.

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Old 09-27-2000, 10:00 AM   #17
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i have always, every time i have ever seen a drum fanned or whistled, it has been an impulse, because the whole point of it is because you like the song so much that you want to hear it again. and in asking for another round by fanning or whistling is the honor to the drum. i have never seen it planned out,that is usually called an honor song if you approach the drum and mc for some one. that is a seprate thing.
as for misuse i find that unfortunatly the whistle is used incorrectly in my area. people sometimes even make there own! i know this but i am only 19 and do not have the status to say anything myself. that is what i know
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Old 09-27-2000, 10:08 AM   #18
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i have never seen anyone plan to fan a drum. it was always done on impulse because a dancer realy likes a song or is particularly moved by it. the honor for the drum is in the asking, showing that you want them to keep going. when you go to the mc and to every official in the pow-wow and to the drum, that is an honor song, that has nothing to do with whistle or fanning.
i have noticed unfortunatly that in my area the whistle is the most commonly misused pice at the pow-wow. i have even seen some braging on makeing there own! but i have not the status t say anything, and would rather ignore it and continue to enjoy the pow-wow than to involve an elder and make a big deal of it. that is what i know
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Old 09-27-2000, 10:39 AM   #19
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Wink

Hello, Nik. I get your point, you don't need to post the same message twice, just different, okay? I hear ya. hehe

But on a serious note, I have seen a dancer notify the arena director, or m/c or head singer of a drum that he is coming, sometimes through eye contact, or body movement, sometimes by telling them in advance, but most of the time it has been spur of the moment, to honor the song, by allowing it to continue, either with a fan or whistle.

Those people in your area that are making their own whistles have no idea what they are messing with. You pray for those people. Our whistles are very special, and not to be taken lightly. These people will find out. Just pray for them.

Good day!
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Old 09-27-2000, 04:35 PM   #20
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smokin ace
i completly agree with you. but i don't say much, not my place but there is so much of it. well eastern va is somewhat known IN PLACES for that type of thing. it is accepted. but i agree with you
and sorry for the twice thing, havent got the hang of posting quite yet
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